Being a woman surfing in Cape Town, we all know what difference a good wetsuit makes. Thank you for participating in the Surfsisters wetsuit survey. Our goal was to find the best wetsuit in town and help girls to make an informed decision when buying their next suit. Here are the results:
Half of the Surfsisters who responded were between 31 and 40 years old and the vast majority of respondents have been surfing between 1 and 5 years. Most women either identified their body shapes as banana or hourglass. This was a rather difficult questions, it must be admitted…
O’Neill, Xcel and Reef are most commonly surfed amongst the survey respondents, followed by Rip Curl, then Roxy and finally Billabong. Respondents who have surfed wetsuits from more than one brand, put either O’Neill, Xcel or the Rip Curl G-Bomb suit as their favourites. Neil Pryde was mentioned as an expensive favourite suit as well as the O’Neill mod which is unfortunately not available in South Africa (…but of which I have heard fantastic stories!)
The following wetsuit models were rated by participants: Psycho 2, Coral custom-made, Ripcurl G-Bomb, O’Neill De Lux, Reef 4,3, Reef Tri Star/Flex, Xcel Infinity.
Half of the women paid between R1000-R2000 for their wetsuit and usually bought them in a Surf Shop. Only a few bought their suit in Factory Shops. About 35% of the respondents paid between R2000 and R3000, and only 7% up to R4000.
All respondents are either satisfied or even very satisfied with the fit of their suits. The opinions differ more when it comes to functionality, including aspects such as elasticity, key pockets and zips. Still the vast majority was either satisfied or very satisfied, but some felt neutral or dissatisfied about functionality of the above.
There is a similar picture when it comes to warmth of the suit. Half of the respondents were very satisfied, the remaining opinions divert down to dissatisfied.
In terms of looks and design, the majority of respondents said they are satisfied. slightly fewer were very satisfied and even fewer were on the neutral or negative side.
With the vast majority of respondents stating that they don’t have any strong opinion about the price of their suits, none being dissatisfied and some satisfied or very satisfied, money doesn’t seem to stand in women’s way when it come to purchasing the right suit.
When questioning the fit of their wetsuits further, most respondents complained about too much material around the tummy. The second most mentioned issue was sleeves. “Suit’s sleeves are too short” was funny enough followed by “sleeves are too long”. Some indicated that their suits are either too tight or too loose around the neck.
One woman stated that her suit fits perfectly, another found the Velcro at the neck irritating and again some were complained about a missing duck flap and pink sleeves on the new O’Neill top of the range suit.
When suggesting a range of potential issues with suits, missing key pockets/elastic, tricky to work zips and difficulties with getting in and out of suits were equally commented on. Some women experience broken seams and a lack of flexibility of their suits as problematic.
After sales service is stated as a generally positive experience, at least when it comes to friendliness and helpfulness in surf shops. The quality of repairs, however, doesn’t seem to always be up to scratch.
The comment box was filled with various statements. From a female surfer who cannot believe that they are surfing the warmest wetsuit available on the South African market (which doesn’t keep them very warm at all), to a warning of the smooth Coral neoprene which according to the survey tends to be brittle and break, compared to a rough material according to the survey also used by Coral.
There were also requests to stop producing top of the range suits with flowers and pink patterns, wishing for more creative designs.
Last but not least there was a recommendation to always go for the best suit one can afford! Comfort even in Atlantic waters is the reward.