Say you were a small outdoor clothing company with a background in surfing and a penchant, for both, making some of the finest (literally) merino wool garments, and for fun. How might you promote your passions? With a surfing sheep, of course.*
NB: The YouTube link previously posted was misbehaving, so see the video of the Surfing Sheep directly at Finisterre. Apologies for any confusion.
Finisterre, located in Cornwall, UK, might fly under the radar, compared to the bigger names in the outdoor industry, but they don't let that get in the way of creating their own special niche. Like their collection of merino garments. At 17.5 microns, this is some the finest grade of sheep's wool available anywhere on the planet. Yet for for all their fine softness, these aren't delicate garments. They are surprisingly tough. Last winter I worn their lightweight crew (Eddy), whilst chopping and carrying wood and was amazed that no threads pulled or seams spread, problems I've encountered with other more well known brands.
New colours, styles and knits keep appearing in the Finisterre merino wardrobe, like the new ribbed Erebus with it's zipped polo neck. And their super warm lofted (brushed) merino is now faced with durable exterior of organic cotton. Finisterre have also managed to end up with some of the keenest priced merino garments on offer, especially given that they're crafted in Europe (Portugal).
But it is not just wool that excites these surfers turned clothiers. They are giving the phrase 'wax head' a new twist with their beeswax proofed Matanuska jackets.
The Men's version Matanuska is styled after the US military M65 jacket, a classic product in its own right. But to keep the wearer dry whilst scoping out a new surf break in rain showers, Finisterre coat the Matanuska 65%/35% polyester/cotton fabric with beeswax. (Some paraffin is part of the recipe to help the wax spread). Wearers can expect about an hour's resistance to wind driven drizzle. When the jacket needs more proofing this can be simply applied by the owner with something like Fjallraven G1000 Greenland Wax bars.
The Women's version Matanuska has a less macho look, with a curvier cut and less boxy pocket detailing, but otherwise has the same performance attributes. Both sport foldaway hoods and bound seams.
(Rumour has it Finisterre plans to add another category of shell garment to their collection, in addition to these beewax numbers, and their previously discussed membrane/coating free models.)
Disclosure: Finisterre wanted to send me a sample Matanuska to test, but I declined, having too many poly-cotton shells already. I received some fabric samples instead. I have however field tested sample Finisterre merino wool garments, so can vouch for the quality of their product.
* Before the likes of PETA get hot under the collar about the above video, it should be noted that 1. Finisterre have been awarded by the RSPCA for their animal husbandry practices, and 2. no sheep were harmed in the making of this clip because the surfing scenes were created with trick imagery by an advertising company.
More Finisterre Technical Apparel
• Finisterre: Making Tracks in the Green Wave
• Dropping In On Finisterre: Eco-Technical Surfwear
• Finisterre Clothing Keep On Winning Awards
• Black Sheep Finisterre Warms to Techy Merino Wool
• Finisterre Pull the Wool Over Their Eyes. Willingly.