1) Wash the wetsuit thoroughly in fresh water after each use, and soak it every so often for a few hours in water and softener (especially if double-lined).
2) Never lay the wetsuit out in the sun.
3) Put on and take off the wetsuit in the proper way.
It may seem impossible, but most divers either don’t know how to put their wetsuit on or they put it on incorrectly.
Here of course we are talking about zipless wetsuits: those with zips don’t have this problem (they have other problems – they’re not so warm and soft and the zips can break, maybe just when you’re on holiday).
It is widely believed that to put on the jacket of a zipless wetsuit you begin with the arms and then, in a single rotating movement, the head.
Nothing could be more mistaken or more harmful to the effective working life of a wetsuit.
This movement over-stretches the neck and underarm seams which come under an enormous stress. Especially in single-lined wetsuits, and even more in unlined, the gluing can come undone and in some cases actual tears result. Even with the toughest double-lined this movement causes widening of the stitching holes and consequent water infiltration. And in many cases the tears occurring with these articles are mostly irreparable.
Equally harmful is the method many use for taking off the jacket, pulling the beaver tail. This is another way of putting enormous stress on the wetsuit material and seams.
We shall try to describe below, with the aid of photos, the right way to put on and take off a wetsuit.
We are of course talking only about the jacket because everybody knows more or less how
to put on the tights.
PUT ON …
First you fold it as much as possible ( 1 )……
……then you slip your head in ( 2 ).
When the hood is in place, slip an arm in.( 3 ).
At this point, with the hand of the arm already inserted, take the wetsuit at the height of the opposite shoulder and widen it to slip the other arm in ( 4 ).
It is here that many find themselves in difficulty because they instinctively pull the wetsuit down so that it becomes impossible to slip even the hand in, and as a result almost everyone gives up and tries a different method .What you have to do however is to conquer your instinct and pull the wetsuit up ( 5 )…..
………so that it becomes very easy to slip your arm in. ( 6 )
Then you unroll the jacket down to the waist ( 7 ) …..
……..and there you are ( 8 ).
A blow at the cuffs ( 9 ) and the wetsuit will be completely as it should be.
PUT OFF …
The reverse operation, for taking it off, is equally simple if you carry out the right movements
You start be refolding the jacket to the chest ( 1A )…
….then pour water into the pocket thus formed ( 2A ).
If the wetsuit is lined you can omit this step, but it is indispensable with smooth exterior wetsuits (unless they are our Slide series in anti-friction neoprene).Then with one hand grasp the edge of the jacket as far back as possible ( 3A ) and pull forward……
……slipping the other arm inside the first up to the shoulder
With the aid of the shoulder raise the first hand and, grasping the edge of the jacket with both hands, pull upwards with a swift continuous movement ( 5A ).
With the aid of the “lubrication”, so to speak, of the water poured into the fold, the jacket can be taken off without any effort ( 6A )……….
…………and, a very important detail, without being damaged ( 7A ).
Of course when putting on or taking off single-lined or unlined wetsuits, fingernails are a highly inadvisable “weapon” because they may tear the neoprene.
So always use fingertips or the open palm of your hand.