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The Ianovated Journey

11:01 1st November 2012 by Amy Carter
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Boards catches up with Iain Smith, the man behind the new Ianovated wetsuits, which provide an answer the age old problem of cold hands during the winter months of the water to find out how the company and revolutionary design has developed.

Ianovator

The Ianovator

I bought my first windsurfer two days before my physics A Level exam; I have been a windsurf addict for the 26 years since. After a lucky run in business I sold my interest in an engineering company and retired four years ago, aged 40.

Now with spare time I took on the battle of cold hands. As windsurfers need a bare hand grip on the boom I knew the answer would revolve around palm-less mittens cut back as far as possible. I first tried chemical heat pads and thermal linings but did not find sustainability. In my first attempt to exploit breath power I simply ran the tubes along the outside of my wetsuit and I noted the problem was the breath’s loss of heat between my mouth and my mittens. That gave me the idea of running the tubes down the inside of the wetsuit along each arm. When I tried it I knew immediately I had ended the war with cold hands in the sub 10°C UK winter conditions.

I got a patent application filed straight away before anyone had seen my tubes and proceeded to develop this suit with the three component manufactures involved.  After sending a scary amount of money to China I launched my product at NWF 2012.

Ianovator

Ianovator in action!

All I have to do now is persuade the market to get over the products “ridiculous” first impression and focus that fact it enables us to enjoy and capture better winds and waves more often. The suit is the only solution to keep a sailors hands comfortable in sub 10°C winter conditions all afternoon.

Iain Smith FCCA (I was an accountant!).

Stay tuned for another full feature detailing the ins and out of the suit and full product info!

 

  1. Wayne

    T. Stensland
    Thank god someone is seriously working on the issue! Sailing in Norway I am used to cold hands, nail-bite, tears and poor grip. I think I have tried most type gloves over the last 25 years. The best alternative so far has been the O’Neill 1,5mm gloves BUT these prove very slippery between the hands and the wet neoprene inside the gloves. The friction between the gloves and the boom is fine. Therefore, I sail without gloves until it get less than 4 degrees. Anything below that temp is therefore a no-go. BUT, last year I got some really smooth thin leather gloves for x-mas and my theory is that such leather could be sewn into the palm of thin neoprene gloves. Then there will be friction both between the hands and the inside of the gloves, and between the leather and the boom. Anyone keen to produce a proto and I will be the first to test…

    Have you seen the latest offering from ONeill, I bought a pair last month, totally waterproof, feel great. grippy, and warm! don’t worry they are not a glossy wet look as in the picture but normal matt black neoprene, thoroughly recommended.

    http://www.wetsuitcentre.co.uk/oneill_gooru_3mm_gloves

  2. T. Stensland

    Thank god someone is seriously working on the issue! Sailing in Norway I am used to cold hands, nail-bite, tears and poor grip. I think I have tried most type gloves over the last 25 years. The best alternative so far has been the O’Neill 1,5mm gloves BUT these prove very slippery between the hands and the wet neoprene inside the gloves. The friction between the gloves and the boom is fine. Therefore, I sail without gloves until it get less than 4 degrees. Anything below that temp is therefore a no-go. BUT, last year I got some really smooth thin leather gloves for x-mas and my theory is that such leather could be sewn into the palm of thin neoprene gloves. Then there will be friction both between the hands and the inside of the gloves, and between the leather and the boom. Anyone keen to produce a proto and I will be the first to test…

  3. Larry

    I’ve got one! The suit is really comfortable and dry. The hand heating system really does work – the cold weather last week let me put it to the test. I’m very pleased with it.

  4. Tony

    Wow! Thinking about it, the problem with winter sailing is struggling with cold hands which we try to blow warm at every opportunity! To be able to blow them warm whenever you need to is progress.

  5. Dick

    seen this before somewhere…..

  6. Timo Mullen

    Great idea Ian, anything positive to aid sailing year round has to be good!!

  7. Steve T

    Could you not make this product as a retro fit to existing wetsuits? I can’t see people buying a new wetsuit in order to ‘try’ it. Perhaps selling purpose built mitts, rather than a wetsuit. Possibly a simple ‘over coat’ to keep the tubes warm?

    1. david naylor

      I’ve been using the suit for a few weeks now. I suffer from cold hands so this was a welcome appearance on the market for me. It works, and the suit is very warm and dry in itself. Its one of those things where failure is much more apparent than success isn’t it?….eg its easier to conclude “I’m freezing” than it is to think “hey, it’s only 5 degrees and I’m falling in every run trying these bl**dy forward loops but I’m still zoned-in cos I’m warm” (troon last Saturday, an informal loop self-help clinic organised through sailrepair). I was also up in tiree during the event week and was using the suit. Only true test in cold and waves was the middle Wednesday when it was utterly miz….by which time I think Timo had already bailed from the island so he missed out on the opportunity to try one out!

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