The Buying a Wetsuit guide by the team at bigsurfshop.com. Selection tips and also how to care for your wetsuit.
Buying a wetsuit needs careful consideration. Your wetsuit is your last line of defence against the cold, so to have it fitting correctly, and to maintain it correctly, is vital. Let our Pearse talk to you through it.
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Hi guys, it’s Pearse at Bigsurf. Looking for the perfect wetsuit? You’ve come to the right place, come on in!
1. Wetsuit Selection and Care
So when you come into the shop to get your wetsuit fitted, we go through a series of questions so that we select the correct wetsuit for your sport, your ability, and of course your budget. Wetsuits have different zip mechanisms such as zip free like this one. You can also have a chest zip or a zip straight up the back.
We check about fifteen different points across the entire length of the wetsuit to make sure that it is fitting you perfectly; Starting with the neckline, the tension across the shoulders, space in the chest, belly, back of the ribs, small of the back, hips and waist, as well as where the knee pads start and finish on your knees, excess material on the length of the arms and the length of the legs, and obviously where the wrist and the ankle finishes up.
So when you’ve worn your wetsuit a few times, some common feedback that we hear is that there’s a smell. Smells come from bacteria. Our skin excretes oils and sweats. Those conditions are perfect for bacteria to thrive in. Everybody sweats, everybody is in the same situation. Also, we all know the short term gain from peeing in your wetsuit. Yeah, it’s warm for two or three minutes but after that, it’s gone. Urine is not good for your wetsuit and it leaves a funky smell in it, so you don’t want to be doing that too much. Our main tip : wash your wetsuit!
So after using your wetsuit, a very simple process of submerging your wetsuit in a bath of cold water or using a garden hose to flush it inside out is the simplest, easiest way. Some other tips on caring for your wetsuit…don’t bleach it, don’t iron it, don’t shampoo it and don’t put it into the washing machine!
So after washing your wetsuit, the drying process is fairly straight forward. We would recommend a wide armed hanger or one of the new modern style slide hangers which suspends your wetsuit from the waist. Hang your wetsuit inside out. That way the inside of your wetsuit is dry for your afternoon session, and the inside of the suit generally dries quickly. Also keep your wetsuit out of direct sunlight as the UV rays will damage the neoprene.
5. Inspecting Your Wetsuit
Something else we recommend is inspecting your wetsuit after every use. Small little nicks and tares are easily picked up during your session. A small tube of wetsuit glue is an easy way to keep on top of those nicks and tares and will prolong the life of your wetsuit. Surfwax…it’s on your board, it goes on your chest. It’s no big deal, it’ll come off eventually and it doesn’t do any damage to your wetsuit. If anything, it shows your mates that you’re getting more time in the water than them.
Wetsuits are also damaged by the process of getting into and out of them, believe it or not. The obvious one is pulling on the wetsuit too hard, but jewellery and sharp nails are also a really easy way to nick and damage your wetsuit. When changing in and out of your wetsuit it’s worth changing on a smooth, clean surface such as the back of your surf van, on grass, clean concrete or on a change mat which are readily available in our shop.
Something else we don’t recommend is lending your wetsuit to your friends or your mates. This is for two reasons : they’re a different size to you and your wetsuit was sized for you, so they could stretch it in the wrong direction. There is also a potential for bacteria to mix resulting in potential allergic reactions or rashes. And also, no one wants to be swimming in someone else’s wee wee!!
A common complaint from wearing wetsuits is a rash or a wetsuit ire or wetsuit chaffing that you can get. It happens in all the common movement areas of the body such as the neck, the underarms, the crotch or the backs of the knees. The easiest wat to resolve that is to use a lubricant gel or to wear a rashvest.
9. What To Wear Underneath
The most comfortable way to wear your wetsuit is with nothing on underneath it at all. Unless during the colder winter months, you want to add in an additional thermal layer. You can also wear a rashvest which will make the process of getting the wetsuit on and off much easier. The other situation where we would suggest wearing something underneath is if you’re renting a wetsuit or you’re changing in a public place. That can be got around by using a changing robe. These are really good for preserving modesty, they dry you quickly and they’re comfortable. These are also in our shop.
So there are our top tips on how to care for and look after you wetsuit. Don’t forget to visit our social media channels and website and for one to one consultation, join us in the shop and we’ll get you all geared up.