Andy McKinney of Wind-NC concluded:
“I am so amped up on this suit it is crazy”.
It’s Thanksgiving, and there are many people and things that I am thankful about. But I’ll dedicate this to the man who made the picture above possible: Iain Smith, the inventor of the Ianovated wetsuit.
That’s me in the picture above, getting ready to windsurf in Wellfleet Harbor earlier today. It was a lovely and sunny day, but air temperatures had dropped from mid-50s yesterday to 34ºF (1ºC) today. Wind meter readings were around 30 mph WNW – too good to not go windsurfing! Even last year, I probably would have stayed at home. Yes, I have sailed in similar temperatures before, but it’s usually a gradual process – as it gets later in the year, we slowly get used to the lower temperatures.
Enter Iain. He is a dedicated British windsurfer who did not want to stop sailing in the winter, when the best winds come. Like many of us, Iain experimented with all kinds of gloves and mittens to keep his hands warm. He experienced the usual trade-offs: if gloves are warm enough to keep your hands comfortable, they will make your forearms very tired very quickly, cutting sessions short. But unlike most other cold-weather windsurfers, Iain has a “cold weather handicap” – Raynaud’s disease. Wikipedia describes this as “excessively reduced blood flow in response to cold” – in other words, your hands get much colder, much faster.
But Iain did not give up. He experimented until he found a solution that works: a system to blow warm air onto your hands while you are windsurfing. In hindsight, it seems simple enough: blow into tubes through a snorkel mouthpiece; run the tubes through the inside of the suit to keep the air warm; and finally have the tubes emerge into mittens. After proving the concept, Iain then formed a company to manufacture and market the suit.