Feeling a little strange about tapping these keys as I have been sitting on my hands for a while, it would seem however that this is happening. I am writing about something other than surf hardware. Yes ladies and gentlefolk, I am going to write about surf garments… aka stuff you wear on your body.
Firstly - the why – I guess that clothes are important as we all wear them, even surfers. These particular surf clothes are not just a tee with a label on them. No. They are in fact the oldest surfing brand. They are made for us, with the cuts and materials that suit our ‘pastime’.
Naaaaaa, booooo, I can almost hear the scorn filtering across the ‘ether-web’. But ‘nay’ I say to you these things are worthy enough to get my fingers scampering over these keys. Surf specific clothes.
Secondly – the who – Katin is a ‘brand’ I have stumbled across time and time again while trundling through great stories of surfing's past. I always wondered what was so special about them, why (apart from the nostalgia) would they be so prevalently mentioned.
I won’t get into the history of the brand now, of which there is ample and if you would like to swat up on that, check out a previous article we did about them here
Thirdly – Why am I writing this? - A total surprise, for me, was that surf clothes could be surf specific. During surfing (if done often) one's body can take on an unusual form. On (let us say) that is defined by our particular exercise of surfing.
During the search for the wave-powered bliss of stoke, we actually do exercise. I know, weird. Our body reacts to those paddle strokes, to the duck diving and popping up, it builds muscle where it thinks we need it. Cool. In the case of surfing the 'overdeveloped' muscles are 'blah' and 'blah'.
Back to Katin - Being the oldest surf brand in the world and born out of necessity in the '50s, it would seem that nostalgia is not the only advantage to such heritage. We managed to get our hands on some 'sample' clothes from 2018 and have been 'testing' them with no real expectations for a few months now.
Firstly, let us say that from looking at the cut and style, I immediately thought (as an old dude might) there was too much fashion going on, they looked, well, let just say. Not my bag at all. Having been around the first time that short shorts were popular I was not in any rush to try them on, let alone be seen in public wearing them. However, to our unwavering commitment to you, I did so.
Surprise. I loved them, in fact as my fingers run over this keyboard now I find myself happily in a pair of Katin short shorts. (never thought I would say those words ever). It should not come as any surprise really, these guys have been making custom shorts for nearly seventy years now and boy, it shows. It is not just me that has been caught off guard. All of us are kind of finding it hard to wear anything else. The cut, the material and the finish are superb. I do mean superb.
The t-shirts and the tops are the same story, built to accommodate a surfers physique. They have room where you need them as a surfer, they look awesome and as I have said, the finish is astounding. (Please bear in mind I am not one to say these things lightly.) That is when it struck me, these guys actually make clothes FOR surfers. They are not fashion tees and shorts with a print slapped across them but actually tailored for us. Surfers. How did Nic get on with his first Katin experience?
Nic-The history and story of these garments are incredibly cool. To have stood the test of time as Katin has is very impressive. They must know what they are doing right?
Writing a review on clothing and fashion is tricky, as I have not an ounce of trendy in me. Ok, a little more than James, but still, not much. It is like art, it is very subjective to each individual. I am generally very plain and wear mostly black. Katin focus more on vibrant and earthy style cuts and colours. It is more retro and surfy than I am used to wearing. To be honest, it is the sort of fashion I like to see on other people, but never thought I could pull it off myself. Also, how excited can we truly get on a clothing range?
The answer is very. I am a huge fan of the garments and have now rethought my whole wardrobe as a result of trying them. The first item I really wanted to try was a pair of their popular canvas shorts. Let us be honest, a pair of shorts made from old boat sails does not sound comfortable. I could not have been more mistaken and they fit like they've been tailor-made for me personally. The material feels strong and feels very comfortable when wearing it, especially with the little bit of stretch they have added to the canvas fabric. I originally believed they would feel all rough and cardboardy, I was pleasantly put back in my place.
Then I got to try the T's. James had been harping on about how well made and tailored they were for a surfers physique, which I blissfully ignored at first. Then I tried them on and oh my word, they fit superbly well and the fabrics feel like top quality. I believe these fabrics and designs will stand the test of time. Thank you Katin and cheers for opening my eyes to the world of coloured attire.
Disclaimer: Under new rules which we think are quite cool, we have to actually tell you how these test items got to us at the Bunker. We were sent the clothing from the folks at Katin for free and we were not paid for this review. We have tried to be as honest as possible and Katin have had no control over what we decided to write. Not one bit, no sir. We like to remain honest, true and untarnished. Thank you for reading.