Pro surfer Mick Fanning's Rip Curl range

The new wave of performance

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On the surf breaks lining the Australian coastline, board riders swathed in neoprene rule the whitecaps. Stepping out of the swell, pro surfer Mick "White Lightening" Fanning is looking to build a case for Australian Merino wool with a new foray into outerwear.

 

RIP CURL: WETSUIT PONCHO

For the Mick Fanning by Rip Curl range, the two-time world champion has teamed up with the Australian surf brand to create garments that have the potential to rewrite the rules on 21st century active wear. Produced using Woolmark certified Merino wool, the limited edition MF Ram Series follows on from Fanning's pioneering MF1 boardshort collaboration with Rip Curl.

Launching the MF Ram Series during the 2013 Rip Curl Pro Tour at the legendary Bells Beach in Victoria, Fanning gave his fellow competitors a taster by gifting them each with an exclusive Mick Fanning by Rip Curl garment—the 'wetsuit poncho'.

"I wanted to give my peers something that they could remember their time at Bells by," Fanning says. "The Rip Curl Pro is such an important contest and ringing the Bell can make a pro career."

While the poncho, featuring signature red-on-black highlights and a bell motif, remains strictly for the pros, Fanning says a hooded fleece and shell jacket on offer to surf fans deliver real-world wearability and superior quality.

"The materials are premium and I couldn't think of anything finer than 100 per cent Merino wool for that," he says. "It is natural fibre versus the natural elements of Victoria's Bells Beach. It's made for surfing on the edge of the world."

 

MERINO WOOL SPORTSWEAR

Interestingly, the range marks something of a milestone because of the use of Merino wool. It's long been a textile known for warmth and softness but not the kind of thing normally seen in active wear, so in many ways the MF Ram Series garments will act as a showcase for the use of Merino wool in new ways. The potential is enormous, given the textile's qualities of breathability and odour resistance, opening the way for a natural alternative to synthetic-based performance gear.

Merino fleece also features unique temperature regulation qualities—it holds warmth in cold temperatures and releases heat and moisture in hot conditions, the key to permitting year-round versatility in a range of conditions.

But for now, Fanning is more than happy to be the trailblazer who did it first. In fact, he's becoming accustomed to it. The Australian surfer's previous collaboration with Rip Curl, the Mirage MF1 boardshort, pioneered one-piece construction and the flattest seams in the business.

"I'm stoked about the collaboration on these jackets," he says. "When we started on a personalised range, I really wanted the clothes to be special and made for life on the road and Rip Curl's understanding has helped us produce just that. Chiming in with The Woolmark Company Australia added another cool layer of quality ... it's something special."

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