9 Essential Tips for Prolonging Your Wetsuit’s Life

Croyde Surfing

Taking care of your wetsuit is a fundamental aspect of surfing, particularly in the challenging waters of North Devon.

This region is renowned for its dynamic surf spots, which inevitably put your gear to the test.

Ensuring that your wetsuit is in peak condition can make all the difference between an exhilarating ride on the waves and an uncomfortable, even risky, experience.

In this guide, we will delve into the art of wetsuit maintenance, providing 9 essential tips that can dramatically extend the life of your wetsuit.

Whether you’re a seasoned North Devon surfer or a newcomer to the thrilling sport, these guidelines will help you protect your wetsuit and make the most of every surf session.

1. Use a Wetsuit Changing Mat

Protect your wetsuit from asphalt, mud, or other rough surfaces by using a wetsuit changing mat while putting it on or taking it off.

This simple accessory provides a barrier between your wetsuit and the ground, minimizing potential damage.

2. Remove Sharp Accessories

Rings watches, and other jewellery can scrape and damage the inside of your wetsuit.

Take them off before changing into or out of your wetsuit and put them back on afterwards if necessary.

3. Be Gentle with Zippers

Forcing a wetsuit zipper can damage it.

Always pull the zipper in the direction you want it to go without applying too much pressure.

4. Don’t Scrub Off Wax

Surfboard wax may stick to your wetsuit when surfing. Instead of scrubbing it off and causing further damage, simply leave it in place.

The next time you apply fresh wax to your board, any old wax on your suit will adhere to the new layer.

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5. Try Wetsuit Shampoo

Wetting agents like O’Neill’s Wetsuit Shampoo & Conditioner or Dirtbusters Coco Loco Cleaner & Deodoriser not only help clean your wetsuit but also prolong its life by conditioning the neoprene.

Add some wetsuit shampoo to the rinse water after each session for optimal results.

6. Avoid Direct Sunlight

When drying your wetsuit, keep it out of direct sunlight, as UV rays can accelerate wear and tear on the material.

If you must dry it outside, turn it inside out to minimize exposure.

7. Dry Wetsuits Inside Out

Drying your wetsuit inside out helps maintain its flexibility and speeds up the drying process.

It will also reduce odour build-up by allowing air to circulate more freely inside the suit.

8. Fold at the Waist

When hanging your wetsuit to dry, fold it at the waist to distribute weight evenly and help prevent stretching along the shoulders.

A specially designed wetsuit hanger can hold gloves, boots, and hoods as well for efficient drying of all your gear.

9. Proper Storage

Store your wetsuit on a wide, heavy-duty hanger in a cool, dark place like a wardrobe. Never fold it or leave it in direct sunlight or extreme heat.

This will help avoid any creases developing on the neoprene material or damaging the suit’s integrity.

10. Keep Machines Out

And finally, a 10th.

Never put your wetsuit in a washing machine or tumble dryer; its high temperatures can shrink neoprene or damage stitching and glue seams.

Likewise, never use an iron to take out any wrinkles—just hang it properly to avoid creases in the first place.

Surfing at Croyde Bay
Surfing at Croyde Bay

Want to learn more about surfboards have changed over the years? See our recent From Past to Present: How the Surfboard Has Evolved guide.

In Summary…

In conclusion, your wetsuit is a vital companion in your surfing journey, especially in the exhilarating waters of North Devon.

Taking the time to meticulously care for it through these 9 or 10 essential tips will not only extend its lifespan but will ensure that you continue to ride the waves in comfort and safety.

  1. Using a wetsuit changing mat to shield it from rough surfaces.
  2. Removing sharp accessories to prevent inner damage.
  3. Being gentle with zippers to avoid any mishaps.
  4. Leaving surfboard wax in place to prevent further damage.
  5. Using a wetsuit shampoo to clean and condition the neoprene.
  6. Keeping your wetsuit out of direct sunlight to prevent wear and tear.
  7. Drying your wetsuit inside out to maintain flexibility and reduce odour.
  8. Folding your wetsuit at the waist while drying to prevent stretching.
  9. Storing your wetsuit properly in a cool, dark place.
  10. Keeping your wetsuit out of washing machines and tumble dryers to avoid shrinkage or damage.

Want to know more about surfing in North Devon?
See our Top Surfing Spots in North Devon: A Local’s Guide

By implementing these practices, you will ensure that your wetsuit remains a reliable partner as you explore the vibrant surf culture of North Devon.

Stay stoked and keep shredding those waves, knowing that your wetsuit is well-taken care of and ready for the next surf session.

Author Matt Ogborne
Matt Ogborne
About the Author

Welcome to Bideford.com! I’m Matt, a seasoned explorer and avid fan of Bideford and the broader North Devon area. With over a decade of consistent family visits, virtually every weekend, I’ve immersed myself in the rich history and vibrant culture Bideford & North Devon.

On this site, you’ll find a wealth of knowledge amassed from my adventures here. From in-depth local guides to engaging blog posts about Bideford. Whether you’re looking for recommendations on things to do or guidance on where to stay we have you covered. Join me as we delve into the heart of Bideford, North Devon – a town that’s more than just a destination, but an experience waiting to be discovered.

Do you want to see your favourite Bideford attraction, place to stay, event or activity listed here? Contact Us!