How to find the perfect suit and make it last
The purpose of this article is to help you find the proper fitting wetsuit.
Most wetsuits are designed to trap the water inside your suit. So if it’s too big and baggy the warm water trapped in the suit will flush out and fresh cold water will enter. The goal is to have a suit that fits snug, but if the suit is too small, then comfort is compromised.
Finding the right size is actually easy if you know what to watch for.
If you spend a large amount of cash you can have a specialist measure every dimension of your body and build you a custom wetsuit. Although there is nothing wrong with having a custom suit made, I believe it’s totally unnecessary for most body shapes and sizes. Having a wetsuit with too long of a sleeve isn't an issue. Most wetsuit manufactures err on the side of being too long, so its normal for the legs and sleeves to be a bit scrunched up when you wear a wetsuit dry. The small wrinkles in the limbs don’t alter warmth or comfort. When you get in the water the suit tends to positions itself on your body.
When wearing a Full, or Spring suit the torso length is important. If the wetsuit is a bit long on you you’ll never notice it. But if it’s too short the suit will be uncomfortable and stiff, plus as soon as you zip your suit up you will feel uncomfortable. If the shoulders feel way tighter then the rest of the wetsuit, most likely you’ll need a different size.
The most important thing is that the wetsuit is comfortable and snug. Getting into and out of a wetsuit takes some practice.
Wearing Your Suit the Easy Way
One of the easiest ways to get into your wetsuit is to use a plastic grocery bag.
Just place the bag over your foot or hands, slip the suit on then pull the bag off. This is one of the best ways to wear your suit, especially if you want the seams to last.
Important Note - Avoid over stretching fabric and seams, when pulling the suit use your fingers like you’re pinching the suit. Avoid using your fingernails.
After Your Surf Session
You need to care for you suit or it won’t last. Rinse with fresh cool water after every use, Do Not use Hot water it will cause the neoprene to lose its flexibility. Hang Dry in the shade and not in direct sunlight, UV breaks down the neoprene and causes it to dry and age quicker.
The best way to hang dry is not by the shoulders like you would hang a jacket, but to place it through the hanger and let it hang folded in half. Not only does it dry faster, but it also places less stress on the shoulders.
If at all possible store in a cool dry place and not in your car, where the heat will cook and bake the stretching properties of the suit.
Fast Drying Techniques
I’m sure you’ll have friends that will give you all kinds of advice on how to speed dry your wetsuit. I found one of the best ways, and the safest way, to dry your suit up to 80% before hang drying it is to use your beach towel.
Spread your beach towel flat on the ground and lay the wetsuit on top. Then take the excess towel and fold it over the suit. Starting from the top, roll the towel and wetsuit up like a burrito. As you’re rolling, squash the moisture out with your knees by bouncing on the roll. Smash the towel as much as possible, it will absorb the water. Unroll the wetsuit burrito and hang dry, remembering to hang it through the hanger folded in half, for a faster dry time.
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