Recently we flew in triathlon’s leading magazine and website journalists to the Playitas Sports Resort in Fuerteventura to show off our 2015 range. Not only were we showing the fastest most technologically advanced wetsuits available, but offering freedom of choice and the most flexible arms and shoulders ever seen on a wetsuit. For 2015 we knew we were setting a new industry standard when we unveiled the most innovative and game changing wetsuits and apparel available.
It was an exciting time and joining the journalistswere some of Orca’s team members including Ironman world champion Sebastian Kienle from Germany, 2013 ITU world champion Non Stanford from Great Britain, two-time Ironman champion Asa Lundstrom from Sweden and 2009 Ironman UK champion Phil Graves from Great Britain.
Non Stanford, Sebastian Kienle, Heather Sellars and blogger Isabel del Barrio
We were proud to show off our revolutionary 0.88mm Free material found in the arms, shoulders and side panels of our new Predator and Alpha suits. At just 0.88mm thick it’s the most flexible and stretchy fabric ever seen in a wetsuit, yet remains warm thanks to a patented heat reflective titanium coating. With high buoyancy and low drag this minimalist material provides the ultimate feel for the water and unparalleled freedom of movement. Such flexibility also reduces fatigue, which allows athletes to hold an efficient stroke for longer, resulting in faster times.
The Orca Alpha and Predator suits, new for 2015
Helen Webster, editor of 220 Triathlon, said: “Both (the Predator and Alpha) feel remarkably flexible through the arms and shoulders making arm return very fluid and natural and the new graduated neck is comfortable.”
Herbert Krabel, from Slowtwitch.com, said: “When touched it (0.88mm Free) indeed felt like nothing this editor ever had his hands on, and this material is exclusive for Orca through 2018.”
This year our flagship Predator gets a complete revamp using the new ultra flexible 0.88mm Free in the arms, shoulders and side panels. It also features a never seen before Core Lateral Stabilizer (CLS) that helps to stabilise the core by preventing lateral movement to improve body position and reduce over-reaching.
Evan Rudd, from Triathlete (US) magazine, said: “The Core Lateral Stabilizers aren’t just some gimmicky feature made up by the marketing department–it feels like your lower body is on a surfboard in the sense that it keeps you streamlined, yet you’re free to roll during the glide phase of your stroke.”
Evan Rudd tries on his new Orca Wetsuit
We also demonstrated first hand how our Exo-Lift neoprene on the Predator offers greater buoyancy because of zero water absorption and how it provides stiffness in the legs to reduce inefficient kicking from the knees. With all these time enhancing features this is the suit choice of Sebastian Kienle in 2015.
Sebastian said: “I don’t come from a swimming background and have a love-hate relationship with wetsuits. With the new predator you have all the benefits of wearing a wetsuit, but at the same time it feels like you’re swimming without one, only faster.”
Sebastian testing the new Orca Predator suit
In the new Predator Sebastian found he had a stronger kick and his core was more stable. During testing he was 2.1 per cent better in the Predator over the new Alpha thanks to the better core stabilization. This is great news for all those who don’t come from a swim background.
In contrast our new Alpha is a lightweight super flexible high-end suit aimed at the fastest most efficient swimmers like Orca’s Non Stanford and Andrew Starykowicz. Like the Predator it uses 0.88mm Free in the arms, shoulders and side panels, but does away with the added buoyancy and stability to compliment good technique to move even faster through the water.
Non said: “The new alpha is revolutionary in open water. I have always found wetsuits restrictive, especially in the arms and shoulders, and freedom here is important for fast swimming. You have to feel confident and free in the suit that you’re wearing and the new Alpha provides that. The new material on the arms and shoulders is incredible. I’ve never swum in a wetsuit like that ever before.”
Non wearing her suit of choice, the new Alpha
From our research with female athletes and input from our professionals including Non Stanford and Åsa Lundström we have tailored our neoprene to suit the female body. Orca is proud to offer all of our wetsuits as a female specific option with all the same great features as the men’s suits. We also know that females have a different buoyancy make up and have adjusted this to offer the perfect body position in the water on the Sonar and 3.8 suits.
Something completely new for us this year is the Open Water. The new high-viz Open Water with its retina burning finish allows users to freedom to capture the spirit of the sea in a safe and secure way. With children’s sizes available, safe and highly visible open water swimming is now something the whole family can enjoy.
Jay Prasuhn, from Lava magazine, said: “This year, Orca returns to its familiar place as a technological leader. Our prediction? For 2015, Orca will be the talked-about brand. Among pros, among age groupers, among retailers. Just as we experienced, you’ll only need see the suit in hand to guess it’s improved in a tangible, significant way. And a swim in it will confirm that suspicion.”
Asa in her Open Water wetsuit
We were pleased that the journalists responded well to our new line up. Rather than just talk about the suits, we got them in both the pool and open water to get a real feel for the new suits. It wasn’t all serious business, though. For fun we put together relay teams of journalists and our pro athletes, and put on our own triathlon event. After a hard fought battle it was the team with Antonio Esteban from the Triathlonchannel.com, Raul Casanas (Orca marketing director) and Non Stanford who took top honours. It was lots of fun and the journalists got to test our range in a race situation.
Asa and Lava´s John Duke and Jay Prasuhn, among others, excitedly awaiting the race
We also have to say how proud we are of pro athletes. Not only were they great ambassadors for Orca, but they also worked extremely hard during their time at Playitas. As well being part of our daily programme with the journalists, they also got up early and put in the hours doing extra photo and video shoots. Often they repeated things many times to get the perfect shot or edit. While the world sees the glamorous side of pro athletes travelling the world and getting lots of free kit, we know how hard team members are prepared to work for a brand they believe in. The world doesn’t see their 5.30am alarm call or them shivering in a boat after being in and out of the water for hours for a photo shoot. That said, our pro athletes, the journalists and our team, who worked long and hard to make this happen, all had a great deal of fun.
What a great day in Kona it was for Team Orca! Most specifically, of course, the amazing win for Sebastian Kienle! After a weaker swim, Sebi, known as a super cyclist in the sport, worked hard through strong winds to catch up with fellow Orca team mate Andrew Starykowicz on the bike and they rode #1 and #2 together for a while. Unfortunately Andrew was struggling with a back injury and dropped off the pace, eventually finishing his day at the end of the bike course. Very disappointing for him!
Sebi however powered ahead – coming off the bike in a time of 4:20:46, with a lead of more than 3 minutes back to his next competitor. A super speedy transition helped along by no kit change required saw Sebastian starting out at a pretty fast pace on the marathon. Running the first 3 miles at a 6.05/mile pace he was tracking for a sub 2h40 marathon! Although he slowed this pace down a bit from this through the remaining miles, taking the aid stations at a slow pace to make sure he stayed hydrated and as cool as possible, his chance for a win never looked threatened.
After a glorious final run down Ali’i Drive, Sebastian crossed the finish line in 8.14.18 to take the win!
Meanwhile fellow Orca athlete Asa Lundstrom was still battling it out on the race course through the strong winds. Her debut at Kona, Asa made up ground through out the whole race – ending up a very credible 17th in a time of just over 9h31. We’re sure this is just the beginning for Asa!
Check out Sebastian’s post-race interview here where he explains how much his Ironmind inner strength was what allowed him to claim this win after an upsetting result at 70.3 World Champs in Mont-Tremblant several weeks earlier.
Orca announced today that they have taken back the distribution in Canada of Orca products. Former distributor in the Canadian region, Podium Sports have done a great job in the past, but due to the huge growth of the triathlon market – both in an increase of high-profile events, and of regular competitors, they’re no longer able to service this market in the manner that it demands to be successful.
At Orca we acknowledge the importance of this significant market and so believe we’ll be able to better service the needs of the Orca customer through management of the distribution to this market ourselves. We look forward to the coming 2015 summer season and being able to have more direct relationships within the Canadian market. If you’re a Canadian customer or dealer and have any queries, please contact Orbea USA Brand Manager Suzanne Karklins: email@example.com who will be managing this new distribution arrangement and will be happy to answer your questions!
We’re excited to have Orca athlete’s Matt Sharp, Miriam Casillas and Dani Molina all competing in Edmonton and know they’ll do us proud. We’re pretty gutted for fellow Orca athlete Non Stanford not being there due to injury but wish her a speedy recovery!! Remember you can follow the races on Twitter at @WorldTriathlon and live play by plays will be available at @TriathlonLive. Make sure you follow along and cheer on our athletes!!
We know there will be lots of Orca wearing age-groupers there too – so would love it if you can tag us in your pics wearing Orca while at the event. We’d love to see them so much that if you tag orca_triathlon and #orcacanada on Instagram and/or Twitter you’ll go in the draw to win a brand new 2015 Alpha when they’re released early 2015!! So get clicking while you’re there!!
The fun doesn’t end there though – the very next weekend in the gorgeous Mont-Tremblant we will see Sebastian Kienle, Albert Moreno, Andrew Starykowicz and Susie Hignett battle it out with the best for the title of 2014 Ironman 70.3 Champion!! Of course all eyes will be on Sebi as the reigning 2012 and 2013 70.3 Champ! We can’t wait!
Open water swimming in triathlon races is something that can strike a bit of fear into triathlete’s hearts – particularly for beginners or weak swimmers – mainly due to fear of the unknown. But this need not be the case! Gaining confidence in this area by practicing good techniques will help you immensely come race day, and can turn this leg of the race into an enjoyable experience where, by following a few handy tips, you can even find yourself gaining useful advantages over your fellow competitors in the swim!
Our latest Orca Flash tip offers you secrets that pro’s like Olympian and 70.3 Champion Courtney Atkinson have picked up over the years that will help you to be faster in your open water swim with no extra effort required!! Like the sound of that?
Three key tips Courtney highlights are:
1. Open Water Entry and Exit Technique
2. Dolphin Diving to get a head start on your fellow competitors
3. Picking Landmarks to aim for before the start so that you swim straight
Check out this video as Courtney explains these more:
As they say, a picture tells a thousand words and we think this photo of Sebastian Kienle running up the finish chute on his way to taking out the Ironman European Champion title for 2014 at Ironman Frankfurt on the weekend says it all.
In usual Sebi styles, the bike was where he began to show his dominance – some of the more eagle-eyed among you would’ve noticed the proto Orca cycle shoe covers Sebi wore as he continues to strive for higher aero-dynamics, and so speed, on the bike. He certainly found this speed – smashing the previous bike course record held by Andreas Raelert in 2010 by more than 8 minutes with a 4:12:14 bike split on a fairly difficult bike course!!
Followed by a stellar run in his Orca RS1 Dream Vegas Race Suit with a marathon time of 2:49:35 Sebastian crossed the finish line to not only take his first Ironman win, but more importantly the Ironman Europe Champion title in what was also a new course record of 7:55:14.
With the bike course smashed, race course smashed, and Ironman European Champion all accomplished on his first day of being 30, the year ahead is off to a great start!!
All around the Northern Hemisphere we had Orca athletes out racing and achieving great results this weekend!! Was great to see Chris McCormack (Macca) getting out there again at the Tri Rock Philadelphia Triathlon in the US – taking out the win and showing us all he’s still got what it takes!
Meanwhile across the waters at the IM 70.3 Luxembourg it was great to see our latest Orca athlete Susie Hignett having a great day out coming 2nd place overall after a stellar run brought her up to finish just 23secs behind first place!!
Also at IM 70.3 Luxembourg was Orca athlete Albert Moreno who continued his great season with a 6th place in a very competitive field with a time of 3:57:48.
And last, but definitely not least we had Matt Sharp and Dani Molina competing at the ETU Kitzbuhel European Tri Champs. Dani Molina continued his stellar form with a 2nd place in what was a fast-paced race in the Paratriathlete category! While Matt Sharp had his best race of the season so far on the ITU circuit, showing he can pull it out of the bag when the results are needed! As usual the times were super fast and Matt performed superbly to finish 10th in a time of 1:55:48 – with the winning time being 1:54:08 it is obvious how closely matched all these guys are in these top 10 spots. Congratulations Matt!!
It was an exciting day yesterday in Germany for Orca athlete Sebastian Kienle who won Challenge Kraichgau in a comfortable 6min lead and in doing so became Germany’s Middle Distance Champion for 2014!
Sebi had a stellar swim – surprising quite a lot of people as this is not generally his greatest leg – but we think it was boosted by his Orca wetsuit! And then on to the bike he just continued to dominate – catching and passing all who’d exited the swim in front of him within the first couple of miles on the bike course. By the bike-run transition Sebi had 5.45 on his nearest chasers and while on the run he only increased this. He was looking in top form in his Orca RS1 Dream Vegas Race Suit and his lead was up to 7mins on the run course at one stage, but with a few miles to go Sebi started to take it abit easier and enjoy his finish. Rightly so we think!
Fellow German Orca athlete Jenny Schulz also had a good day out, finishing 9th female overall.
As we get to the business end of the season, each race becomes more and more important for scoring valuable points – particularly for our Kona focused athletes like Asa Lundstrom and Andrew Starykowicz.
This past weekend was definitely a step in the right direction – with Asa’s 3rd placing at Ironman Cairns she secured her slot at Kona!! This will be her first time at Kona so really is a dream come true to qualify! The conditions were pretty treacherous and unfortunately in the 70.3 distance held on the same day, last year’s winner Courtney Atkinson was a casualty of the horrible weather with a puncture that put him out of contention. As ambassador of the event, Courtney was still on hand at the finish line to hand out finishers medals to those who made it to the end.
Andrew Starykowicz also had a great day out at the Eagleman 70.3, going home with a well-deserved win! After a great swim and a blistering bike, it was on the run that Andrew sealed the deal, fending off a challenge in the last 3 miles to win by 6 seconds!! Although this stellar win makes Kona look very likely for Andrew, we will have to wait and see for now!
In Olympic distance, ITU athlete Matt Sharp was very happy to claim the win at The Blenheim Palace Triathlon, which is part of the British Triathlon Super Series. This was a real confidence booster for Matt after a season so far that has not reflected all the training he built in over the winter, and he had the following to say after the race:
“To be honest I wasn’t having the best day. I gave it everything I had on the swim and tried to break away quite a few times on the bike but the group was pretty big. Then on the run, I just tried to go hard and maintain it all the way to the finish.
“I really needed that confidence boost today and I’m absolutely chuffed with my result. I’ve got Europeans in two weeks and it’s a really hard, hilly course so it should suit me and I’m looking for a really good result there then on to the London Triathlon.”