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Ladies, let’s be honest. Finding a perfect fitting, or even a good fitting, wetsuit for many of us can be, well, awful. Women’s wetsuit manufacturers seem to all target a specific body type: tall (but not too tall) and slim. For those of us who don’t fit that mold; the curvy, short, or above average height ladies, we’re left just trying to make do. Which sometimes works, but a lot of times doesn’t and can end up leading some embarrassing situations. However, there is an easy answer to solving this problem; a custom wetsuit from 7till8.
Based in California, 7till8 Custom Wetsuits is a new brand that designed custom men’s and women’s wetsuits for both surfing and scuba diving. While 7till8 Custom Wetsuits may be a new name on the market, this brand has worked with Red Bull, Disney, and more; which says a lot about the quality and value of these custom wetsuits. So when curvy scuba diver Hannah was offered to give them a try, she jumped at the opportunity.
Here’s what she has to say about her 7till8 custom wetsuit.
Table of Contents
Choosing Your Style
As a plus size traveler, renting wetsuits when I go diving is a nightmare. I’m often made to feel awkward and given ill-fitting men’s wetsuits. It’s always an uncomfortable situation trying to find something that might fit- and I often wonder if the day will come when a dive shop doesn’t have something for me. Trust me when I say, it’s not a fun feeling.
When I travel, I tend to dive in warm water destinations where I can usually get away with a rash guard and leggings, so there isn’t as much stress. But, living in Canada means colder waters that I do want to explore, and having a wetsuit is necessary so I chose a thicker suit that would allow me dive more around home.
There are several thickness choices available but I chose to go with 5mm. I also had the options to then add a hood, and/or ankle and wrist zips. I chose to add the ankle zips.
The next step was choosing the material. I had three choices: Flex, Deep, and Yamamoto. I read the descriptions for each but was still unsure of what would be best, so I asked for some help. My 7till8 contact asked me a few questions about my dive style and plans, and then suggested Yamamoto; a Japanese neoprene made from 100% limestone. It’s lightweight, warm, and one of the most durable materials on the market. It sounded perfect for me as a traveler and as someone who tends to get cold quickly. Plus, my contact told me that the Yamamoto material is super soft and comfortable. Who am I to say no to that?
I went with a basic, black wetsuit. However, custom options including colored neoprene and adding logos may be available upon request. If this is of interest, get in touch with one of the helpful staff members to discuss options.
Surf vs. Dive
7till8 offers different custom wetsuit options for surfers and divers. For the surf wetsuit, you can choose between a back zipper and chest zipper. The chest zip helps keep you warm while you duck dive. If you’re a scuba diver, the back zip entry is best. Scuba divers also have the option of choosing a type of compression-resistant neoprene specifically crafted for deep diving. Since scuba diving is my primary sport, the dive style was an obvious choice for me.
Ordering a Custom Wetsuit Online
The idea of being able to order a custom suit fit specifically for my body was enticing, but I’ll admit I was nervous. I’ve had clothes tailor made for me before (a must when in Vietnam!) and I know from experience that the initial measurement is just that- an initial measurement. I went back multiple times for adjustments before everything was ready to go. With that on my mind, I worried about how ‘perfect’ a fit this wetsuit would be.
To start the process for my custom wetsuit, I was asked to upload three photos of myself: facing forward, facing backward, and facing sideways. I wore leggings and a tight-fitting tank top for this so my body shape was as obvious as possible.
The next step is to take measurements (you will need a buddy to help you out!). There are separate measurements for men and women, so make sure you click the proper guide. A helpful video showing a model being measured will play for each part of your body, making it easy to know exactly where to measure.
When I was finished my measurements were uploaded and stored in an easy to read chart. I double checked, and submitted my order. About three weeks later, my custom wetsuit came to my door.
Note that when you order something online, you may be charged for import fees. In Canada, I paid $140 on top of the price of the wetsuit – so it’s something to consider when looking at the overall budget of your wetsuit.
Unwrapping my box, I was surprised at how soft and light the Yamamoto neoprene really was. But as much as I liked the feel of it, the real question was: would it actually fit.
It did. And it didn’t just ‘fit’, it fit me beautifully.
Until this point, I didn’t know that putting on wetsuits could be anything other than painful and awkward. Granted, it’s not as easy as putting on jeans and a t-shirt, but it wasn’t a battle. There was no awkward hopping required, no yanking, and no sore or bloody fingers. It took some tugging and adjusting, but my custom wetsuit went on painlessly. I was amazed. Granted, the arm length is a bit too long (apparently I’m not a pro measurer) but compared to the too-big arms, bulky shoulders, and super lower crotch I’d been used to, this fit was pretty perfect.
Better yet? It is actually sort of flattering. As a curvy girl, swimwear and wetsuits aren’t really my favorite attire, especially ill fitted wetsuits. But my custom wetsuit hugged my body and even sucked me in a bit. I felt good in it and confident; something I have never been able to say about wearing a wetsuit before. Which, again, surprised me in a really good way.
So Do You Recommend It?
Absolutely! Going custom may be a pricier option but the benefits far outweigh the cost. The fact that I won’t have to deal with the awkward and sometimes humiliating experience of trying to find one at a dive shop that fits, is an enormous relief. Not to mention that having a custom wetsuit to fit my body means its doing its job and keeping the water out meaning warmer, longer, and better dives for me.
My experience in ordering a 7till8 custom wetsuit was easy, friendly, and professional. It’s clear that they take pride in creating custom wetsuits of good quality that are made to perform and last. I would recommend a custom wetsuit from 7till8 for everyone, but especially for the women like me who are tired of struggling to find a wetsuit to fir their body type; whether it be curvy, short, or tall. It’s a huge relief to know that there is finally a brand in the women’s wetsuit market that offers a quality option for women of all shapes and sizes.