Surfers are about as fashionably paranoid as 7th graders on the first day of school. The black wetsuit and white board getup is essentially our way of saying we don’t want to be noticed so we can’t be made fun of. If you dress too flashy – even if you look good doing it – you run the risk of being mocked. The unwritten rule basically says unless you’re Kelly Slater you don’t deserve to draw any attention to yourself. So go out and look like everybody else, you lemmings. But that’s never stopped us from keeping the neon wetsuit in our back pocket. Because no matter what, neon is always awesome. And these old school ads are proof.
Gerry, Gerry, Gerry. Looking good.
Looking good, my dude.
A modest look with the bright lightning bolt for the perfect amount of flair. Rip Curl nailed it with this one. Proof right off the bat that some styles are going to be timeless. You can easily picture a suit designed to look like this on store racks today.
I’m not gonna look. Just tell me, there’s a guy standing behind me while scoffing, isn’t there?
WHY is this old guy scoffing? Dude looks awesome in that matching board and suit. First, this look makes me thirsty for some Tang. Or at least an orange soda. Second, either boards were way smaller than we remember twenty plus years ago or homeboy is a solid nine feet tall. I’m going with that because it explains why baldy is laughing. Tall people are funny.
Strike that pose. This is exactly how you want to stand for at least 5 minutes before entering the water. It lets everybody know you mean business.
Strike that pose.
Here’s our first non-neon suit. And it completely proves my point because I’m sweating just looking at this. Was Body Glove dabbling in bullet proof wetsuit technology at one point? On a side note, this is exactly how you want to stand for at least 5 minutes before entering the water. It lets everybody know you mean business.
Umm, is that Pat O???
Umm, is that Pat O???
Did he ride for the McDonald’s team back in the day? I didn’t even know McDonald’s had a surf team. There’s so much to love here and nothing to regret. There’s no animal print a la Wilko, but we can still see suits exactly like this on Santa Cruz’s Westside today. Flea, Skindog, Ratboy, you name ’em. And you know Barney would have rocked this exact suit anytime, anywhere. R.I.P.

Babes: another fragment of surf culture that has always and will always sell. And just like the last example, it wouldn’t be a huge stretch to see this exact look on your beach next summer. Also note this advertisement clearly showcases the early years of front zip technology.