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Old 11-23-2021, 08:03 PM   #1
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Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 61
Guide to custom wetsuits

This writeup is intended to serve as a guide to those who are interested in buying custom wetsuits (specifically from Elios). I recently bought a 7mm and 3mm. Choosing neoprene type and outer coating can be initially overwhelming given the numerous options provided.

Why custom: Are you tired of wetsuits that always seem to have some aspect that doesn't fit well? Do off-the-shelf wetsuits not fit you well in general? Are you diving often and deep enough that you're crushing a suit to nothing in less than a season? If so, then customs might be the way to go.

Process: For Elios, you email them some general requirements (type of diving e.g. spearing vs. line diving, depth, and water temp) and they send back a long list of wetsuit options to choose from. Each of these options will be characterized by an underlying open-cell neoprene of some thickness, possibly an outer fabric (nylon, lycra...), and possibly an inner coating or fabric. Differences between these options are discussed below. Their website may have other options listed, but the options they provide to you are the only ones guaranteed to be in stock at the time you order. Once you pick your neoprene option, you provide a list of your body measurements (they provide instructions on how to do this). After you submit your payment, they take anywhere from 1-2 months to finish and ship your suit.

Budget: Custom suits can be surprisingly reasonable, on-par with an off-the-shelf suit as far as cost. Expect to pay for the suit itself ($300-$600 depending on neoprene choice), shipping (~$100), and import duties (more on import duties below). Import duty should be 7.1% of the cost of suit(s)+shipping if that amount exceeds $800.

Shipping and Handling: I ended up having to pay for DHL express because I needed my suits in time for a trip ($215). I think I gave them a month between submitting my order and needing the delivery. Not sure what standard shipping would cost, likely much closer to $100. Because these packages are expensive, I'd highly recommend you elect to have your courier hold your package for you at a local office instead of delivering to your door. With Covid, even if a package requires a signature drivers can use no-contact delivery to get out of requiring a signature.

Import duties: You pay import duties on items if the value of the goods + shipping exceeds USD$800. Duties are charged on the combined cost of the goods and shipping. The courier service used (DHL, Fedex...) gets your goods through customs. In this process, your goods are assigned a duty based on their categorization in the "Harmonized Tariff Schedule" or HTS; the assignment is referenced by a number. The HTS number usually looks something like this: "HTS 6113.00.9065". Wetsuits with a fabric outside (lycra, nylon etc...) should fall under HTS 6113.00.9065 and be charged a duty of 7.1%. Couriers CAN AND WILL **** UP your HTS designation to get more money. Couriers bill you and require you to pay the duty before your package is delivered. If the wrong HTS designation is made, it's up to you to work with the courier's customer service to get the right HTS designation made. For future reference, smooth skin wetsuits may* fall under HTS 6113.00.10, for which a 3.8% duty is charged. DHL tried to get me to pay for my goods under HTS 6205.20.20.36, for which a 19.7% duty is charged!!!
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