4 Ways To Care For Your Wetsuit
Remember when you bought your first wetsuit? I’m guessing you were as shocked as most new triathletes are when they see the price tag… that plus all the other costs associated with the rest of the gear we need is exactly why it’s so important to properly care for your wetsuit.
One of the best ways to care for your triathlon wetsuit is to make sure you get one in the correct size. One that is too small not only will limit your movement but will also decrease the material’s life due to overstretching it, getting it on, and just wearing it.
Taking off and putting on requires special care. This is when we are pulling and tugging on it. We can easily rip it from pulling too hard or from fingernails cutting it.
Here are a few steps you can take to prevent damage when putting on and taking off your wetsuit:
- Lubricant on your body before putting on your wetsuit, use a type of lube like TriSlide or Glide. This even helps when it’s time to take it back off
- Wrap plastic grocery bags over your feet and hands before sliding them into the wetsuit. This helps your feet and hands slide more easily and prevents rips.
- Wear gloves while pulling it on, fold over a little flap, and use this to help pull. This helps reduce some strain at one point.
- Have someone help you to pull up the zipper.
After every use make sure to rinse or wash your wetsuit as soon as you can. Always use cold to warm water. Hot water can damage seals, stitching, and the air bubble technology of the neoprene. If you wash only use a mild soap or purchase something made just for washing wetsuits. It’s very important to rinse or wash the inside of your wetsuit also. Especially if it’s being used in saltwater. Saltwater can crystallize as it dries, reducing the neoprene stretch factor, and causing a rash.
After cleaning, let the wetsuit dry. Usually, it will dry faster inside out. Don’t leave it in the sun to dry or use any other means to speed up the drying process. UV rays can damage a wetsuit. Hang the wetsuit to dry but don’t use a traditional hanger. The weight of the wetsuit can cause it to pull in the shoulders stretching or ripping the wetsuit. Either fold in half and hang on a wetsuit hanger or fold in half and hang over a bar or drying rack. While drying it, it will drip so do this in a spot where that is not an issue.
When storing a wetsuit it’s best to either use a wetsuit-specific hanger where you fold the wetsuit in half and hang it over or simply fold it up and store it on a shelf. Don’t store in direct sunlight as UV light is damaging to the wetsuit. Also, don’t store it in a plastic bag just in case it contains hidden moisture that still needs to dry. You can store wetsuits in a breathable wetsuit storage bag also. Many wetsuits will come with one of these.
Stuart has competed in triathlons from Sprint to Ironman distance. As a qualified Triathlon Australia, Australian Athletics Run Coach, and a certified Ironman coach, he is aware of the importance of balancing training with lifestyle, thus complementing other important aspects of an athlete’s life (family, work, study commitments, etc.).
Contact Stuart at email@example.com
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