Sunday, January 18, 2009

Tiki wetsuit revolution

Since starting surfing in the late 1980s, I have continued to be both surprised and delighted by advances in wetsuit technology, focusing mostly on warmth and flexibility. Well, I have to say quite honestly that I have never been so pleased as when I first tried on my 6mm Tiki Prodigy wetsuit a couple of weeks ago when the winds were offshore but the temperatures were well below freezing and even more so with the wind chill factor. Usually my Tiki 5/4/3 works very well. In fact, it did for about three and a half hours in one session in December and is definitely warmer than my O'Neil 5/4/3. However, that extra chill was starting to feel after the New Year and I decided to take the plunge for the much-heralded Tiki heated suit. Now, probably like many people I had a slight concern that this might be some sort of gimmick. However, when you try it on you realise first and foremost that it's the best Tiki wetsuit they've ever developed and for British waters I'd say you can't get better than buying from the people who actually surf here. I have to say that the wetsuit was so warm that I didn't actually need the heat pads and that's the beauty of the thing. It's the wetsuit you'd buy anyway but then you've got turbo-charged heat in the back just in case you want that little bit of extra warmth. As for how the heated parts work, it's so simple to use. Just stick the two pads in the wetsuit and then when you need them, push down on them and presto! you've got you're own little furnace. Then you just boil them up afterwards, the chemicals in the packets separate once more and they're reusable time and time again. As has been pointed out, it gives all the heat of peeing in your wetsuit but without the consequent rotting of the seams! For the long British Winter, I simply can't recommend this wetsuit higly enough.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have used Xcel suits for the last 5 years. They are also made by those who surf in cold waters (N. Cal). I am slim and tall. So many manufacturers cut corners on the quantity of material in their suits. Xcel are the first suits that fit me around the torso and have enough material in the legs and arms so that when sat on my board my ankles remain covered. Interested to know what part of coast you live. I am in Cornwall.