I started sea kayaking in 2000; shortly after moving to Victoria BC. I am most at home out in nature, and on the west coast kayaking seemed like the perfect way to enjoy being outdoors. I loved it instantly. On the ocean in a kayak is about as close to feeling a part of nature as it’s possible.
I started out wearing a farmer John wetsuit. Then I added a semi dry top and dry pants. I love to get out all year, and even on a windy day, so it was important for me to develop my bracing and rolling skills. The higher your skill level, the more fun it is really. I got cold a lot while practicing bracing and rolling. I liked to be out in the ocean every chance I got, and had no desire to go into a pool to practice rolling, so I learned what cold and miserable feels like. I bought a dry suit and a diving hood, and to my surprise I still got cold. And when I was out paddling in the dry suit, the neck gasket was uncomfortable to me. I like to be well protected from the cold, and I like to be comfortable. I thought there had to be a better way. I wanted something to keep me comfortable while paddling, but that would also keep me protected if I want to stop to practice a few rolls. So I designed my own dry suit, with a water proof hood that sealed on the face, instead of the neck gasket. That was a huge improvement for me. My skills improved dramatically since getting immersed in the cold water was no longer something to fear. It was fun actually. I wore that dry suit for many years, until I decided to make a tuilik, just to see what it was like. I never wore the dry suit again. The extra mobility, and the absence of anything tightening around my torso. So much more comfortable. And a lot less water got in the kayak. So I made another, and another, each time improving the design. Some of my friends were interested in having one also, and from there I just continued making it for those who are really interested in developing their skills and staying comfortable in all paddling conditions. If you love being out there you will love it even more when you are comfortable.