A wetsuit can be a tricky piece of equipment. Our very own Stacey Kiefer on Team Zealios shares step-by-step how to put on a wetsuit and more importantly, how to quickly remove a wetsuit when racing. A few other wetsuit tips splashed throughout too! :)
Putting ON Your Wetsuit
Step 1: Before putting your wetsuit on, apply an anti-chafing cream (such as our all-natural anti-chafe cream, Betwixt) to areas where your wetsuit might get “stuck” on your body like your arms, wrists, calves and ankles or anywhere it might rub, like your neck. Put a generous amount of anti-chafe cream on. Trust us! It’s worth the time and chafing pain it will save you later.
Step 2: There is nothing fast about putting a wetsuit ON...take your time! If ya got a buddy, have them help! It takes a village, right?!
Now, open your wetsuit up and slide one leg in at a time. It is important to put both feet in and pull the wetsuit up nice and high above your ankles. You want to make sure you have room to make a comfortable fit and that means pulling the wetsuit up a little higher than you would expect.
Slowly pull the legs of the wetsuit up. Once the wetsuit is pulled up to your hips, you’ll want to make sure you have it pulled up in the crotch. Don’t worry about the ultimate wedgie, you can always make adjustments once it’s on. A wetsuit that is sagging in the leg area is not going to feel good and will most likely also not fit properly in the shoulder area.
Step 3: Continue to pull the wetsuit up. Once it is up to your arms, slide one arm in at a time pushing your hand out the arm hole. Try to hold the wetsuit in the shoulders and not at the neck. Adjust the sleeves so that they feel comfortable. You don’t want the sleeves to feel like they are pulling your arms down. This can be prevented by making sure the sleeves are pulled up nice and snug in your armpits.
Step 4: Now adjust the top of the wetsuit so that it feels comfortable. Either ask someone to help with the zipper, or if you can, pull it up yourself using the zipper leash. Fold the top flap over so that the velcro seals and tuck the leash into the velcro. Be sure the neck doesn’t feel too loose or too tight. If it does, adjust it so that it is a good fit. Be sure the velcro is not sticking up where it can rub on your neck.
Other wetsuit fit tips:
- If the neck of your wetsuit is too loose you’ll get water in your wetsuit while you’re swimming.
- If the neck is too tight you’ll feel like you are choking.
- If you have longer hair that sticks out of your swim cap make sure you tuck your hair in really well or it will get caught in the velcro and cause issues while you’re swimming.
Taking OFF Your Wetsuit
Step 1: Start working on getting your wetsuit off as soon as you are exiting the water. First start by removing your goggles from your eyes and putting them on your forehead. Then grab the velcro flap on the neck of your wetsuit and open it. Find your zipper leash and give it a good yank straight down the middle of your back (or pull up if you have a reverse zipper). Be sure to pull it ALL the way down.
Step 2: At this point you can grab the shoulder area of your wetsuit and give it a tough pull down your arm. Your wetsuit will come off in reverse. Be careful not to pull too much on the neck area of your wetsuit, this can cause your wetsuit to rip as this is a thinner area of the neoprene. Do the same thing with your opposite arm. It should be a quick movement. You can then pull the core part of the wetsuit down to your waist. You can take your cap and goggles off now as well.
Step 3: Once at your spot in transition (if you’re racing), take both hands on the core part of the wetsuit and wiggle the wetsuit down your hips while quickly pulling it down your legs. If you’re feeling wobbly you can sit down to pull the legs off. If you’re good standing, get the legs of the wetsuit down to your calves and just kick and stomp it off. Kick your first leg out then stand on the leg portion and kick your second leg out.
If your wetsuit gets stuck on your ankles just slide your fingers inside the wetsuit and pull it off. Remember, having some sort of lubricant on your legs and ankles will help with getting it off faster.
Step 4: After using a wetsuit rinse it with fresh water and hang it on a hanger inside out. Once it’s dry, turn it right side out so the outside can dry. Store it folded up in your house and out of direct sunlight. Do not store your wetsuit in your car. More wetsuit care tips from Surfer.com ‘Take Care of Your Wetsuit’
More helpful wetsuit tips:
- If your wetsuit does get a hole or a tear, don’t worry, it’s not time to buy a new wetsuit. You can easily repair your wetsuit by sewing the tear and reinforcing it with a neoprene fabric patch that can be carefully ironed into the inside of the wetsuit. Check out Triathlete.com ‘Wetsuit Repair: The Complete DIY Guide’
- If you are racing and want all the help to get out of our wetsuit faster, there are wetsuit strippers to help you get your wetsuit off. Use these if you just aren’t great at getting your wetsuit off, you have bad balance, or you’re doing a long race and need to save your energy. Ask ahead if there will be strippers at the swim finish to help with your wetsuit removal.
- Most importantly, if you plan on racing in your wetsuit, you’ll want to practice taking off your wetsuit to get comfortable and faster.