August 9, 2016

What Olympic Sailors Will Be Wearing in Rio

Avlare is the latest in dinghy technology gear from Zhik.

Just weeks before the 2016 Olympic Games, Australian dinghy sailing gear specialist Zhik unveiled Avlare, a revolutionary new super light and extremely water repellent fabric. A number of sailors in Rio including Australian Nacra 17 duo Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin and US 49er sailors Joseph Morris and Thomas Barrows will we wearing Olympic uniforms made of the new material.

The Olympic suits made of Avlare are thinner, lighter and more comfortable than anything currently worn by top-level competitive sailors. Avlare actually prevents a sailor from getting wet, thereby significantly reducing their water weight and keeping them shielded from the elements while still being highly breathable.

Jason Waterhouse talks Zhik Avlare & the RIO Games from Zhik on Vimeo.

According to Zhik, Avlare is a completely new material, never before seen in the marine environment. Rather than have a hydrophobic coating, Avlare is completely hydrophobic. If the material ever does get wet through, the hydrophobic qualities can be reactivated through heat.

So what is Avlare? It’s not a wetsuit. It’s currently available as a long and short-sleeve top for men and women that can be worn as a stand-alone in warm weather or over a wetsuit in colder climates.

“The idea behind it was to provide something for the athletes in Rio allowing them to go into the water and as they stepped onto their boat the material would be completely dry and so there would be no additional water weight when they're sailing,” said Zhik’s Tristan Hutt.

Wearing Avlare, it feels like spandex. It’s as light and flexible, which is particularly important when sailing active Olympic class boats. “It’s like the ultimate spandex—it’s what spandex would love to be,” said Hutt. “Imagine effectively a spandex top that never gets wet. You get all of the benefits—it's breathable, flexible and allows water to pass through so you do get the water-cooling effect, but the material itself doesn’t take up water and wet out.”

Avlare also offers UPF 50+ sun protection.

“It’s light and flexible, but really insulating which is critical on the Nacra. We go so fast that I get cold just wearing spandex as soon as the wind picks up. I have been wearing it pretty much every day out on the water,” said Darmanin.

Avlare has been in a testing phase for a while with sailors on a number of national teams—British, Australian, New Zealand, Danish, and Singapore—for some time, and as of this summer is available on the retail market. A number of Avlare products are available in the Zhik store on Whitecaps marine. Look for more products to become available as they’re rolled out!

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