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how to care for your wetsuit

This page provides information to help you care for and prolong the life of your wetsuit.


After each use, the single most important thing you can do to preserve your wetsuit and keep it comfy is to rinse it out with fresh water. Don't let salt water fester and ferment in your suit. Salt is a corrosive that destroys neoprene faster than you can cough up your next paycheck. Salt water is, believe it or not, the arch enemy of neoprene. If you simply hose off the suit, or take it in the shower and give it a good rinse after each use, to flush out the evil salt demons, you'll do wonders to keep your trusty rubber functioning flawlessly. Tip for surf trips to remote areas where fresh water may not be readily available: Salt Water Wash.


Don't leave your suit crumbled up in a ball or folded. Creases will form and compromise the strength of the neoprene. Don't leave your suit hanging in direct sunlight for long periods of time when not in use. Remember, UV is your enemy when it comes to wetsuit preservation. Don't stretch in your suit, try to change your habit to do it before you put the suit on. Wetsuits, especially surfing suits, are designed to accommodate the normal range-of-motion movements for the sport you're participating in. In the newer, ultrastretch suits especially, while your normal pre-surfing warmup may be a short stretching routine, overstretching the rubber, especially at the base of the zipper or in the crotch area is the fastest way to break down either the rubber or the seams. Ultrastretch rubber is manufactured with a lot more air in the rubber than neoprenes of the past, making it intrinsically weak without the fabric finish, which is usually a nylon fabric which is laminated onto both sides of the rubber. Ultrastretch fabrics stretch farther than the rubber in some cases, so in stretching in your suit, you may be overstretching the rubber resulting in breaking down not only the fabric finish, but also the rubber inside. A good way to tell if you're overstretching your suit is if you notice the nylon delaminating or pulling away from the rubber itself, or if you notice the stitching on the seams is breaking. Overstretching the materials is frequently the culprit.

Don't hang wetsuits, especially those with the newer, more delicate ultrastretch rubber, on a hanger by the shoulders. The weight of the suit, especially when wet, will cause the shoulder area to break down faster. Hang suits over a hanger by the midsection.

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