Take care of your wetsuit
In the end, the durability of your wetsuit mainly comes down to how you treat and take care of it. This greatly impacts how long your wetsuit will last. Don’t be a donkey and leave it in the back of your trunk all week getting all moldy and yeasty. Can you imagine the smell?
Peeing in your wetsuit
Unlike some surfers might think and say, peeing in your wetsuit doesn’t affect or deteriorate the rubber or seams. The only thing it does is make you feel warm during your sessions, which isn’t bad, but let’s be honest it is a bit nasty. Don’t worry, we’ve all done it at some point. Just make sure you clean it. Especially if you’re renting or lending a suit from someone or a surf school. Don’t be that surfer.
Washing, rinsing and cleaning your wetsuit
Therefore, it is always a good idea to thoroughly rinse your wetsuit right after your sessions with cold and fresh water. This will remove all of the sand, salt, sweat, oils from the skin, bacteria and possible urine. This will enhance the lifespan of your wetsuit tremendously. Just make sure you don’t use hot or warm water since it can heavily impact the glue and seams of your wetsuit. You can also add a bit of wetsuit shampoo when soaking your suit in a bucket. This helps remove odors, bacteria and other nasty stuff.
Hanging your wetsuit out to dry
Make sure you hang out your wetsuit to dry in a shaded area and never directly in the sun. Yes, hanging a wetsuit in the sun will make it dry faster, which is nice for a quick second session an hour from now, but it also dries out the rubber heavily which makes the gas bubbles in the neoprene rubber tear, ending up in a suit that will hold more water, isolates less, has less stretch and which might end up tearing sooner. You don’t want that.
Make sure your wetsuit is hanging inside out from the waist down instead of putting a coat hanger in the shoulder part of your wetsuit. This prevents unnecessary stress and eventual wear and tear on the shoulder panels and joints.
Once the inside is dry, turn it back out and repeat the steps. It’ll be dry before you can say: “Bob’s your uncle!”, especially with Mystic’s Fox Fleece and Flaremesh.
Storing your wetsuits
Now you’re ready for a second round, but if it so happens that you’re not going out there anytime soon it might be good to roll up your wetsuits to prevent creases, folds and dents in the neoprene. Even better would be to fully lay out your wetsuit and to store it in a dry dark place. If all aren’t possible, hang them by the waist on the inner horizontal part of a coat hanger, similarly how you would hang them to dry.
Surfers on bikes
If you’re a surfer who rides their bike to their local break while wearing their wetsuit, make sure to cover your bike seat with something like a colorless plastic bag to remove friction at the crotch, seams and inner legs. This will keep your private parts nice and toasty when you’re in the water without icy water flushing in at the seams.
Surfers in cars
If you have to drive a bit further to get your fix and you’re getting there by car, take your board out of its bag first before putting on your wetsuit. Make sure you put your board deck down in a safe spot around the car, in the dunes or somewhere else where nobody will run over your stick. The reason why is simple. Putting on a wetsuit sucks and you will struggle at first. Don’t worry, you’ll get better at it, but chances are that you’re going to stand on a leg part and trying to kick the suit on or off at some point. If you do this on gravel, pavement, rocks or shells you might end up damaging the outer lining, the rubber or other parts. Standing on a padded board bag will help reduce these odds.
Taking care of neoprene accessories
All of these principles also apply to boots, gloves and hoods. You don’t necessarily have to turn them inside out, since that’s quite the hassle. Just make sure they’re dried upside down before you store them. Otherwise, the smell will be worse than the forgotten lunch in your gym bag that has been there over the entire summer. Yuck.