One of my favorite keywords to use in a search is odd and or weird news. I found an odd story on the Huffington Post about a duck that was fitted with booties. Yep booties. Seems the lady who requested the specialized item wanted her pet duck, named Duckie to feel comfy on the beach. Thus the order was placed. Yvonne Cruz and her team at Surf N Sea created a lovely pair of purple booties for the duck. Now this may sound odd but, there is a story here about the importance of getting a wetsuit that fits well. I guess you could say that the idea of a fitted wetsuit is not so quackers after all. I contacted Miss Cruz to ask some important questions about wetsuits, miss Cruz welcome to Candid Conversations.
Yvonne Cruz: Thanks for the interview Cliff.
Cliff T.: It must have seemed strange to you if not funny that a client would want a fitting for a duck, were you surprised at the request?
Yvonne Cruz: Over the years Surf ‘n Sea has had a lot of unusual requests; many dogs, one torpedo, covers for Cat Scan machines a camera *bellows, a tuxedo jacket for a groom who got married on a surfboard among others. We love challenges!
Cliff T.: A torpedo, cat scanner and camera bellows, you do love challenges.
Cliff T: Have you had any new requests to outfit animals with beach gear, or better yet with a wetsuit?
Yvonne Cruz: There has been nothing new since the duck but we did make eight dog wetsuits for the Natural Balance Float in the 2011 Rose Parade. The dogs wore the wetsuits while jumping off a dock into a pond on the float.
Cliff T.: Ok, outside of the funny in this story there is a serious side here. How important is it for people to get a wetsuit that fits well? And why is that important?
Yvonne Cruz: Fit in a wetsuit is critical. A wetsuit works because your body heat warms up the thin layer of water inside of the suit. If there is room for a lot of water, not only can’t your body heat it up, you will keep exchanging new cold water with your movements. The suit must fit snug to keep excess water out but not so snug that movement is restricted.
Cliff T.: Now you gave the duck purple booties, this may sound like an odd question is color important when getting a wetsuit and why?
Yvonne Cruz: The owner of the duck said Duckies’ favorite color is purple. Who am I to argue? Color is so subjective. Most surfers like black for wetsuits as dark colors absorb heat better. Some shy away from black as it is the color of seals – a favorite food of sharks. Many divers like camouflage so they disappear in kelp beds and fish do not see them, other divers, in open water, like the blues. We have dozens of colors to choose from.
Cliff T.: So what goes into making a great wetsuit and what should a person look for when they shop for one?
Yvonne Cruz: A quality suit will have the seams guaranteed for the life of the suit – ours are. The seams must be of a construction that does not leak – ours are. It will be made of the finest materials available and should fit very well. Again, ours are. It’s nice if you like the style and colors too!
Cliff T.: How long does it take you and the team at Surf N Sea to make the suit and do the fitting?
Yvonne Cruz: The fitting usually takes less than 20 minutes. Surf ‘n Sea suits are cut on a bevel and glued together using two coats of a special adhesive. A full length wetsuit can be made in a day including drying time – but just barely. However, usually there is a waiting line
Cliff T.: Is there a special way one needs to store and take care of a wetsuit?
Yvonne Cruz: First and very important is to rinse your suit inside and outside upon leaving the ocean, lake or pool. Hang it on a wide shoulder hanger until the exposed side is dry. Then turn so the other side dries. Do not, if possible, dry in the sun and do not store the suit in your garage if you park a car in it. Car emissions deteriorate the neoprene material.
Cliff T.: I am assuming that it is also better to have a custom suit but, if people want can they get one off the rack?
Yvonne Cruz: Many people do fine in rack suits. There are also some alterations we can do if the rack suit isn’t perfect.
Cliff T.: Miss Cruz, does Surf N Sea do wetsuits only or do you also have other products that you sell?
Yvonne Cruz: Surf ‘n Sea does focus on wetsuits but we have a few water sports related products. Wetsuit repairs and alterations are a big part of our business.
Cliff T.: It sounds like you guys had fun with the duck, do you try to have a bit a fun while educating a client on what makes or does not make a good suit?
Yvonne Cruz: Absolutely! We enjoy people!
Cliff T.: Well I have to say I enjoyed reading the story and learning a bit more about what you and your team do, thanks for being a part of Candid Conversations.
Yvonne Cruz: Cliff, you are a thoughtful and thorough interviewer. I thank you!
Yvonne Cruz helps clients with custom wetsuits, recently she and her team fitted a duck with booties. Surf N Sea has been been in the business of custom wetsuits since 1954 and is located in San Diego CA. I reached her at the store.
* click here to find out more about what a bellows is.