History: Aquaman is part of the history of Triathlon and was the first to make Triathlon specific wetsuits.
Aquaman is a French brand that was started in September 1976 by Fernand Merian and was specialized from the beginning in high end product and development. The factory at that time was located in La Garenne Colombes near Paris and was specialized in making suits for scuba diving and wind surfing.
On November 20, 1982, after witnessing the world famous Nice Triathlon in France on Chanel 2 Television, Xavier Merian designed their first prototype wetsuit specific to Triathlon with the help of Renald Cedolin, a French Triathlete.
In 1983, the first Aquaman Triathlon wetsuit came off the assembly line. The model was 3 mm thick, short legs, short arms, and a back zipper. Soon after, a model with long legs came out followed by a full suit with long sleeves, long legs, and a hood integrated in the suit.
At that time Triathlon was not very popular and stores didn’t carry specific wetsuits for the sport. Aquaman saw Triathletes from all over the world come to their factory to purchase the new Triathlon wetsuit.
Triathlon Growth: In 1985, the sport began to grow and clubs became very popular and were the backbone of Triathlon in Europe.
The first Aquaman advertisement came out in January 1986 in a new magazine called Triathlete Magazine France, who began publication 6 months earlier.
Landmark: The first full Aquaman wetsuit glued and stitched with 4.5 mm/2.5 mm came out in September 1986. During that time the demand for Triathlon wetsuits began to grow exponentially and Aquaman decided to improve their full wetsuit. The biggest improvement came when they started making the suit using a Japanese Rubber manufacturer .
Aquaman created the foundation of all Triathlon wetsuits for the future.
In 1986, the full Aquaman wetsuit allowed Triathletes to swim in water as cold as 12 degree Cel. or 52 Far. and allowed them to start their season in March /April.
Aquaman was the precursor in the design of Triathlon wetsuits and came out with unique features like reverse and flexible zippers, short legs and arms, embedded grooves on the forearm, thinner neoprene behind the knee for flexibility, a mixture of different thicknesses on the wetsuit to allow more comfort during long swims and the use of Yamamoto neoprene with SCS.
Sponsoring: Since 1983, Aquaman has sponsored a multitude of top athletes and the list is impressive.
In the 80s: Rob Barel (Holland), Dirck Ashmoneit (Germany), Karel Blondel (Belgium) Jurgen Zack (Germany), Danilo Palmucci (Italy), Yves Cordier (France), Philippe Methion (France).
In the 90s: Simon Lessing (GR) 5 times World Champion, Wolfgang Dittrich (Germany), Paula Newby Fraser (US), Olivier Marceau (France), Greg Welch (Australia), Luc Van Lierde (Belgium).
In the 2000s: Simon Whitfield (Canada) Gold medal in Sydney,Sheila Taormina(USA) Greg Bennet (USA)Laura Bennet ( USA), Vanessa Fernandes ( Portugal), Kriss Gemmel (NZL), Cyril Neveu ( France), Gilles Reboul ( France), Stephane Poulat ( France), Sylvain Sudrie (France), Hunter Kemper (USA), Carol Montgomery (Can ), Kirsten Sweetland (Canada), Andrea Hewitt ( NZL), Rasmus Henning (DAN), Nicola Spirig (SUI), Emmie Charayron (France), Aurelien Raphael (France), Jeanna Collonge (France), Jeremy Jurkiewitz (France).
Today Aquaman sponsors two top Triathletes from the French team, Vincent Luis for the men and Cassandre Beaugrand for the ladies. Also since 1984 Aquaman has been the wetsuit sponsor for Poissy Triathlon.
Aquaman in 2016: The headquarter for Aquaman is in Ivry Sur Seine (94) and is represented in 22 countries.
Xavier MÉRIAN: The story of creating Aquaman
My father used an old sheet of neoprene to make me a wetsuit for swimming.
I was interested to see all the stages of the process: measuring me to make the pattern, cutting the neoprene,
gluing and putting together the different parts.
But the important thing was that I could start swimming in the ocean without being cold.
At that time we produced about 100 wetsuits just for scuba diving.
Some of them were made by me.
At age 19, I was sent to England to work in the production line at the biggest maker of neoprene.
I worked in all stages of making neoprene like the extrusion, cooking, cutting the sheets and laminating them.
At that time I didn’t know how useful that experience would be.
In 1983, I discovered Triathlon and with the lack of wetsuits in that sport the idea started popping into my head.
Aquaman factory in France.