Always Summer on the inside… is an old strap line from a 70s wetsuit ad, but it always struck a cord with me. During the coldest Winter months when often the surf is at its best and most frequent here in the UK, this is exactly how every surfer wants to feel. Warm and flexible… but a wetsuit has to be so much more than that these days. We have growing concerns (and rightly so) about carbon foot print and sustainability in the surf industry.
The suit must also last longer than a few months if used on a daily basis but be cost effective and represent value to the customer. There are a lot of options out there with regards wetsuits, but if you surf on a regular basis you will quickly find that it matters greatly what suit you use.
His skill and knowledge in making wetsuits is only matched by his passion for surfing[/pullquote]
I have known Malcolm at SNUGG WETSUITS for many years, his skill and knowledge in making wetsuits is only matched by his passion for surfing and triathlon racing. When you visit the SNUGG factory the first thing you are greeted with is the smell of the neoprene, an ancient smell for some that along with surfboard wax sets your mind straight back to the first time you walked into a surf shop. Despite the fact that technologies, methods and materials have evolved that smell is still here. Malcolm (usually busy on the phone) will always greet you with a glance and a smile from the back area of the small but always busy factory where the suits are all still hand made.
I explained what it was I was after, a Winter wetsuit… not heavy or bulky, but enough to last a good couple of hours in the very coldest NE’ly days of Jan/Feb. We settled on a 4x3mm with a built in hood, but with smooth skin panels to fend of the cold air. I have had a couple of smooth skin Summer suits from Malcolm in the last few years and I’ve loved them. They’re amazingly warm for how light and comfortable they are to wear and if anything does happen to them (fin cuts, damage etc) you just drop then in and Malc fixes them good as new! Personally I have always liked the idea of the things we buy and use being made where we live, especially when those things function or have purpose that has to be matched to a certain environment.
Malcolm pulls the tape measure from around his neck and begins taking measurements… neck, head, upper arm, wrist, waist, thigh, knee, ankle…etc. filling in the order form has he goes. “Pretty much a standard Medium Large, apart from your neck and your over sized chest!” he concludes, which to me thinking I was a standard Large in pretty much all wetsuits highlights the fact that we are all different shapes and sizes and need this level of attention when getting a wetsuit that fits well enough to do it’s job properly.
That’s that, I pay my deposit and take my pink order slip, go away and wait…
The well thought out entry point makes getting in and out of the suit very straight forward and surprisingly easy[/pullquote]
A coupe of weeks later I get word that it’s ready, perfect timing as the air temp has plummeted since placing my order and I’m really looking froward to getting in the new suit. It’s a chest entry design Malcom tags “The Mini-Zip”. I’ve always been careful about chest entry suits and having spoken to other folk who have big shoulders or are generally of heavier build neck entry suits can be an issue, especially when it comes to getting them off! Not so in this case, the well thought out entry point makes getting in and out of the suit very straight forward and surprisingly easy… a relief!
The fit is unbelievable, everything sits in exactly the right place, no baggy bits, no tight bits, no pulling, no odd shapes… just a perfect fit! The suit is light and very comfortable as the neoprene seems to just slide on and off. Surfing in it is weird!… it’s very very warm!!! If you are the type that really suffers the cold, these are the suits for you. It feels as flexible as the 3×2 I’ve just got out of, the only noticeable difference being the hood and the additional floatation offered by the thicker neoprene, but that is to be expected with all Winter suits. The air is 8 degrees and and the water is still 12, so there’s a long way to go before air and water temp are equal, but with a good pair of boots I feel very well set up for it… and for once, I’m actually looking forward to Winter at home.
It’s possibly worth mentioning that I’m not writing this as a teamrider or someone who gets these suits for free, I don’t even sell wetsuits in Nomad. I just thought it was worth writing a little piece as a way of letting you know how good these suits really are. It’s also to say thanks to Malcolm and his team for producing such an amazing wetsuit. Thank you.
If you are considering a new wetsuit and you want the best available suit for winter time here in the UK, have a chat with Malcolm on: 01637 878488, drop by the factory on Toby Way in Newquay or visit their website www.snuggwetsuits.co.uk
Lovingly crafted words from Ciaran McQueen owner and longboard lover from www.nomadsurfstore.co.uk. If you need a new, unique UK produced board to go along with your new Snugg wetsuit then we highly recommended you visit the team at Nomad.