Blade 4: The New Wave of Oakley Board Short Technology
Just in time for the 2014 surfing season, Oakley has come out of the gates with their latest apparel technology aimed at surfing aficionados. Choose your board short pleasure: Streamlined rip-free fabric, specialized Teflon coating to repel water to cut dry times in half or compression technology to target muscle support. No matter what you gravitate towards, Oakley has targeted the professional surfers’ desire for an added technological edge in their apparel by developing the highly technical Blade 4 board short for the 2014 surfing season.
The two-piece short includes a compression layer that can couple to Oakley’s thinnest short yet to create a single piece. The inner compression aims to target muscles for support during surfing-specific movements. Adam Melling, an Oakley-sponsored surfer, says the Blade 4’s compression layer with reinforced banding helps create extra blood flow to remove lactic acid. “Everyone’s trying to get any advantage they can in competitive surfing,” he says.
The compression short’s seamless construction—it features 100 percent welded construction—and the single-seam short negates any chaffing concerns surfers may have (and aren’t we all happy about that!) and allows Oakley to produce its lightest short to date.
Oakley has used its surfing line—which also includes a compression top with similar banding to increase blood flow—to lead its training apparel too, moving the California-based company’s compression technology into an Achievement Top and Pant training product.
But back to the surf. The lack of seams preserves the properties of Blade 4’s four-way fused “Ripstop” fabric to stretch to over 120 percent, reducing the threat of tears.
The thinness, combined with a Teflon-fabric treatment and composition designed to eliminate breakdown in salt-water works to minimize cling and cut dry time. “The Hydrofree fabric is awesome because your board shorts dry in half the time,” says Oakley-sponsored surfer Eric Geiselman.
When pondering apparel tech choices in water sports, it's safe to say Oakley has put plenty on the board for surfers.
Tim Newcomb covers stadiums, design and gear for Sports Illustrated. Follow him on Twitter at @tdnewcomb.