Aussie Olympic Sailors to Make Waves with Groundbreaking Kit from Sydney Innovator Zhik

Aussie Olympic Sailors to Make Waves with Groundbreaking Kit from Sydney Innovator Zhik

When Australia’s Olympic sailors take to the water in Marseilles, they’ll be armed with an industry first - a revolutionary high-performance neoprene-free wetsuit created by Sydney sailing apparel company Zhik.

Made from sustainable, plant-based Yulex rubber, the range sets a new standard for elite eco-friendly water sports apparel with superior thermal insulation, comfort and durability, all while generating 80 per cent fewer CO2 emissions than conventional neoprene wetsuits.

The fabric is infused with graphene, an advanced nanoscale 2D material that can return up to 20 per cent more body heat, keeping bodies warmer for longer, regulating temperatures during low-intensity activities and aiding the drying process.

Zhik is one of just three official suppliers to the Australian Olympic Team, with other two being global behemoths Speedo and ASICS.

Zhik CEO, sailing champion and multiple Olympic gold medallist, Mat Belcher OAM, said the company was thrilled to be named an official supplier for the Australian Olympic team for the second Games in a row.

“Zhik was first named an Olympic supplier for the Australian sailing team for the Tokyo Games in 2020. That year, Will Ryan and I won gold wearing Zhik gear,” he said.

“Since then, it’s evolved even more, and the current range sets a new standard for elite eco-conscious water sports attire.”

Along with the high-performance wetsuits, Zhik will supply all technical on-water kit needed to succeed across eight sailing disciplines contested by Australians.

This year’s Australian Olympic Sailing Team includes defending Olympic gold medallist Matt Wearn in the men’s single-handed class, 2012 Olympic women’s match racing silver medallist Olivia Price and Evie Haseldine in the women’s skiff.

Grae Morris, in the new discipline of wind foiling, has taken the world stage by storm, finishing second last week at the final major iQFoil event before the Marseilles Games.

France will be the first Olympics that will include iQFoil and kiteboarding.

Australian Olympic Committee CEO Matt Carroll said both disciplines required equipment with peak durability.

“Olympians are competing at the highest level and cannot compromise on performance but the AOC is also deeply committed to partnering with suppliers that care about environmental impact,” he said.

“Our challenge was to find a kit that ticked both boxes, and we’ve been able to do that with Zhik. It’s a bonus that this innovative gear is cutting-edge Australian technology too.”

Zhik was created in the Sydney garage of Brian Connolly, the founder of Lake Technology, which became Dolby Australia.

Connolly, a sailing enthusiast, saw an opportunity to revolutionise the industry’s gear and began creating clothing and equipment.

He designed solutions for uncomfortable harnesses by adding velcro entry systems and developing a breathable fabric four times more waterproof than the market-leading alternatives.

The company now supplies the most successful sailing teams in the world, including six of the ten Sail GP teams, winners of the Volvo Ocean and Sydney to Hobart races, and the Olympic sailing teams of Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and Denmark.

The prestigious SailGP circuit, featuring the best sailors on the planet, is renowned for pushing the boundaries of performance and technology.

As the demand for sustainable, high-performance gear intensifies, Belcher said Zhik was rising to the challenge of meeting elite athletes’ demands without compromising environmental responsibility.

“Our customers expect us to drive sustainability in our industry,” he said.

“They demand peak performance without forsaking environmental responsibility. Crafting kit that fulfils both criteria has been our mission, and we’re succeeding.”


Read the original article on The Australian.