5 Tips On How To Make Your Wetsuit Last LongerBy: Jake Haney
I always say ďThe only thing you can control in surfing is your equipment.Ē We all want perfect 4-6 foot Rincon with no one out but that isnít a reality! In case you havenít noticed, we canít control the swell size, swell direction, wind direction, web cams, and the amount of people in the water. With so much we canít control, it still amazes me how we all refuse to take control of what is actually possible to take control of! The second law of thermodynamics states in a nutshell, that all things will deteriorate over time. Your wetsuit seams will crack and spread, the neoprene will pull away from the jersey material, and it will most definitely stink! We cannot completely prevent those effects. We can, however, prolong those effects. Follow these 5 tips on how to keep your wetsuit to last longer and you and your wallet will appreciate the effort!
Tip #1. Always Rinse
We all have done it and if you havenít done it, then you need to try it! Taking a leak in your suit is great because it keeps you warm on those early winter surf session but that doesnít mean your wetsuit thinks itís great. Ocean water alone is dirty! Now combine that with your own bodily fluid and voila! You now have a recipe for stinky wetsuit delight. Neglecting your suit by not rinsing it out has been known to cause skin rashes also! Rinse that out! I am one to admit that rinsing my wetsuit after a surf session is about as fun as sitting in traffic, on the way to work, on Monday morning. Itís not fun but you got to do it. Salt water takes a toll on the neoprene and rubber on your wetsuits and causes the materials to break down, crack, and overtime, youíll notice your suit will let more water in. This will cause your core body temp to drop and consequently, itíll shorten your session. The best way to increase the life of your wetsuit is to rinse, rinse, rinse! Rinse out your suit with fresh water as soon as you get back from the beach. If youíre not going home within a couple hours of surfing, then rinse it off at the showers, or bring your own water to the beach and rinse it off in the parking lot.
Tip #2. Drying and Storage
Rinsing your suit off is only half the job. Now, you got to make sure the suit will dry. Hang it up in a cool and dry place to ensure that it is out of the sunís damaging UV rays but also in a well-ventilated area where the wetsuit will dry. The sunís powerful UV rays damage everything! A black wetsuit is an easy target for those UV rays to fade and diminish the integrity of your wetsuit. Store the suite in your garage or in a shaded area of your porch. If you have a beach bbq, then cover it up with a beach towel!
Tip #3. Don't Over-stretch!
A wetsuit can be tough to get on at first but once you get the hang of it, it shouldnít take more than a couple minutes. If it takes longer than this, itís because the wetsuit either doesnít fit right or youíre not putting it on correctly. Wetsuits have a fit that is custom to your height and weight. You should not have to force it on and off too much. Over-stretching causes stress on the seams and causes the panels to pull away from each other at those stress points. This allows more water into your wetsuit which then makes your core body temperature drop and defeats the purpose of the wetsuit.
Tip #4. Don't Use The Dryer
Do not throw your wetsuit into the dryer! Yes, it will dry your wetsuit fast but the heat will deteriorate the materials much quicker. I tried it in high school and the jersey pulled away from the neoprene (thus causing water to enter the wetsuit much quicker) and my mother was not stoked on the funky smell that lingered for days. Make the effort to do the job right. Be patient and just let the wetsuit dry on itsí own time.
Tip #5. Use Neoprene Shampoo
Using Neoprene wetsuit shampoo is a great preventable measure to take. I use it at least once every other month. This type of shampoo conditions and cleans your suit which gives it a fresh, new feel and smell. Think of it like waxing your car or leather cleaner/conditioner. You donít need to do it everyday but a little goes a long way. Now if youíre at the point where the suit stinks, the neoprene is tough and stiff, the rubber is cracking, and you donít have money to spend on a new wetsuit, then itís time to pull out the Neoprene Shampoo. This wetsuit conditioner wonít magically turn your neglected and abused suit into a brand new suit but it will certainly clean and condition it a little to get it back into commission. Itíll soften it up and eliminate those funky smells.
West Buyers Guide | 5 Tips On How To Make Your Wetsuit Last Longer