Tiki co-founder Tim Heyland made his first surfboard in 1963, carved from wood on the beaches of Brazil. When Tim returned to the UK he joined forces with Dave Aldrich-Smith, setting up Tiki Surfboards in South Wales (some of the early collectors boards have the rare Abergavenny mark on them from this period), before re-locating to North Devon in 1968, briefly setting up shop in Barnstaple, before finally putting down roots in Braunton, where it is still based today.
Tim Heyland was a true pioneer with his upbringing taking him all around the world. A seeker of adventure, surfing offered him a new set of challenges. He was one of the first British surfers to take on the waves of Hawaii’s North Shore and his early ventures are full of stories and characters from the golden era of surfing.
Dave Aldrich-Smith’s route into surfing is a tale in itself too. Whilst working on a ranch in the mid-west America, Dave was drafted into the Vietnam War. Not wishing to fight for Uncle Sam in ’63, Dave took the first Greyhound bus to California, hired a board, and never looked back.
Landing in Hermosa beach again in ’69, Dave was under the wing of Nick Mirandon (brother of bear Miradon on whom the character ‘The Bear’ in the film Big Wednesday is based) and learned his craft around the shaping rooms of So Cal.
Setting up shop in the UK
When Tim and Dave returned to Britain they combined their expertise and knowledge and got to work. Without any surrounding industry to supply materials they made their own blanks and sourced their own fiberglass from builders merchants. With Dave's contacts in California, they were then able to secure licenses to produce the like of Bing, G&S and Weber surfboards in the UK. Before long they were selling boards as fast as they could make them, leading to the launch of Tiki Surfboards.
The neon wetsuit era
The heyday of modern surfing, boards got short and wetsuits went dayglo.
Tim and Dave quickly recognised that there must be an alternative to the thick and stiff diving wetsuits most surfers were wearing and they set about designing suits specifically for surfing. This wasn’t something that happened quickly though, as new materials had to be found and, in some cases, manufactured. With Tiki being Europe’s largest surfboard manufacturer, the word soon spread about these innovative new wetsuits.
Demand brought Tim and Dave to the realisation that even though they had given surfers an enormous advantage of warmth, comfort and flexibility, it was now time to spread these benefits to other water sports.
New materials were constantly tested for flexibility, comfort and durability for each sport. Tiki's focus on improving their wetsuits meant they were constantly evolving and they were soon held in the high regard around the world.
The brand continued to work on new ideas, with the belief in living life with no boundaries, whilst constantly exploring and innovating.
Each wetsuit design was tested by the Tiki International Team, a team of sponsored sportsmen and women from each water sport, giving feedback on the fit, action and durability.
Before going into production all suits must have passed stringent quality tests and the Tiki team members would return the suits back to Tiki in North Devon after being worn in all types of conditions around the globe.
The panels of the wetsuits were taken apart and examined, ensuring that the fit, stretch, bonding and stitching were all at the highest standard before being released to the public.
The 90’s range was an accumulation of the last 20 years of neoprene wetsuits, combining 90’s style with high performance suits.
Greg Norman joined the Team
In 2009 Greg Norman joined the the Tiki Team. A long boarder from Appledore, North Devon. Grey has done his fair share of travelling over the years, with the Maldives and California being some of his favourite places to surf. Click the button below to read more about Greg.
Andrew (Cotty) Cotton joined the Tiki Team
In 2010 Andrew (Cotty) Cotton joined the Tiki Team. Cotty is the UK’s best big wave surfer, as well as being a well respected member of the big wave surfing community around the world. He is the perfect rider to put wetsuits to ultimate test, wearing them in the some toughest of conditions. Click the button below to read more about Cotty.
2021 - Stuart Roberts, owner of Two Seasons, bought Tiki.
Tiki remains the UK’s leading home-grown surf company, with Tiki being one of the oldest, original surf companies in the world. Stuart is keen to keep the heritage of the brand at its core, whilst giving the brand a refresh, updating the shops look, expanding product ranges and building on its digital presence.