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Finisterre UK

Cold water surf garb from the chilly shores of England

by Hans Aschim in Style on 10 January 2014

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From its storied inception on pristine Hawaiian shores to its entrance into mainstream culture in the '50s and '60s through films like "The Endless Summer" and "Gigdet," surfing has always been associated with sunny, carefree beach life. Even today, the bulk of the surf industry is focused on selling the warm weather lifestyle and products to go with it—leaving cold weather surfers, well, out in the cold. Wetsuit technology has improved immensely over the past decades and with it the number of surfers braving the cold in unlikely yet thriving surf communities from Norway to Alaska to Canada has boomed. Still, there was a lack of representation in the industry for these dedicated rippers, until Cornwall-based Finisterre entered the scene as a decidedly cold water surfing company in 2002. The brand has since expanded into both men's and women's technical, yet classically styled, apparel specifically for cold waters with cues from Scandinavian and English design.

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Founder Tom Kay came to the surf industry with a love for the ocean, surfing and a desire to make products that spoke to his surfing lifestyle. At a time when cheap graphic T-shirts were still largely the norm, Kay opted instead for sustainable materials and local production whenever possible. Finisterre's recently released spring line is the brand's strongest showing to date, with many of the products manufactured in the UK from local wools where, as Kay puts it, "we know the names of the sheep." A portion of the brand's knitwear is made from superfine Bowmont Merino wool raised in nearby Devon, spun in Yorskhire then knitted in Scotland. Classically styled and crafted with attention to detail, the brand's knitwear pays homage to the rich history of practical nautical wear in the UK.

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Since cold water surfing largely revolves around keeping your body temperature up before you suit up and especially once you're out of the water, Finisterre created a line of ultra-high-quality Merino gear. All well-cut, superbly crafted and stylish, the line is still practical and comfortable. Throw on the mid-weight Merino Fiske hoodie and jump into the matching long johns to warm up in no time. The women's line of Merino basics and base layers offer a refined casual style with ergonomic and trim, yet relaxed fits that easily make the transition from bed to beach to pub.

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More technical outerwear and layering pieces like the Nimbus , Cirrus and Incus feature Primaloft insulation to raise core temperatures after getting out of the (extremely) chilly North Atlantic. Both wind-resistant and water-resistant, these pieces are an outdoor insulation essential whether you're a year-round seafarer or landlocked. A common (and welcome) theme throughout the collection is the minimal branding. Finisterre's pieces stand out for the quality of material, construction and design—speaking to the brand's strong belief that form follows function. The brand takes a holistic and transparent approach to production. While aiming for local materials and craftsmanship, the brand still utilizes global resources. To make this clear to the consumer, the brand presents an in-depth but easy to understand traceability chart for all of its products.

Check out the entire men's and women's collection from Finisterre online, including accessories like socks, notebooks, mugs and hand planes.

Images courtesy of Finisterre UK

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