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The Lotus Brand 

An Interview with AXXE Wetsuits

Words by Kim Feldmann de Britto
Stiff fingers that can’t keep hold of the car keys. Tired shoulders after a one-hour session only. Necks compressed by rubber, feet that don’t respond when popping up. Cold water seeping through the seams or sluicing down the neck. A new wetsuit every season.  A heavy conscience for purchasing yet another petroleum-based product made in god-knows-where by a billion-dollar enterprise. If you surf or have ever surfed with a wetsuit, you have certainly experienced one of these scenarios, and if that’s the case, chances are you have thought about the wetsuit you own and whether it’s the right choice for you and the planet.
Indeed, when it comes to aquatic adventures, having the right gear is crucial for both comfort and safety; in surfing, this means being able to paddle and turn comfortably as much as maintaining a comfortable bodily temperature. And whilst there are countless brands out there that tick some boxes in the wetsuit department, few are the ones that come close to ticking them all. After teaming up with Axxe Wetsuits, Mahalo has found out that they are one of these rare exceptions.


Axxe Wetsuits is a family-owned company and one of the brands created by C.World Co. Ltd, a factory founded in Japan. The brand’s founder, Nobuo Kurosaka, was a scuba diver who developed an interest in making wetsuits after observing surfers shaping their own surfboards in the late 1960s and early 1970s. He worked at Victory Wetsuits, where he learned about waterproof technology and gained sales experience. In 1982, he established the wetsuit brand Breaker Out, inspired by sports bike race leather suits; the brand quickly became popular and expanded globally, with factories in Huntington Beach, CA, and Brazil. In 1989, AXXE was established to target core surfers, and in 2005, they introduced the AXXE Classic line, catering to mature and lifestyle surfers who have a penchant for understated designs.
Nowadays, Axxe Wetsuits has become synonymous with excellence in the world of water sports gear. The brand prides itself on using cutting-edge technology in the manufacturing process, and their commitment to innovation ensures that wetsuits deliver superior performance and durability. The suits feature multi-layered neoprene with built-in thermal linings and are constructed using reinforced stitching, durable zippers, and abrasion-resistant materials, not only providing excellent heat retention and preventing the body from losing warmth during prolonged exposure to cold water but also lessening the wear and tear that we invariably subject our wetties to.
But there are two other main factors that have caught the attention of the Mahalo Surf Experience team. First, Axxe recognises that every body shape is unique, and a proper fit is essential for optimal performance, so wetsuits are designed using ergonomic principles to provide a snug and comfortable fit, allowing for maximum mobility and reducing water entry. Second, the brand actively works to reduce waste during the manufacturing process and explores eco-friendly alternatives to traditional materials, whilst also supporting organisations focused on ocean conservation, emphasizing their commitment to protecting the very environment in which their products are used. All that without losing the family-business approach wherefrom they emerged.
Mahalo caught up with Axxe’s Vice President, Mr Takahashi, to hear a bit more about the behind-the-scenes of the wetsuit manufacture, as well as their philosophy and business model.
AXXE Wetsuits_Tailor made in Japan_Factory handcraft
What inspired you to start Axxe Wetsuits, and what were your goals when you first established the brand?
Axxe Wetsuits, AKA “the lotus brand”, was inspired by a time when surfboard designs were evolving from competition-style neon-coloured point-nose thrusters to alternative fish-type boards, around 2005. At that time, there were no wetsuit brands that accommodated this new niche market of low-key lifestyle-type surfing culture. As we got older, we wanted to get away from the loud colours and wetsuits that stood out; we wanted a wetsuit that was low-key and “mature”, so to speak, with the ultimate goal of preserving and sharing authentic Japanese wetsuit craftsmanship with the world.
Can you please talk a bit about the key features and technologies that set Axxe Wetsuits apart from other wetsuit brands in the market?
I think the majority of wetsuits in general are ready-made sizes that are stocked in stores. Stock suits have a very small chance of being sold out, and those that are not sold after a few years are incinerated or otherwise disposed of. We may have a very small run of stock suits, but our basic stance is to stick to custom orders. We measure the body size and make a custom-made suit for each customer — not mass production. This is the mainstream in Japan, but I think it is still rare in other countries. So by specialising in one-off custom-fitted wetsuits, we produce less waste; way less than most wetsuit brands. In addition, the fabrics and materials we use to construct our suits have been exclusively developed in-house utilising the highest tech materials available in the market today.
Could you describe the research and development that goes into creating new wetsuit designs at Axxe? How do you ensure that the products meet the needs of water sports enthusiasts?
Research and development are primarily conducted in the ocean environment in the North East area of Japan’s winter, where the temperature reaches well below freezing. Along with many years of knowledge and experience combined with high-tech materials and ergonomics, we provide a functional well-balanced wetsuit while factoring in durability.
Axxe Wetsuits is known for its commitment to sustainability. Can you discuss the eco-friendly initiatives that the company has implemented, and how these efforts align with the brand’s values?
Again, our brand does not over-produce; we only produce what is needed therefore creating less waste. In conjunction, we have been utilising recycled polyester materials for our suits and we are always aiming to look for better functional high-quality materials that have longer life spans as we continue to move forward. We are always researching and developing new methods and materials on a regular basis; this is a big part of our company’s vision and growth.
How does Axxe Wetsuits ensure a proper fit for customers with varying body types? What steps are taken to accommodate different shapes and sizes?
We specialise in custom-fitted suits measuring 26 points of the body; this provides a more comfortable fitted suit, kind of a relaxed fit. Contrary to popular belief, wetsuits should not fit tight as this creates stress on the seams and often results in a short lifespan of the wetsuit. As such, the custom relaxed fit allows for freedom of movement while paddling and less strain on the seams to help improve the longevity of the suit.
Durability is a crucial factor for water sports gear. How does Axxe Wetsuits prioritize durability in the manufacturing process, and what measures are taken to ensure that the wetsuits can withstand rigorous activities? How do you balance this with maintaining the flexibility and comfort needed for water sports?
We are always trying to find a balance between comfort and durability. If you only want comfort, you can achieve this by using soft rubber alone, but there are still concerns about sacrificing durability. In the torso part, there are certain areas where we intentionally use stiff rubber in the wetsuit to give it more durability. We efficiently use our own formula to achieve a balance between comfort and durability. Also, a big part of our mission is to educate our customers on how to properly take care of their wetsuits so they can get the maximum life out of the suits. In a nutshell, a stress-free suit (less strain on seams and material) plus proper care equals a longer-lasting suit.
What inspires your design choices, and how do you balance aesthetics with function?
Our priority is to produce wetsuits that are functional in many aspects, and in that sense, our approach is a bit different from other brands. As I mentioned, we emphasise looser fitted suits which allow for a new sense of freedom when paddling by providing extra room — especially on the upper half of the suits — combined with a simple and discreet design that is more suitable for a mature audience. Being able to make this combination in a harmonious manner is the result of years of experience and a thinking-outside-the-box mindset. We also have our collaborators, namely team riders, draw up sketches of wetsuit designs they would like to try, and we tweak and apply our knowledge to the design to come up with a functional suit.
In terms of thermal insulation, what technologies or features does Axxe Wetsuits incorporate into its wetsuits to keep athletes warm in cold water?
We put a lot of emphasis on researching and developing our own original materials that have a harmonious balance of stretch, warmth, and durability, that do not retain too much water. We’ve been also working with and testing out various recycled materials. But the biggest development in recent years has been the Hybrid U-zip entry system we created. This design is a game-changer, and, if I may say, most likely one of the best entry systems in wetsuits design ever! There are a few reasons why. Firstly, the ease of getting in and out of the suit. Secondly, it has a pretty solid seal, meaning flushing is reduced to minimal, almost none. Thirdly, the freedom to paddle without much resistance due to the design around the neck, shoulders and upper arms.
Can you discuss any specific collaborations or partnerships that Axxe Wetsuits has engaged in to further enhance the brand’s offerings or expand its reach?
Our most recent collaboration was with Christian DIOR x VISSLA where we exclusively created a whole line of suits from scratch incorporating our Hybrid U-zip design. This was definitely a challenging project but we are glad it all worked out. We also do OEM wetsuit productions for many international companies.
Looking towards the future, what can we expect from Axxe Wetsuits in terms of innovation and new product development? Are there any exciting projects or advancements on the horizon?
We have some exciting collab projects coming up, but unfortunately, I cannot get into detail at the moment. Nevertheless, we are constantly researching and developing new wetsuit ideas based on the products we currently offer. We do not take very big leaps from what we currently have; we prefer taking small steps, little by little. This, then, provides a solid foundation to work off of.

Mahalo X Axxe

As avid surfers who take a great deal of care in choosing the best, most sustainable materials to do what we love, Mahalo Surf Experience is proud to be the official representative of Axxe Wetsuits in Europe. From the moment we first tried their suits on, our idea and expectations of wetsuits in general — as well as our performance — changed completely. Not only is their innovative approach and high-quality gear exactly what we at Mahalo want and need in terms of wetsuits, but we simply haven’t found another brand that aligns with our business philosophy. So if you’re in the market for a new wettie, we highly recommend checking out Axxe’s website.
Placing an order is simple. You start by scheduling a fitting appointment with Mahalo; this is done online via a video call and would require a tape measure and a second person to help take the precise measurements of your body dimensions. We will guide you through the entire process and double-check each of the twenty-six points to make sure the numbers are correct before proceeding with the next step. That done, you can select the fabric type and thickness that best suits your requirements, as well as what type of zipper you want. Once your preferences are confirmed and a deposit is paid, the Mahalo team will get in touch with the Axxe factory in Japan to place the order. You can expect a waiting period of approximately a month before your brand-new, custom-fitted wettie arrives at your doorstep, although it may take even less time depending on where you live.
If you have any other questions, feel free to reach out to us, and if you’re in Portugal, stop by our headquarters to take a closer look at the samples.
Send us an email at to order your Axxe wetsuit!
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