Friday, July 20, 2007

The Surfer's Enigma: The Patagonia Wetsuit

I personally am not a surfer but oh, I wish I was. My pecs would be slightly bigger, my hair slightly lighter, my abs slightly 6-packed-er. Come on, the surf lifestyle has to appeal to most on so many different levels.

For those who do surf often, I would imagine that finding ways to make that lifestyle just a bit more comfortable is paramount. Enter the Patagonia Wetsuit. I was kicking around on the internet looking up stuff about Patagonia and came across some messages about these suits. As I delved a bit deeper, it became clear that these suits were somewhat of an enigma. They weren't really being advertised, they were only sold at one store (Patagonia Surf in Cardiff, which was brand new), and as a result very few people had them. Apparently though, many people had heard of them and this had created a bit of a stir, kind of like the chatter that emerges in the months leading up to the release of a new Harry Potter book, except among people who were way cooler.

Further research brought me to a blog that had a thread about the wetsuit that half-admiringly and half-critically poked fun at a guy that had created his own website (yes, his own website) about the Patagonia Wetsuit. My intrigue was raised further when I received a comment from hoon on my first blog entry requesting information about said wetsuit.

So, I contacted the creator of the website, Ali. He replied, couldn't have been nicer, and gave me the green light to reference him and his site (I know seeking permission wasn't necessary, but it's kind of polite, right?). It's Get this: Ali says that he gets 25 unique visitors a day, several personal emails requesting information, and has been interviewed by Men's Journal about the suit. Maybe the www ain't so wide after all.

Patagonia has finally taken the wraps off the suit and it is now given the full treatment on their website (a direct link to which you can find here) complete with a surfing video, which I've posted below, featuring the Malloy Brothers.

So The Enigma has stepped into the spotlight and surfers everywhere are the better for it. Enjoy.

(originally posted to YouTube by patagoniavideo)

Labels: , , ,


Monday, July 16, 2007

Patagonia Outlet Sale at RCS

Real Cheap Sports (the Patagonia outlet down the street from Great Pacific Iron Works)
has just announced their Mid-Summer Sale.

Annual Mid-Summer Sale 07
Wednesday, July 18th through Sunday, July 22nd
All Merchandise 10% - 60% off
Gear up on tents, backpacks, sleeping bags, footwear and more.
Sale Hours: Wednesday - Friday 10 - 7 | Saturday & Sunday 10 - 6
Real Cheap Sports
36 W. Santa Clara
Ventura, CA
(805) 648-3803

You can visit them at

Labels: , ,


Sunday, July 15, 2007

How's YOUR Critical Mass?

(photo from
I was thinking about which product I'd like to discuss first, and I thought I'd start with the grandaddy of shoulder bags, the Critical Mass. This is my second CM; I upgraded after Patagonia released the updated version in 2004 (or was it 2005). Mine is Cave Blue (greyish-blue). The CM holds 2,400 cubic inches and is almost iconic among bicycle commuters and travelers.

Me, I'm just a little high school teacher who uses it to carry my laptop, lesson plans, and papers to correct. Sometimes I'll throw in a change of clothes for a quick workout and the CM takes it all beautifully. It's a great bag for an overnighter or a 2-night getaway. The laptop sleeve is padded and there are an abundance of pockets (though the one inside, above the laptop area seems a bit of a waste). The fabric seems like it could withstand a beating (though mine only sees the less-than-brutal conditions of the area behind my desk) and it's held up nicely over the last few years.

The rolled/roofed edges of the bag designed to keep rain out were a nice thought but they take away from the expandability of the bag whereas the older version would open up as big as a whale's mouth to stuff all your gear in.

The couple of times I've used it for commuting on bike, I did notice that the shoulder strap is a bit too long and actually goes far enough down to reach my spinning back tire. It could just be that I'm on the shorter side (5'8") but that does seem a problem. On the Patagonia company blog The Cleanest Line, a commenter (presumably a Patagonia employee) mentioned that issues have been raised by customers and that the bag is due for an update around the spring of '08 (see comments here:

All around: great bag and looking forward to using it for years to come. At $99 it's on the higher side of messenger bags but there's some confidence in the buyer, knowing that it is Patagonia and that it's been tested and re-tested and will hold up (even if the closest it gets to a jungle expedition is a classroom of 35 teenagers). What's your experience been with the Critical Mass? Pat Com would love to hear from you.

Labels: ,