HOW TO CHOOSE A WETSUIT
First and foremost read the advice on wetsuit fit, below.
Everything else in wetsuit choice is a balance of priorities: Warm vs Stretch. Price vs Durability etc. We have listed and explained the main ones below to help you make the right choice.
The most important aspect of the performance of any wetsuit is the fit. Forget any other features, designs, even colours and team riders – a badly fitting wetsuit will let in cold water and is not fit for purpose.
A well fitting wetsuit is close but not tight all over your body. Key areas to look at are:
- Avoid excess material – particularly behind the knee or underarm as this will rash like crazy
- Ensure good seals on the neck, wrist and ankles
- A good fit in the small of the back will avoid water sitting around your kidneys.
GBS vs FLATLOCKED
GBS is warmer but more expensive.
Flatlocked is stronger and cheaper but not nearly as warm.
If you are surfing regularly in colder water you need a GBS wetsuit. If it’s a summer thing and you are on a tight budget then Flatlock is ok.
Note - there are 2 types of GBS - single lock, using 1 thread and double lock using 2. We use the double lock which is significantly stronger.
STRETCH vs WARMTH
The number in the wetsuit description (ie. 3/2 or 5/4/3) refers to the neoprene thickness. The thinner material should always be on the arms and sometimes lower leg, the thicker material around the core. There is no industry standard for neoprene thickness - some measure the rubber only, some measure the rubber plus the lining. We measure rubber plus lining except on the Plush lining wetsuits where the lining can account for 1-2mm additional. On that we use a press measure to counter act the fabric pile. There is also a +-0.5mm tolerance on all neoprene to bear in mind! When in doubt we go 0.5mm thicker to ensure true thickness.
The rule of thumb is thicker equals warmer, thinner equals stretchier.
For the UK South West 3/2’s are usually mid-summer wetsuits, 5/4/3’s are mid-winter. For the North East, Scotland and Ireland it’s more like 4/3 summer and 6/5/4 winter.
It’s better to be too warm than too cold as you can always cool down in the sea so if you suffer from the cold then go 4/3 for summer and 6/5/4 for winter wherever you are.
For the rippers, aspiring rippers or people who wear shorts in December you’ll want to go thinner – the suits are lighter and more stretchy so you can surf with greater freedom.
DURABILITY vs PRICE
Most wetsuit companies wont tell you this but the most expensive wetsuits don’t last the longest. Like any high performance item – F1 cars or carbon fibre road bikes – they are built for performance, not durability.
Beyond a certain price point – usually around £100 to £150 – the durability of a wetsuit will actually go down as the price goes up. The main issue is the premium neoprene and linings – the more stretchy it is the less strong.
If you are serious about surfing this is a cost you are prepared to accept – the features, fit, comfort, warmth and stretch of a premium wetsuit far out weighs the expense. If value is a priority over performance then stick to the mid-level suits.
Whatever wetsuit you buy, always rinse after use and hang on a wide hanger out of direct sunlight to dry. And no matter how tempting, it’s really not good to wee in it.
Our environmental policy is this: we believe that everyone on the planet has an environmental responsibility, whether you are an individual or a company. As such we act in the same way as we act as individual's – we make every effort within our means to reduce the impact of our actions.
For us this is not a point of difference or Unique Selling Point, just simply doing our bit. However, as this is an issue that is of importance to our customers we have created a Green Statement to break down our practices:
Responsibility in design:
Our product design brief contains a rigorous enviromental concern check list. Materials, construction and packaging are evaluated on their enviromental impact.
As a result, we have pioneered the use of EPS/Epoxy technology in surfboards. This offers a 75% reduction in VOC’s during manufacturing. The increased durability of the product also leads to less end user waste by extending the product life.
We also employ Limestone based neoprene in our top-end wetsuit lines. Although there is an enviromental impact on the production of any neoprene, Limstone based neoprene does not rely on the natural resource of Oil.
In our packaging we aim to create a re-usable item or employ recycled or recyclable materials where possible. Our surfboards are packed in Soy based polythene, and we recycle all of our cardboard.
Measuring the resources we use:
We have now started recording our resource usage and setting targets to further improve our environmental performance.
Using the Carbon Trust Carbon Calculator we worked out that we reduced our CO2 consumption by 7.5 tonnes in between 2010 and 2011 and continue to improve year on year.
Waste and Packaging
Over the last 40 years Tiki has grown and so has the amount of waste we produce. Here’s what we are doing about it:
Around 13 billion plastic bags are used by UK shoppers every year. Plastic is non-biodegradable and can take between 400-1,000 years to break down.
We’ve replaced plastic carrier bags paper bags made from recycled paper.
Customers can also buy our re-usable hessian bags – these have proven to be an enormous success and are perfect for carrying all your kit to the beach.
We also aim to cut our packaging to a minimum without compromising the quality of our products and look forward to seeing how much we can reduce this year.
We are recognised for the quality of our products and we want them to last as long as possible.
Even Tiki’s quality products can wear and tear over time. Instead of throwing away battered wetsuits, we provide a low, cost effective repair service so our customers can continue to get the most out of their Tiki wetsuits.
All office and retail waste is separated and recycled. We recycle over 85% of all card/paper and polythene. In 2011 this equated to 15 tonnes of cardboard and polythene.
Our aim is to increase this and recycle at least 95% of our card/paper and polythene waste by 2017.
Energy and Climate Change
We are committed to reducing our carbon footprint. Our two main usage areas are our shops and transport / shipping.
Lighting in our shops is one of our biggest impacts on the environment. All lights (except safety and monitoring) are turned off at night, even in the shop.
Full insulation means we don’t need to heat parts of our shop, and the areas that we do we do have an ultra efficient air source heat pump.
Transport is another one of our biggest impacts on the environment in particular the shipping and distribution of surf equipment.
To reduce our carbon footprint we also use environmentally aware freight companies and sea shipping. Domesticaly in the UK we batch deliver as much as possible to reduce individual product miles.
GENERAL WARRANTY INFORMATION:
Tiki have been making wetsuits since the 1960’s. We stand by the performance and quality of every product we make. As such we offer a comprehensive warranty to repair or replace any Tiki product that does not fulfil our high quality standards. If the product is found to be faulty under normal use and proper care, Tiki will repair or replace the product at our discretion. The decision to replace or repair a product is made by Tiki after the defective product has been sent to us. At no time does Tiki offer a refund. Defective product should be returned CLEAN AND DRY and postage prepaid. The return should also contain a note which should include returns number, product description, product defects, requested action, return address (including postcode), daytime telephone number with area code, customer/accounts name and a copy of the purchase receipt (general public enquiries only). Trade customers contact the trade team to process returns.
Selected Flatlocked Wetsuits and GBS wetsuits:
Limited 1-year warranty from date of purchase on workmanship and materials - Zips and Liquid seal excluded.
Limited 90-day warranty, from date of purchase, on workmanship and materials.
Limited 90-day warranty, from date of purchase, on workmanship and materials
Using the Warranty
There are 2 ways to use the warranty:
1. Return to store: (Retail Customer). Go back to your local Tiki dealer, they'll send your suit to our Tiki service centre. You must have proof of purchase (receipt or invoice).
2. Tiki Wetsuits repair service (Trade and Retail Customer). Send the product back to Tiki by certified mail, along with proof of purchase (receipt or invoice). Your wetsuit will be returned to you as soon as possible free of charge (if covered under warranty).
- Tiki does not accept colour or size exchanges.
- Product may not be returned without obtaining a Return Authorization number from Tiki. The returns number can be obtained by calling: 01271 818323. This returns number must be clearly visible on the outside of all returned packages. The issuance of returns is subject to the sole discretion of Tiki.
- All returned products must be shipped freight prepaid. Unauthorised packages/returns will be refused.
- Authorised returns will be credited back to the dealer’s trade account including the discount terms after receipt of the product.
- Tiki has the right to refuse any returned product that is damaged by any means including but not limited to improper packing or improper display methods at dealer’s location, or damage caused by customers.
- “Discounted,” “Discontinued,” “Seconds” And altered suits are FINAL SALES ONLY. NO RETURNS FOR ANY REASON WHATSOEVER (SUITS WITH INTERNAL LABLES MISSING ARE VOID OF WARRANTY UNLESS INSTRUCTED OTHERWISE).
The following will not be covered under warranty:
- Damage caused by anything other than defects in materials or workmanship.
- Use in commercial, rental, teaching or instructional programs or activities. (excluding ADV wetsuits. Limited 90 day warranty applies)
- Damage caused by extended or excessive exposure to sunlight, improper handling or storage, or failure to follow instruction provide with this product.
- This product when classified as being 2nd hand or it is being sold as a 2nd (it is being sold as a product with existing defects).
- Normal wear and tear, including scratches and fading.
- Wetsuits repaired/altered by a repair service other then Tiki
- Materials over 1 year (from date of original purchase) or 90 days for accessories
- Warranty request without original receipt
- Damage caused by contact with chemicals (chlorine, petrol etc)