When you receive your wetsuit, you want to take that sucker out of the box and try it on, right? Of course you do! First you want to ensure you are cool and dry. Take your time and use care when putting it on. Use the pads of your fingers to pull on the wetsuit – NEVER DIG YOUR NAILS INTO YOUR WETSUIT to get a better grip.
With more flexible rubber comes flexibility but also comes a chance for tearing. Again, take your time! You can put on socks or even plastic grocery bags on your feet to help slide the suit over your feet and up your legs. After you have the suit on your lower legs you can remove the bags from your feet. Pull the material up a little bit at a time while you move the suit up your legs. Some people prefer to pull up from the inside of the suit rather than holding on to the slicker outside surface of the wetsuit.
Work the legs up gradually over your thighs and hips, front and back, paying close attention behind your knees and hamstrings. Be sure to check that the legs are all the way up in the front and the back. It’s important to get the suit all the way up in your crotch area because the torso, sleeves and collar will feel restrictive if the crotch is too low. You want to use a steady firm force but don’t yank or pinch your suit when putting it on.
If your wetsuit has sleeves, fold the sleeve cuff back 3 inches and pull the sleeve up to 3 inches above your wrist bump. Pushing your arms through each arm sleeve one at a time and work them up to ensure the arm gussets are also high, fitting snug into your armpits to eliminate air pockets. You should be able to pull the front of the suit on the rest of the way at this point.
Flip the cuffs down into position. At this point you can pull the suit up in the front and the back to eliminate large folds in the stomach, low back, elbows and crotch. Position the internal zipper flap flat against your back and squeeze your shoulder blades together, throwing them back as far as possible while you reach around to grasp the zipper pull string. If you need help the first few times find a buddy to help with your zipper. You will still need to squeeze those shoulder blades together to aid in zipping it closed. Take the zipper and pull it directly up over your head to zip and the close the Velcro area at the back of the neck.
Now you can bend in half, hanging your arms forward to touch your toes and bend your upper torso side to side. This will also help move the rubber around on your body and ensure you have pulled it up as snug as you can in your crotch and armpit area.
At this point you can gently move the rubber around to fit your body better. It may not seem like there is much there to move but ½ an inch makes a huge difference in how it fits and feels. So…how do you know it’s the correct fit? First the suit should feel very snug, but not be restrictive. Can you move your arms up and around, simulating a swim stroke? If it feels loose or even comfortable out the water, your suit is likely too big.
Your suit should feel a bit too tight on you and uncomfortable when out of the water. Once you enter the water, the suit will allow water to fill the space between you and the suit. This space should be very minimal creating a natural lubricant of sorts and you will feel the suit “relax” a bit on you. The neck area is a common complaint among new wetsuit users.
Many feel like it’s “choking” them because it’s a snug fit against your neck. While this is a normal reaction, it’s one you just have to get used to. Women seem to notice this more than men. Perhaps men may be used to that same sensation when wearing dress shirts and ties.
Regardless, the neck area must be fitted to prevent water from rushing down the suit, creating drag and slowing you down. After a few uses, you will likely not even notice it anymore! If you can you should spend a few minutes in the suit walking around in it to get used to the sensation of having it tight on your body.
Remember, once it’s wet it will feel a bit less snug. If you have any concerns about the fit of your wetsuit, please pick up the phone and call us! We can determine if it’s just a matter of moving some of the material around or if the suit is in fact the wrong size. It’s worth repeating that fingernails, sharp objects and friction are the enemies of neoprene.
You can use products like Body Glide, Suit Juice and TriSlide around your neck and other areas if you are concerned about chafing. You may have heard you should use things like petroleum jelly, cooking spray, tanning oil or any kind of grease, oil or solvent, DON’T DO IT! It will cause irreparable damage. If you happen to accidently nail poke your suit, the fix is an easy one. A product called Seal Cement, made by McNett, will form a sealed bond on the tear that is as strong as it was before the nail poke.
Getting it off is a much simpler task. Pull the zipper string down to open the zipper fully. Pull the suit off each shoulder and remove each arm turning the suit inside-out as it comes off your wrists. Push the suit down toward your ankles and again pull your feet out turning the wetsuit inside-out. The suit should be completely inside-out when it’s off of you.