New Classics: The Front-zip Sleeveless Vest

Jordy Smith performs during the Oakley Pro at Keramas in Bali, Indonesia on June 24th, 2013
© Kolesky/Nikon/Red Bull Content Pool

Want to own summer? In style, but in the most pragmatic of ways? Fashion and function! It exists!

Y'know what doesn't work? Those long-sleeved, zipless vests we struggle to get in and out of Houdini-like every summer; those devices that are supposed to protect us, like shields, from a cold offshore wind.

The mechanics are simple enough. The water is warm, so you trunk, the air is cold, thus you vest.

But who hasn't come up from a dunking wrapped in rubber or been forced to pull it down every time you paddle for a wave. And the way we sweat and twist and grimace as we try to get 'em off? What price is dignity?

Totally, they very suck.

And so when a company came to my magazine, Stab, wishing a collab on a long-sleeved vest I threw this back at 'em: I want a yellow, sleeveless, front-zip vest ala the great Shaun Tomson worn back when men carried shotguns in their cars to ward off murderous North Shore locals but who weren't afraid to bathe in a little colour.

Check out photos three and four.

And so, some weeks later, the vest arrives.

And, now, with a Mex swell preparing to bare its haunch in just over a week, we are sending Jordy Smith to greet it, in said yellow vest.

Try and imagine, now, the sight of that bullish man, honied long hair streaming from the top of his crown and down his back, zip open, chest exposed, mid-turn. What style. What class.

Won't it be just be so new and so classic?