11) Wetsuit Care and Warranties
You should! Taking good care of your wetsuit can help extend the life of your suit and keep it functioning and in the water longer. However, all the wear and tear of surfing in a wetsuit can eventually catch up and you may be left with a suit that needs some repairs. Today, wetsuit companies have dedicated warranty repair facilities that provide excellent repair services to make sure you’re back in your suit as soon as possible. In this section we’ll first look at how to best care for your suit and what to do if your suit becomes damaged.
How to Take Care of Your Wetsuit
Proper care of a wetsuit can make a huge difference in the lifespan of your suit and really only requires a few easy measures. These tips will leave you with a wetsuit that looks and feels better for longer. The biggest way you can make sure your suit stays clean and feeling fresh is to properly wash and dry it as soon as possible after each session. By following these three steps, you will maximize the life of your suit.
After each use, it’s important to wash your suit out thoroughly with cool or lukewarm water (hot water will actually dry out the neoprene, reducing the wetsuit’s flexibility). Taking your suit into the shower or spraying it down with a backyard hose after a session will help to wash off the salt water. Letting the suit dry while still covered in salt water is hard on the suit and unnecessarily ages the neoprene.
Prepare to Dry
Next, it’s important to properly prepare your suit to dry. Placing it inside out on a wetsuit-specific hanger is ideal. Using a normal clothes hanger will stretch out the shoulders of a wetsuit, as it’s especially heavy when wet. We recommend checking out the Hang Pro wetsuit hanger as it is thicker and hangs the suit without placing unnecessary stress on the shoulder.
Dry and Flip
Hang your wetsuit inside out and in the shade. Direct contact with the sun will age and fade the neoprene of your suit. By hanging it inside out first, it will be less damaged by UV rays and will make sure the inside of your suit will be dry the next time you put it on. After the inside of the suit has become dry to the touch, you should reverse it again and make sure the exterior of the suit is dried as well.
Here are a few more important care tips to remember…
Where you store your suit can have an effect on its lifespan. Leaving it bunched up in the trunk of your car, where temperatures can range from very hot to very cold depending on where you live, is not ideal. Trunks do a poor job of actually drying out the suit and you will most likely be left with a damp, smelly suit.
Don’t Use Your Fingernails
When taking off your wetsuit, be careful to avoid using the tips of your fingers or pulling too hard. Fingernails can damage your suit, especially areas like the chest which are commonly covered in smooth skin material. Pulling too hard also places unnecessary stress on the seams.
Wetsuits can start to smell, especially if they’re peed in or stored wet for extended periods of time. To get rid of the stink, there are several wetsuit shampoos and solutions out there. By placing your suit in a bucket or tub of warm water and adding a few small caps of wetsuit shampoo, you will more thoroughly clean your suit by destroying bacteria or oils that are causing the smell. After you have soaked it in the soapy water, simply rinse the suit off again with fresh water. If you clean your suit with wetsuit shampoo regularly you can be sure you’ll never have to put on a stinky wetsuit again.
All wetsuit companies today offer a warranty program to make sure you’re taken care of in the event that your suit becomes damaged. The timeline of each company’s warranty varies a little, but for the most part, every suit is covered for any manufacturer’s defects up to 1 year after purchase. This means that if your suit has any damages caused by the workmanship or any defect in material, they will either repair or replace your suit at no additional cost.
If your wetsuit is returned outside of the warranty period or has damages not caused by manufacturer’s defects (fin cuts, fingernail rips, cuts from rocks, etc.) you can still have your wetsuit repaired at a reasonable cost.
To send your suit in for warranty, make sure it’s first clean and thoroughly dry before putting it in the mail. Certain companies require proof of purchase or a warranty form to be submitted with the wetsuit, detailing the defect. Turnaround time varies between companies but generally will take somewhere between 2 and 4 weeks to repair.
At Home Repairs: If your suit is no longer covered by warranty, you can still perform many basic repairs effectively by yourself with some simple materials. Wetsuit cement is perfect for covering small holes or tears and Iron Mend can be used to reinforce areas that have become stretched thin or require more intensive repairs.
Overseas Warranties – Important Note: If you purchase a wetsuit and then travel or move to another country you will need to return it to the original country of purchase for warranty. This can be fairly expensive due to shipping costs.