Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Baja Paddle Surf Equipment, Part I: Wet Okole Seat Covers

I'm only three weeks out from my annual, warm water pilgrimage to the tip of Baja California. When a trip like that starts to get close, it's time to begin your prep work. The last thing you want to do is be up until 2 am the morning before you pull out for Cabo San Lucas. Get smart, start prepping early.

I checked one item off my list today, seat covers. I went with Wet Okole covers- I've used them before, so I know they are the best out there. Wet Okole (Okole means "butt", so wet butt for us haoles) covers are waterproof, made to order seat covers. These things fit so perfectly that you'll think they installed new seats in your rig. Best of all, they're made of wetsuit material so not only are they water tight (in my old truck I'd jump right into the front seat in full soaking wetsuit for the short drive home) but they insulate your butt, I mean okole, making them nice and toasty on cold mornings. They're also comfy enough to sit in 'em with your shirt off (or in your bikini) which is nice when you're just jamming down to the beach for a surf check in the summer.

The covers are fairly expensive ($250 for my front two seats) but I think it's worth it- the fit is so perfect and the workmanship so solid. I jammed up to Costa Mesa today to have them installed (installation is free), check 'em out:

The Wet Okole mobile right out in front of the factory/showroom/installation facility. Nice people there too.
I was able to snag the first appointment of the morning. All I had to do was pull the Ramble Machine into the bay and let the boys go to work. Now, I know what you're thinking, "How hard could it be to install some seat covers?" Well, you've got to see these things- they fit like a glove. These guys install seat covers all day and it still took them a half an hour to do the two seats.
I went with black on black. There are all kinds of floral, hibiscus, camo and colored panels that you can select for your seat covers. I've seen a bunch of different ones and they look great, I just wanted something understated, something that would hide a lot of dirt, dust and spilled orange juice. There's two parts for each seat and a cover the center console.
I also opted for zippered, mesh pockets on the seatbacks... pretty cool looking, actually.
One of the owners of Wet Okole saw that I was snapping pictures of the guys installing my covers, he asked me if I wanted to walk around the factory and take some pictures of the fabrication of the covers. Cool! I was able to go behind the neoprene curtain and see how it was done. Check out all of these cardboard templates- each is the pattern for a particular make, model and year of automobile. This was only half of the template library- it was pretty cool and reminded me of the outline templates that shapers have hanging in their shape rooms.
This guy is cutting out the panels for a seat cover. I told him I was a stand up paddler- check out his face, I don't think he was too impressed. I later found out he was a Newps local- a shortboarder, go figure.
It was a giant place with tons of sewing machines whirring, people snipping and big pallets of neoprene everywhere. Check out the camo and black and white hibiscus patterns.
Here's just a few options- there were tons more.
This one was a little too wild for me- but I could sense it was probably pretty cool. I could just sense it.
Here's one called Real Woods or True Woods camo or something. My favorite part of the set up? There's a little handgun pocket hanging down right between the legs of the driver. It's kind of hard to see here but, believe me it's there. Better have that safety on, one unfortunate bump and you're going to be leading an interesting life.
Back at the Ramble Machine the guys were just finishing up installing the seat covers. They came out really nice- I'm stoked on them. They're perfect for Baja too- spill some salsa, smear some guacamole, break a beer bottle, or ride home soaking wet- it's no problem for me, I've got your okole covered!


Unknown said...

Great idea, John. I'm definitely considering getting covers for my seats now.

I've never been down to Baja. How does the weather hold up during December/Jan?


John Ashley said...

Definitely go with the Wet Okoles... you can't even tell that they're covers. Weather is insane down there this time of year.