…and sometimes it’s not in the water. The weather was cold with patchy clouds, a breeze, and water temps in the low 60s. Michelle was feeling cold, and without a full wetsuit she would be uncomfortable. I suggested we shop for one so she could feel warmer in the water. If you are surfing in cold water, like in California most months out of the year, it’s important to have a good wetsuit. We hit the local surf outlet and right away we found a suit within her budget. I headed toward the dressing room figuring she was going to try it on. Nope, she said it would fit, and didn’t need to try it on there, she would try it on at home. Astonished, I advised her to try it on at the store because not all wetsuits fit the same. Unless you get a customized wetsuit, there are many styles and shapes on the market nowadays to purchase off the rack. And, if it didn’t fit right, she’d have to make a trip back to return it and that would be a waste of her time and energy. Finally, I coaxed her into the dressing room. I handed her the suit and demonstrated that the zipper goes in the back, how the velcro closures work and stepped outside of the dressing room. I waited patiently for her to slip it on, listening, I heard the pulling and tugging snap of wetsuit as she went through the motions of wriggling it on. I asked her if her arms and hands were in and stepped back inside the dressing room to help her with the back zipper. Finally it was on, the ordeal was over. Immediately, I noticed the gaps and looseness in the legs and the arms. It wasn’t a perfect sealing fit and explained that water will seep in through these gaps and not create a warm layer. I suggested trying on other styles and pulled several off the rack for her to give it another go around. This time it was a success! She tried on a suit that fit like a glove, snug around the ankles and wrists with no gaps, like a 2nd skin. It was flexible and within her budget too. She saw the difference immediately and I was happy to see she was satisfied. One last demonstration, how to grab the back zipper pull and zip it down. It’s all about baby steps, and a firm foundation for building and developing the skills for a better and safe surfing experience. Good for you Michelle!
Wetsuit care tips:
1. Take care in putting it on and taking it off. Cinch it on along the way starting from the ankles on up. When taking it off peel it off carefully. No extreme tugging or pulling.
2. Give a good rinse with water. Don’t use harsh detergents it will break down neoprene.
3. Let it dry out in the shade not in the sun. Do not put it in the dryer it will break down the neoprene.
4. Hang it carefully in half at the waist. Don’t hang by the shoulder or collar it will stretch out your suit and breakdown the neoprene.