Monday, April 5, 2010

Getting In and Out of Your Wetsuit

Are you ready to try on your first wetsuit? Maybe you’d like to upgrade from a long john (sleeveless) to a full suit (one with sleeves)? Whether you’re trying on your first wetsuit in the shop or prolonging the life of your wetsuit by taking proper care of it, the process getting into and taking off a wetsuit is the most common time when it can be damaged. Knowing how to perform these processes properly and practicing them frequently will save you from frequent repairs or replacements and can also speed up your transition time.

Note: Sharp objects can penetrate the rubber of your performance wetsuit. Long fingernails and other sharp objects could make small cuts in the surface of your wetsuit if caution is not exercised. These small cuts are not covered under the manufacturer warranty and are the responsibility of the owner. When trying on a wetsuit, it is best to clip fingernails or be especially aware of your nails.

  1. Step into the wetsuit with the zipper facing behind you.
  2. Pull the legs of your wetsuit about 1-2 inches above your ankle
  3. Raise the wetsuit up to around your waist. Work the wetsuit rubber towards your crotch area until the air pockets have disappeared. For an ideal fit, the wetsuit should feel snug and tight around the waist and legs.
  4. Lift the wetsuit up around your arms or shoulders depending on the wetsuit model.
  5. For a full suit, pull the sleeves 1-2 inches above watch or wrist area. When pulling on the sleeves, pull the rubber between the elbow and the shoulder.
  6. To maximize range of motion and comfort in the water, it will be important to take your time fitting the arms. Point your arms to the sky and start working the wetsuit material towards your shoulder. The wetsuit fit is correct when there is no gap between the wetsuit and your arm pit. Excess rubber should reside about the shoulder. Repeat for both arms.
  7. Have a second person zip and secure the collar. Ask the person assisting you to be careful that the zipper does not catch in the protective back flap. Having another person secure the beck mechanisms will prolong the life of the rubber and help prevent your zipper from getting stuck in the closed position.
  8. The wetsuit should feel tight around your neck causing the wetsuit to move with the neck. If the neck moves freely inside of the wetsuit, readjust the collar. If you choose to use lubrication products, make sure it is a non-petroleum based product.
  9. A proper fitting wetsuit should feel almost uncomfortably tight out of the water. The suit will naturally expand and become more comfortable once in the water and in a proper swimming position.

The key to a quick transition is being relaxed and using controlled movements while removing the wetsuit. Extra force will only slow this process.
  1. Begin by releasing the Velcro closure on your collar. Take the opposite hand and slowly use the rip cord to pull down the wetsuit. Imagine that you are unzipping your wetsuit in slow motion. Fast, uncontrolled jerks will add time to this process and only slow your transition.
  2. Start to turn the wetsuit inside out. This entire process can be completed while you are exiting the water and finding your bike in transition. Your wetsuit should be rolled down and hanging off your waist by the time you reach your bike rack.
  3. When taking off the bottom portion of the wetsuit, remember to use your arms. Do not use opposite legs to take off the wetsuit. Standing on the wetsuit could cause pavement, sand or any other surface to puncture the wetsuit.
If you have questions about wetsuit fit, putting on or taking off your wetsuit, come by the shop and talk to our staff. We are happy to share with you any tricks of the trade we’ve learned!

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