For Kevin Murphy and all others looking to surf twice in a day without putting on a wet wetsuit..
Putting on a wetsuit is not easy at first. After investing substantial money into your new suit, you want to take good care of it. Besides being relatively gentle, there’s one secret that allows you to get in quickly and make your suit last a long time.
Putting a Wetsuit On (the EASY way)
Ask any surfer, and the hardest part about putting a wetsuit on is getting your feet through the legs. The easiest solution is to put a plastic bag on your foot before sliding it through the leg. Grocery bags work the best, but any small plastic bag will do. Once you slip your foot through with ease, just pull the bag off your foot and repeat with the other leg. Not many people know this secret, but once you try it, you’ll never go back! It works especially well when your wetsuit is wet and sticky.
The best part about this trick is that it puts less stress on the seams, making your expensive wetsuit last longer!
Hanging it Up to Dry
In order to prolong the life of your wetsuit, it’s best to rinse it with fresh water after each session. When you hang it up to dry, make sure it’s out of direct sunlight. Instead of hanging it by the shoulders with a standard hanger like you would a jacket, the best method is to put the wetsuit through the hanger and hang it by the waist, folded in half. Not only does this make it dry faster, but it puts less stress on the seams. Shoulder seams are usually the first to wear out (they are the most used when you paddle), so hanging a heavy soaking wet suit on those already stressed seams is just asking for trouble.
Nothing is worse than having to put on a wet wetsuit when it’s cold out. It feels horrible and starts your session off cold, which doesn’t help your surfing or your comfort. While there is no perfect way to dry a wetsuit quickly, some methods are far worse than others. For example, you should never put your wetsuit in the dryer, under any circumstances. Reason being, you don’t want to apply any heat to the wetsuit because it accelerates the breakdown of glues and laminates within the suit, shortening the life of your wetsuit. This means hairdryers are out of the question as well.
Some surfers leave their wetsuits in the sun or on hot asphalt in order to achieve the same warming effect as a dryer would. Any drying method that involves heating the wetsuit up is strongly discouraged.
So now you might ask, “How in the world can I dry my suit off quickly?” All you need is a beach towel (the bigger, the better). First, spread the towel out flat on the ground and lay the wetsuit on top of the towel. Fold any excess towel on the sides over the wetsuit. Starting at the neck, you want to roll the towel and wetsuit up like you would a sleeping bag, but as tight as possible. As you make progress rolling it up, it helps to squash the moisture out with your knees by bouncing on the roll. The goal is to smash the wetsuit-towel-roll as much as possible, so the water seeps out of the suit and gets absorbed by the towel. (Imagine rolling up an inflatable camping mattress, where you’re compressing it along the way to get all of the air out. Same concept)
This method works extremely well when the wetsuit is moderately wet or soaked. It will leave the suit slightly damp, but it’s a heck of a lot better than sopping wet! The secret is to use this method before hanging it up. If you know there won’t be much time for the suit to hang dry, it essentially jump starts the drying process by about 80%.
Disclaimer: It is possible to damage the wetsuit using this method if you are reckless. Keep in mind that wetsuits are relatively fragile and should be handled with care. The way to maximize the life of your wetsuit is to rinse and hang dry (by the waist, of course). This method is for “emergencies” only and is not recommended for everyday use.