The America’s Cup has highlighted the increasing need for shock mitigation suspension seating as spectator and support boats struggle to keep up with the amazing speeds these new machines get up to out on the water. 

Sea Sure, the innovative Warsash based company, developed its Shock-WBV ( units on the Solent specifically for the wind-over-tide, fast, harsh wave patterns also seen on the Hauraki Gulf in Auckland. Shock-WBV units were developed to improve both the safety, and comfort, of the crew.

“Owners can now provide shock mitigation seating to help protect those onboard and decrease effects of whole-body vibration whether it’s for professional support teams or local sailing clubs,” says Graham Brown MD Sea Sure, manufacturer of Shock-WBV.

“The level of innovation on the America’s Cup boats is incredible. Likewise, for shock mitigating suspension seating, the advances made in recent years are huge.”

Shock spikes caused by a boat’s hull repeatedly hitting waves can cause immediate spinal damage. However long-term exposure to smaller, repeated shocks still cause damage over time – resulting in, not least, ongoing back pain.

But it’s not just the AC boats that are getting faster. The Nacra 17 catamaran was introduced to the Olympics in 2016 and will be up on foils for Tokyo, and the IKA foiling Kiteboard will be at the Paris games. There are also many more foiling dinghies at clubs up and down the coast.


As in many areas of development, the cost of equipping a support or rescue boat with shock mitigation seating has fallen dramatically. Systems can be retrofitted to existing boats as well as being specified on new ones. This means that they are now affordable to clubs on a budget.

Sea Sure is already supplying shock mitigation units around the world – the company’s Shock-WBV brand is used by Olympic coaches in the UK, Germany and the USA as well as by government and institutional organisations worldwide.

It makes three distinct units: for commercial vessels (C-series), pedestals (P-series) and RIBS (R-series). The range also includes the patented Omega shock mitigating seat insert. Each series, Graham says, is carefully designed and tested thoroughly. As well as hundreds of hours on the water testing, Shock-WBV units are also tested on Sea Sure’s state-of-the-art drop test rig in Warsash. Data from both testing systems are used to further improve the performance of all the units.

“The latest Omega-series seat insert design means even when space is limited, or seats can’t be suspended, this simple solution will provide increased safety and comfort,” says Graham.

“The sailing and powerboat communities are global,” he says. “It’s events like the America’s Cup which really bring both together as we’re all glued to the action, watching the pinnacle of sailing excellence which then pushes the boundaries of chase boat capabilities. This weekend’s Prada Cup final is a timely reminder to us all that, in order to be the best, we need to take care of ourselves first.”