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How to Repair Your Wetsuit

It’s that classic moment when all the stars seemingly aligned for a surf trip your friends invited you to for the weekend; no work, no plans, no prior obligations.

And the discovery of a ripped wetsuit the night before.

Buried at the bottom of that one surf bin most likely in the corner of your garage that you haven’t checked since last winter – your beloved wetsuit can be found spread at the seams along the shoulders or knees, and if you’re lucky, with a slight urine stench lingering from desperate measures.

While some surfers have the self-control of not peeing in their wetsuits and the luxury of affording a new wetsuit at any inconvenience, just a single tear can make or break a wetsuit’s functionality and can be salvaged when one isn’t ready to give their wetsuit up just yet.

Here’s some things we’ve learned about repairing wetsuits.

Supplies Needed to Repair A Wetsuit

The main essentials for repairing a wetsuit (depending on it being a small rip or larger tear) include:

  • Neoprene strips/patches

  • Scissors

  • Iron

  • Alcohol

  • Heavy Object

  • Repair Adhesive or Neoprene Cement

How to Fix A Tear in Your Wetsuit

The best way to mend a tear in your wetsuit is using an adhesive made specifically for wetsuits.

Some of the best brands are Aquaseal, GEAR AID Neoprene Patch, Neoprene Queen, or Neoprene Contact Cement.

The best way to use these adhesives is when there is a fin slice or tear that isn’t too big and can be patched up with these liquid drying substances without affecting the shape of the wetsuit. 

For most of these you just follow the directions given, but you want to make sure your wetsuit is completely dry and cleaned with alcohol to rid of any dirt or sand.

How to Sew a Wetsuit Tear

Most holes and tears won’t require any sewing but in desperation, sewing can be an easy fix for larger holes. 

All you’ll need is wetsuit cement, dental floss and a sewing needle.

First, you'll apply the neoprene cement on the inside and outside of the suit along the seams.

Secondly, put the dental floss through the eye of the needle and tie a knot at the end and thread through the seam.

Sew the dental floss through the seam and finally apply another coat of neoprene cement over the floss and let dry overnight.

Wake up the next morning, grab your repaired wetty and go on that surf trip with your friends.

How to Stop Your Wetsuit From Leaking

If your wetsuit is leaking or letting in water every duck dive, it could be the best option to cut out a patch of another wetsuit or buy neoprene patches and iron on over the leaky spot. 

The best way to iron on a neoprene patch is to cut the neoprene patch to the size of the tear with a bit of overlayering, place shielding paper over the patch an iron on the patch, keep ironing until it is fully steamed onto the wetsuit and you should be set.

How to Prevent Damage to Your Wetsuit

Keeping your wetsuit clean and dry is essential to make it long lasting.

After a surf, make sure to rinse your wetsuit out with fresh water and hang it up on a thick hanger that can hold the weight.

To prevent any sun damage, hang it to dry in a cool, dry place in the shade. 

Hanging it by the shoulders can cause the shoulders to rip or loosen, so the best way is to fold it at the waist over the hanger.

It can also help to avoid wire or metal hangers that can cause rust stains or extra tension on the wetsuit.

The Bottom Line: Wetsuit Repair

While it may seem high maintenance to keep a wetsuit up to standard, it’s worth the work to keep it clean and in one piece.

If there comes a time when a seam breaks or there’s a tear, there are multiple options for a quick fix.

Hopefully this can get your squared away and back in the water for the remainder of winter!


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