Wetsuit Repair

author : Team BT
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Emergency wetsuit repair can save your race

Before signing up for a triathlon, there is so much that needs to be done. Besides the weeks of training and mental preparation, you need to make sure you’ve got all the necessary equipment ready. From the laces on your shoes to the tires on your bike, everything must be in order.

However, some pieces of triathlon equipment are easier to prepare than others — especially if you need to repair your wetsuit! Whether you have just purchased your first suit for your first triathlon or you have some experience patching yours up, repairing wetsuits can be a difficult task to take on, but one you are destined to master. All you need is the right tools and the right information.

Wetsuit Basics

Though it’s important to know how to repair a wetsuit, it is perhaps even more important to know how to properly care for them to prevent damage. Though wetsuits are designed to be tough, they can go through even tougher environments. Sun, heat, sand, improper hanging, and wear and tear can all cause damage to your suit.

Most wetsuits are made of neoprene, an artificial rubber material. This material allows wetsuits to be both foamy and water resistant at the same time. It also explains why heat is such a big problem for wetsuits, as it can cause melting, deformations, and other damage to your suit. For this reason, avoid leaving your wetsuit in a warm place, like the trunk of your car on a sunny day, and make sure to always dry it in the shade after washing.

Beginner Triathlete also recommends these tips for the proper care of your wetsuit:

  • Always wash by hand

  • Clean and dry wetsuit immediately after wearing

  • Dry your wetsuit inside out

  • Store on a wide hanger or fold it over once

  • Only wash with cleaners specifically made for wetsuits

  • Be careful of the lubricants you use, especially for zippers

Fixing Tears

Of course, even giving your wetsuit the utmost care and devotion can’t prevent damage forever. As a triathlete, you go through a lot with your suit, and eventually you will encounter some issues. Since wetsuits are expensive, it’s not practical to replace them every time something happens. Luckily, depending on the size and extent of the damage, you are likely able to fix any small tears yourself.

According to wetsuit specialist Lauren Belt, you can repair small tears in as little as five minutes and with only a couple supplies. Belt breaks down the process into five easy steps:

  1. Fold the cut open

  2. Apply a thin layer of the adhesive on both sides and wait a moment for the glue to “cure”

  3. Flatten out the wetsuit and press the two sides back together

  4. Pinch together for 1-3 minutes

  5. Let dry overnight

According to Belt, this technique can be applied to tears and holes up to half an inch, but any holes larger than that will require more extensive repair. For these, you will need to stitch on a small piece of neoprene. If you are looking for an inexpensive yet effective repair, you can use dental floss, which will actually last longer. The threading will cause some small holes in the neoprene, so once the stitching is done, add a few layers of adhesive over it to cover any leaks and let dry overnight.

When is it Time to Buy a New Suit

Though it’s possible to sustain your wetsuit for up to 10 years — sometimes more — depending on how often you use it and how well you take care of it, the time to get a new one will eventually come. If you start having problems fitting into your suit, or it simply doesn’t fit well anymore, it’s time for a new suit. Likewise, if you start having performance issues with your suit that aren’t getting fixed by your repairs, you may need a new one. However, depending on the age, quality, and cost of your wetsuit, it may be worth taking it in to get repaired professionally before getting a new one.

Whether you are trying to preserve your favorite wetsuit for a few more years or you want to keep a new wetsuit for as long as possible, it is important to care for your suit as best as you can. Though it is important to know how to properly repair your wetsuit, it’s better not to have to repair it in the first place!


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date: November 30, 2017

Team BT