LOOK AFTER YOUR WETSUIT
Getting the most out of a very expensive peice of kit.
Wetsuits these days are expensive, very expensive, so it is worth looking after such an investment.
A decent winter wetsuit will cost anywhere between £200 and £550, depending on the model and brand.
Looking after a suit properly will keep it in good condition and help it to last longer.
Here are our top tips for getting the most out of a wetsuit. Buy a correctly fitting wetsuit. This sounds obvious, but a suit with the right fit will not only keep your warmer, but if it's too tight, extra stress on the seams will make it fail sooner. Different brands make wetsuits for different shapes, although some brands have a massive range of sizes. Do some research, read reviews to find out which brand and size is best for your body shape.
Put it out very carefully, stretching seams when getting in can damage them prematurely. Consider using a plastic bag to help feet and hands slide though with ease. (A heavy duty dog poo bag is great).
Use a changing mat or something to protect your wetsuit from the ground. Gravel, mud, sand, will not make it very comfy and damage the material.
Follow the manufacturers care guidelines. Although wetsuit makers want to sell more suits, they also don't want a bad reputation or loads of returns.
Like putting on your wetsuit with care, give it the same very careful treatment when taking it off. Avoid over stretching any seams. After a long cold surf it is tempting to rip it off as fast as possible, to get into those warm clothes. Decent changing robes are expensive, but putting one on and staying warm while changing will definitley help you resist wrenching your self out and potentially damaging your suit.
WASH YOUR WETSUIT. Salt water is damaging for wetsuit material and glues. Give a long soak in a bucket of fresh water, a good half hour or longer. Swill it through a few times during this time. Consider using a wetsuit shampoo every once in a while, to condition the material and get rid of unpleasant smells, caused by bacteria which will also damage your suit. Splosh is our favourite. We have used it in the surf school for years.
Use a decent hanger that doesn't put stress on your wetsuit while drying. Westuits are very heavy when wet. There are specialist hangers designed to look after suits while drying, generally wide and supportive. Drape your suit around the waist over the bottom of a hanger.
Allow it to dry naturally, out of direct sunlight. UV rays will seriously damaged the material and shorten your westuits lifespan. Never ever use direct heat, like a tumble drier, hair drier or over a hot radiator to speed up drying. Direct heat will damge the glues and material.
Repair any damage promptly. Consider sending it away to be fixed professionally, if you are not confident. Repair companies are very reasonable. We use Technepro to fix our school suits. Store your wetsuit laid out flat, in cool dry place away from rodents. They love
View our post about 'Winter surfing guide'.