Until you experience a tuilik you won't realize just how restrictive a "standard" tight neoprene skirt is. A tuilik is loose fitting, and seals at the cockpit rim, at your wrists, and around your face and jaw bones. The facial seal is more comfortable to many people than a neck seal, and the full hood keeps your neck and ears warm. Not only does the tuilik give you tremendous freedom of movement, but it eliminates the rubber-band effect of a neoprene skirt that resists your efforts to stretch your torso away from the cockpit.
For touring a neoprene tuilik can be much too hot in warm climates, but there are now Gore-Tex tuiliks available that have a much wider comfort range. For fair-weather use in the summer many Greenlanders use a short sprayskirt (akuilisaq or tuiitsoq) instead. The commercial versions of these garments are similar to a "standard" skirt, but are conical in shape and provide more freedom of movement.
The British Museum has compiled a wonderful virtual tour of modern kayaking clothing made and used by the kayaking clubs in Greenland today. The text includes very illuminating passages describing both the equipment and some of the emotions surrounding it.
A beautiful series of pages that includes kayaking gear (gut anoraks, seal skin jackets, mittens, whaling suit), a diagram of waterproof stitches and more. Also includes information on the principles, materials and the making of arctic clothing.
Chris Cunningham provides historical information about the tuilik and a review of the Brooks and Superior kayaks garments. For more information about the Brooks product, see the Brooks Greenland Page. In addition to their tuilik, Brooks also makes a neoprene avataq (inflatable bladder) that was used at the Year 2000 Greenland Championships.
Tom provides information on the tuilik, including illustrations of the Superior Kayak suit reviewed in Sea Kayaker (above). If you paddle traditional style and haven't tried a tuilik, then you don't know what you are missing. tuiliks provide much more freedom of motion than a short neoprene skirt for practicing rolls and braces.
John shares images of his method of making a neoprene tuilik.
Drawn by Shawn Baker for "do-it-yourselfers". This is a tuilik pattern based on diagrams by H.C. Petersen and Wolfgang Brinck. This pattern will enable you to make a great fitting garment using neoprene or other stretchy fabrics. Includes cutting lines and instructions to fit a wide range of adult sizes. The final product offers a fit similar to a commercial neoprene tuilik, but has a more traditional appearance, hood and seam details.
This small book is available only in Greenlandic but includes an excellent pattern for a tuilik and a diagram for three different blunt-tipped "practice" harpoons. The book opens with a drawing of a mother moving the arms of her baby to begin his kayak training and a balance board used to hone his balance. Also includes a short bit of information on sculling, rolling, and the rope gymnastics. Available online from Atuagkat and Neriusaaq Bookstore.