After the overwhelming success of the Ichiban comes that 'difficult second album' syndrome. Scramble's customers need not worry, the Wave is destined to become a classic BJJ uniform. However it is worth noting the slightly larger degree of shrinkage in the sleeves and trousers, plus the fact that wearing a rashguard lined jacket might make you feel hotter compared to a regular non-lined gi of similar weight. It is also priced at the higher end of the gi market.
I have been commissioned in the past by Scramble to produce artwork. I have had no contribution to this design. This and the following report will be my own personal opinion and remain as objective and unbiased as I can.
When UK clothing company Scramble launched their debut gi last year - the Ichiban - there was such a scramble (excuse the pun) to buy the pre-order, that they sold out their allocation within minutes...possibly seconds. There were a lot of happy customers, but a lot of disappointed ones.
In a few weeks time, Scramble will present their second gi offering - The Wave. They promise to make it available as a standard stock item (ie not a pre-order). The wait has been long and there have been several promised estimated dates of arrival only for more delays to occur. One of the principle delays has been caused by poor quality test trousers - a fact made open and public on the Scramble Facebook page.
The commitment to perfection and quality is admirable, but how does this gi (my gi is a pre-production review sample) match up to expectations? I tested the Wave over two and a half weeks of regular training, here is my report...
Size, Weight and other Stats
Size in centimetres brand new v after three washes at 40 degrees (A1 gi)
Weight Jacket: 1.2kg
Weight Trousers: 0.5kg
My dimensions: 170cm tall (5'6"), 59Kg (133lbs)
Available: Late Sept, October
Price: £129.99 (plus shipping), $205USD - roughly
Available from: Scramble, Budo Videos, MMA Outlet, Martial Art Supplies, BT Fight Gear, and several other outlets worldwide.
Manufactured in Pakistan.
Scramble's first gi, the Ichiban, was too short in the arms for me (144cm wingspan). At 153 cm long, the sizing of the Wave appears to have improved from the Ichiban. The length still pitches it at the bottom end of the spectrum of many A1 sized gis. For comparison, the recently reviewed Arte Suave gi measures 154cm, but other gis, such as the Tatami Fightwear Estilo Purple gi, are much longer (160cm). The degree of shrinkage along the sleeves (158 down to 153) is slightly more than I expected for a pre-shrunk treated pearlweave fabric. Jacket width and length appear similar to most A1 gis.
The trousers shrunk a considerable amount in length (97cm down to 91cm). Again, I would place this size towards the bottom end of the A1 spectrum of gi sizes. For comparison, the Atama Mundal #9 is 94cm in length and the Kingz Kimono gis measure 91cm.
The weight, at 1.7Kg altogether is very good considering it includes a rashguard inner lining. For comparison, the Tatami Fightwear Terere Gi (inner rashguard) weighed almost 1.9Kg and the Black Eagle 'Raptor' gi, again a rashguard lined gi, weighed 1.8Kg. More about the rashguard later.
The Wave jacket is made from 550gsm pearlweave cotton. In theory, 550gsm is a fairly heavy weight textile but as with the previous 550 gsm gi I reviewed (Ezekiel kimonos) I think the wearer would be hard pressed to notice a huge difference between a 550 like the Wave compared to, say, a 500 gsm weight gi, such as the Estilo.
[As an aside, on the subject of gsm (grams per square metre), I noticed on the US Judo Federation website that IJF approved tournament judo gis used a 950gsm double weave material. I imagine such gis would be incredibly tough and thick.]
As the photo above clearly reveals, the Wave gi is fitted with an inner lining made from rashguard material (polyspandex I think). The rashguard lining starts where the yoke begins and extends down to the base of the jacket. It only extends partially into the sleeves ending roughly where the armpits are. This is a marked contrast to previous rashguard lined jackets. For example the lining on the Raptor gi covered a much larger surface area plus the lining extended all the way down to the sleeve cuffs. Similarly, the Tatami Fightwear Terere Signature model has a lining that covers much more of the insides, however here the lining stops around the elbows.
The collar is standard issue foamy rubber core and covered with cotton twill. It is nice and thick around the leading edge.
Despite the ornate interior design, the exterior of the Wave is fairly minimal. The sleeves are embroidered with laurel leaf motifs on both arms and small woven labels decorate the ends of the lapels. The general colour scheme is navy on white.
The cuffs are lined with woven tape designed to echo the inside rashguard design. Thankfully, the leading edge of the tape is tucked under itself, avoiding the scratchy tape sensation I experience with some gi models.
Side vents are lined with navy coloured twill
More about the rashguard. The design is a rebooted version of Katsushika Hokusai's Great Wave off Kanagawa painting. It is a theme previously explored by Scramble on their popular Be Water rashguard. It's a lovely metaphor for jiu jitsu - water is both devastating in its power, but can also be calm and gentle.
The reproduction on the lining is rich and sharp - both designer and factory have done a good job creating a beautiful feature. Crucially, the inside lining, as far as I know, completely legal under IBJJF tournament rules. The jacket is complete with fairly standard issue underarm and side vent reinforcements.
The Wave trousers are made from cotton drill (not poly cotton mix as stated on the Scramble website). Drill is quite a densely woven fibre. The trouser material feels quite stiff compared to other brands. The 'crispness' reminded me a lot of karate trousers. The double knee lining is reasonably long. When I was kneeling, the padding covered my knees adequately.
The trousers are held together by an impressively thick, chunky and solid piece of rope. I really loved the rope and found that it remained tied together throughout my testing period. It was easy to untie at the end of class regardless of how much sweat. This is not the case I find with flat drawstrings.
Trouser patching is simple and kept minimal.
One great idea carried over from the Ichiban is the extra taping to reinforce the trouser gusset seams and extends along the entire length inside the trousers. It is a feature I very rarely see but seems such an obvious zone to place reinforcements.
Ankle openings are taped same as the sleeve cuffs.
A laurel leaf patch is embroidered over the calf area.
The photo below shows me wearing the Wave after it has had three washes. It's a good fit, much better on me than the Ichiban sample. I feel the sleeves are too short for me (I do have very long arms for my height/weight) however I had no issues when rolling with the gi in terms of cut. The rashguard however does stop heat form escaping. Unfortunately, I tested this gi during a very warm spell here in the UK. I found after an hour of training, my body was dripping with sweat, much more so than when I wore the non-lined Arte Suave gi the previous day under similar weather conditions.
But this was to be expected. My previous experience rolling in rashguard lined gis has always been that they felt hotter to wear than non-lined gis. In milder weather, it's not too much of a concern for me, in summer, it's not comfortable I must admit. Conversely, in such weather, I do like to wear a short sleeve rashguard and then a gi on top. For some reason, this combination wicks away my body heat and sweat better than rashguard that is affixed to the gi. I'm sure a physics student knowledgeable in heat dynamics can explain to me why this would be so. Regardless, it is something to bear in mind when purchasing this gi.
The quality of the jacket is very good - up there with the likes of the Tatami Fightwear Estilo, the Bull Terrier New Star and the Gameness Elite. Despite the 550gsm fabric weight, the jacket actually felt pretty light when rolling. The trousers are great, the huge chunk of rope held them up perfectly and the fabric used is perfectly comfortable. I still prefer the lightness and comfort of my Arte Suave ripstop trousers but the degree of reinforcements used to line the Wave trouser seams is very impressive.
In a little over two years Scramble have built up a loyal, vocal and large following. I imagine the pressures to release a product early to satisfy overwhelming demand must be tempting. The Wave has most certainly not been rush released. Having followed The Wave's progress from early concepts to (almost) final product, it's interesting for me to observe how much development it has taken to get here.
Looking at the pricing, I do feel £129.99 (over $200USD) is steep for any BJJ uniform. But for comparison with, say, the Gameness Elite, which is a rashguard lined gi costing over £170 ($240+), or any of the Lucky gis ($250 - $290), then I guess you could argue that the Wave is a cheaper Premium level gi by comparison.
The sample I have, is an excellent product with great attention to detail that makes it worthy of premium gi status. But do note the slightly higher degree of shrinkage (compared to other pearlweaves I have reviewed) and the fact that it has a rashguard lining - which potentially could make you feel hotter than regular gis.