The wetsuits that are used for kitesurfing are different from the wetsuits that are used for diving. Each wetsuit differs in flexibility and thickness. For example, when diving different parts of your body will come into contact with cold water when compared to stand-up paddling. For this reason, it is important to select a wetsuit that matches up to the activities that you plan to perform.
Your wetsuit needs to be snug, but at the same time not loose or tight. A wetsuit that is too small will not provide sufficient insulation, while a wetsuit that is too large will allow water to flow into the suit. Make sure that you take your measurements and then use the different size charts that match up to a brand of wetsuit that interests you. You should also take your height into consideration, as some of the brands come in S and T sizes. S stands for Short and T stands for Tall in combination with the standard, Small, Medium, Large, and Xtra-Large sizes. Once you have decided on a wetsuit, here is a brief overview of how to maintain and care for it.
Before You Put Your Wetsuit On
- You need to be careful when putting on a wetsuit. Pull your wetsuit on gently, and try not to snag it on jewelry or your fingernails. If you pull too hard, the seams can tear, especially around the area of the knees or your heel could rip through the ankle area. Rather take enough time to put your wetsuit on slowly, pulling it on bit by bit.
- It is also important to inspect the wetsuit for any tears or small holes. These will stretch even further when left unrepaired.
While Wearing Your Wetsuit
- Try not to wee in your wetsuit, as this will break-down the neoprene along with leaving behind a smell.
- If you are taking an extended rest, rather take the wetsuit off, and avoid lying in the sun with the wetsuit on.
- When you do take your wetsuit off and you are still at a beach, never take it off while you are on sand.
- When you remove your wetsuit, make sure all the sections are unzipped, and then gently pull the suit off.
- Soak your wetsuit in fresh warm water for around 20 minutes.
- Always dry the garment inside out.
- Hang your wetsuit on a thick hanger (cut a pool noodle to fit over a hanger) to dry. Avoid the thin hangers as they could cause damages to the neoprene. You can also drape your wetsuit over a washing line or thick rope when accessible.
- Do not use petroleum-based products, solvents, alcohol, or aerosols to clean your wetsuit.
- When your wetsuit starts to smell, wash it with either baby shampoo or wetsuit cleaner.
- Avoid using brushes or anything abrasive to wash it, rather rub the material against itself, paying particular attention to the smelly areas.
- When possible, store your wetsuit laying flat. Never fold it as this can cause damages to the neoprene.
- Store your wetsuit out of direct sunlight in a cool and dry place.
- Do not store your wetsuit close to solvents, oil, gasoline, chemicals, or in an area that is close to vehicles, as the exhaust fumes will cause the neoprene to deteriorate over time.
If your wetsuit requires a major repair, rather take it to a surf shop or school to have the garment professionally repaired. For small holes, you can use neoprene patches or special neoprene glue. To maintain the zippers on your wetsuit, apply beeswax.