Cheap High Quality Wetsuits? Need Essentials and Feral

After two decades of designing products for some of the worlds largest surf brands I couldn’t understand why surfers had to pay so much for premium wetsuits. So in 2013 I founded NEED to provide surfers with premium products without the retail mark ups, branding and extra costs. This way we can get you the best products without all the noise at less than half the price of other premium brands.” Ryan Scanlon, founder of Need.

Most high-end wetsuit manufacturers make their suits in the same factory, using the same materials, differentiating only through gimmicky names and features. They offer 20 models of wetsuits and many features. The mix and match buffet is confusing. It pushes people to buy the most expensive suit out there or risk getting lower quality. Why would you offer your customers the choice between a crappy suit and a great suit? Just offer the good one.”  Buzz Bonneau, co-founder of FERAL.

feral-wetsuitsWhats going on? There is a new “trend” in wetsuit market and the common points of both Need and Feral go somewhat like this:

  • offer premium wetsuits at around half the price
  • no middle man
  • only available online.

And it seem to be working, whenever I check out Need Essentials website their wetsuits are mostly sold out and surfers are happy with their product. Need is an extreme version of the trend and a pioneer. They really offer bare essentials and just what you need. You don’t need advertising, you don’t need a brand, a team, fancy tags and packaging. All you need is a good wetsuit to keep you warm. And they are serious about the no branding – their wetsuits are blank, no logo, nothing! They say: “We are not a brand, we are a supply network.” The result? Their 4/3 winter steamer costs 200AUD wich is about 140USD or 130EUR!

On the other hand a Feral 4/3 will set you back a good 390USD which is close to 3x times the cost of a Need. It is true that Feral uses limestone based neoprene which is a bit more expensive, but its also that their philosophy goes more among the lines of don’t offer so many models and confuse customers, offer just one model, make sure it works and don’t make it madly expensive.


Anyway, we as surfers can appreciate both companies giving us more choice and wish them best in the future.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.