Surf brand Vissla is preparing for an apocalyptic future in which simply being in the ocean could put surfers in harm.

To prepare for this, the California-based company is working alongside not-for-profit the Surfrider Foundation on a project that imagines what the wetsuit of the future might look like.

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A video published last week shows a surfer talking an ominous walk down a pier in a world that looks darkened by smog.


It's only when he stands at the edge of the water and pulls on what looks like a gas mask that we realise this isn't your standard wetsuit advertisement.

The Rising Seas wetsuit features digital displays on the mask and the arm that give the surfer information on the state of the water.

This is obviously a marketing stunt, but the company has gone through the actual steps of making the suit.

The westuit features a mask. Photo / File
The westuit features a mask. Photo / File

In addition to the fancy digital displays, it also features nanorods that are designed to light up when exposed to radiation.

"The main challenge: radiation can't be detected by the senses - we can't see, touch, smell, taste or feel it," says a description on the company website.

"While alerts will display on your arm panel once annual exposure levels exceed 50 mSv, scintillators will illuminate the seams for additional precaution."

The company says the motivation behind this elaborate move is to make a point about the importance of taking care of the ocean.

"Our coastlines are under siege from the impacts of pollution, ocean acidification, climate change, and fossil fuels," says the website.

The wetsuit has a smart display. Image / YouTube
The wetsuit has a smart display. Image / YouTube

"Rising sea levels and increasingly powerful storms have had a devastating effect on our shorelines and are putting our beaches and local surf spots at risk. With these harsh environmental realities in mind, we've teamed up with the Surfrider Foundation to create a wetsuit that addresses these threats head-on."

There are a number of threats surfers face when entering the water these days, including harmful bacteria, viruses, algae blooms, oil spills and high levels of run-off pollution.

This also applies here in New Zealand, with swimmers annually encouraged to check the water quality before deciding to go for a swim.

The issue of dirty water is most pronounced after periods of high rainfall, when run-off from the land ends up in the water.