In 2013, the US based ROKA brand was launched after two product design geeks (swimmers that competed in US Olympic Trials) successfully created a triathlon wetsuit design that allowed swimmers to feel like they were “swimming downhill”. The most significant design modification focused around reducing lower body drag. They experimented with different liners and sleeve lengths, then they finally had a triathlon wetsuit for both elite and developing swimmers – dubbed the Maverick Pro. A respected swim coach conducted a blind test that pitted the Maverick against the competition. Remarkably, swimmers in the Maverick swam 2–2.5 seconds faster per 100 yards in ROKA’s suit. Then came the event that truly put ROKA on the map. Pro Meredith Kessler wore the Maverick Pro at Ironman New Zealand and clocked an astonishing 47:37 swim for 2.4 miles. Her closest competitor, Gina Crawford, also a fantastic swimmer who had outswam Kessler in their previous race, exited the swim four minutes back.
Today, ROKA sponsors some of the best athletes in the world, including both reigning Ironman 70.3 world champions and gold medalist Gwen Jorgensen. In December 2016, ROKA signed a multi-year agreement with USAT to become the organization’s official race apparel and swim partner.
ROKA employs 25 people and mainly operates out of an 11,750-square-foot converted warehouse in Dallas’ Design District. As for ROKA’s future, the company has two overall goals: to keep supporting triathletes and to maintain a clear vision of what ROKA is as the company evolves beyond the tri space.
ROKA supplies products for triathlon, cycling, running, beach volleyball and golf. They are best known for their triathlon wetsuits and swimming googles and have recently entered into the “every day” sunglass market.
As a club sponsor, ROKA offers all NETF club members a 25% discount on purchases made online at https://www.roka.com/