Surfers come in all shapes and sizes. Wetsuits do not.
While a small range in sizing might not make or break performance for most garments, the fit of a wetsuit requires precision. Too big and you’ll be chilly, as water cycles in and out. Too small and you’ll limit your range of motion—or worse, split a seam in the lineup.
Custom suits are cost prohibitive for most surfers, costing up to twice as much as their off-the-rack counterparts, but Los Angeles-based Carapace Wetsuits is changing that. The Kickstarter-funded brand utilizes the latest Computed-Aided Design (CAD) production techniques to reduce the cost of made to order wetsuits without skimping on quality.
Here’s how it works. Carapace’s sleek measurement guide walks customers through 12 essential measurements for the suit. Instructional videos ensure the most accurate numbers and cut down on the likelihood of error in measuring. Once you submit your data, Carapace’s software compiles the proportions to create a unique pattern. This algorithm speeds up the production process, keeping costs down. After the pattern is drawn and cut, each suit receives careful individual treatment. Every panel is double-glued and each seam is taped by hand— a process that takes up to five hours for one suit.
The brand offers both surfing and diving-specific wetsuits. Surfing wetsuits are available in various thicknesses in two types of neoprene: the highly water-repellant premium Yamamoto EXO1 ($495) and the fleece/spandex combination EXO2 ($395). From measurement to delivery, Carapace Wetsuits take around three weeks and come with a one-year warranty.