Scientists and surfers unite over boardshort technology



Deakin University and Quiksilver have entered into a research and development partnership that will push the boundaries of textiles and sportswear innovation. The five-year, $350,000 partnership will see Deakin materials scientists working with Quiksilver designers to create the next generation of action sportswear.

Both Deakin and Quiksilver have international reputations for textiles research and sportswear development.

“This partnership between two of regional Victoria’s leading organisations will reinforce the place of Australian innovation on the world stage,” said Dr Paul Collins, Deakin research academic.

“Quiksilver has long been known to make the best boardshorts on the market and are continually developing innovations. This partnership with Deakin will focus on enhancing Quiksilver’s existing product lines to improve not only the fabric but also the interaction with the person to help boost athletic potential,” he said.

Two-time world champion and Quiksilver ambassador Tom Carroll is stoked about the two teams working together.

“In the past 10 years we’ve seen technology make a huge difference to the simple act of going surfing,” he said.

“We’ve seen it in surfboard design, we’ve seen it in surf forecasting, and now with Quiksilver’s revolutionary Xplosive Technology we’re even seeing it in our boardshorts. I’ve always seen surfing as a really athletic pursuit – your body can be working just as hard out in the surf as it would be on a football field or in a pool – and these shorts are an acknowledgement of that.

“Now that Quiksilver and Deakin are joining forces, I’m hugely excited about what direction they are going to take boardshort technology. I can’t wait to see what they come up with.”

Quiksilver’s Head of Design, Haydn Davis, said the benefits to flow from the partnership will be far reaching.

“It’s a perfect fit on many levels,” Mr Davis said. “The specific focus of Deakin in the field of fabric technology is perfectly aligned with our company’s products. Quiksilver has a long history of innovation and leading our industry into new territories, and this collaboration will enhance our ability to continue to deliver breakthroughs – and better products for our customers – into the future.

“The biggest benefit to us will be the ongoing culture of scientific innovation that Quiksilver will be exposed to thanks to the research capabilities of Deakin.

“One of the most exciting benefits is that this whole project is local and regional, with the resources to legitimately compete in the global market coming from our own backyard, with us based in Torquay and Deakin 15 minutes up the road in Geelong.”

Dr Collins shares this excitement for the benefits that will flow from the partnership not only for the two organisations but for the Geelong region.

“Having two world class organisations working together to push the boundaries of science, materials and surfing in a regional environment like Geelong/Torquay is fantastic,” Dr Collins said.

“Working with Quiksilver is also a real platform for Deakin to showcase its technology. We are now working with the world’s largest surfing brand, which shows that Deakin is regarded highly in the area of materials engineering.”

Forty years ago Quiksilver recognised that a surfer’s boardshorts, more than being a simple fashion statement, could play a part in good surfing. Since the company’s inception, Quiksilver has been a world leader in performance boardshort technology, their shorts evolving through designs, fabrics, and now sports science, most recently with the release of the Xplosive Technology boardshort. Quiksilver “aims to awaken the spirit of surfing in everyone”.

The research will draw on the strengths of Deakin’s Institute for Technology Research and Innovation in the development of textile, polymer and composite technologies. It is also expected that the University’s expertise in other areas such as human movement and manufacturing optimisation will be used as the research and relationship grows over time.

The Deakin scientists and Quiksilver design team expect to see major gains in material and athletic performance as a result of their efforts.

“Surfing in particular takes place in a harsh environment, there is sun, UV, sand and saltwater, there is constant movement of the athlete; making materials perform better for better individual performance is definitely something we will be looking to achieve,” Dr Collins said.