Some of you may have seen Raynard Tissink, South Africa’s highest placed finisher at Kona, had a special suit for the race. I got the inside scoop from Orca South Africa, who have a new website coming this week. This, from Bernard…
The concept for the suit came from the fact that I was so convinced that Ray was going to have a great race at Kona this year that I decided to investigate making him a special one of a kind suit. It is always nice to not look like the rest of the field and to this end I started scratching my head as what to do. I then look at the suit that was made for Courtney Atkinson and thought, that is something to work with as it would reduce the production time as Orca had already been through the development. I made a few sketches and a few design notes and popped it off to Orca. They got it a bit wrong to start with but after some more mails they understood what I had in mind.
The idea was to us the SA flag but to turn it upside down so that the little black triangle (on the flag) would flow into the black of the suit on the legs. This way giving a seamless look, black is maybe not the best colour for Kona but on the other hand it works very well for showing the sponsors logos on the front of the chest. With that in mind I changed the back of the suit to white and then had the colours of the flag fade into the white so as to reduce the dark on the back, this was mostly considering the bike as he would be flat on his bars in the blazing sun for 4:30. I used the rear zip as this is a preference for Raynard and also makes the front of the suit look better for branding.
I used the Perform material as this is another preference of Raynard as he likes the feel of the fabric. I sent the first design to Raynard and Natalie and they were over the moon and gave me the go ahead. The idea was to keep the suit under wraps from the world until Kona but Raynard did use the suit in his last prep race to make sure all was cool (which it was).
In the end this all turned out to be a fantastic project and one that I will do again as I learnt so much in the process and to be honest the interest that it has generated has been truly amazing. You know that sometimes you make decisions and they turn out better than expected and offer you branding and awareness that you can never afford to buy and I think is one of those cases.
Raynard and Natalie are such great people to work with and it was so inspiring to sit up all night and watch the “time-lapse” video on Ironman live and follow the updates coming from the course (I was following you as well, don’t feel left out).
I have attached the final draft of the suit that we signed off. The delivery period was around 28 to 35 days from sign off.
How proud does that suit make you to be South African? I think it was worth the punt and well done to Bernard for making it work and getting the suit to Ray for his best day out, ever…