- 28 August 2014 | Surfing
Learn how to repair a wetsuit. Whether you're fixing a tear in the neoprene or in the rubber, make sure you're stitching it properly.
You can easily make your wetsuit last longer. Salted water, sun, pee and nails are the worst enemies of your favorite wetsuit. A regular surfer hitting the waves 100 times a year may be forced to replace his wetsuit every 24 months. You don't want that.
With time, stitches will lose their strength and open, but that doesn't mean you need to buy a brand new wetsuit. A proper sew and stitch job will extend the lifetime of your second skin. Make sure you're attacking those rips and tears immediately after detecting the problem.
The most common wetsuit tears occur in the neoprene and the rubber. For both cases, there are simple solutions. In the first case you'll need to re-attach the neoprene panels. You'll only need wetsuit cement, glue-on seam tape, floss and a needle.
Don't forget that stitching makes holes in the neoprene, therefore, there's more water circulating. That is why you'll need to sew a blind stitch in your wetsuit. Alternatively, consider the flat lock stitch and single needle stitch. A torn seam repair is quick and easy:
1. Apply glue to both edges and allow it to dry for 10 minutes.
2. Apply a second layer and allow it to cure for 2 minutes.
3. Lie the wetsuit on a flat surface and push the seam together evenly.
4. Sew a blind stitch with dental floss. It only penetrates about 25% in the depth of the neoprene.
5. Add a glue-on seam tape on the inside of the wetsuit.
6. Let it dry for 8 hours.
If you've damaged the rubber, get wetsuit cement, floss and a needle. Here's what you should do:
1. Apply the neoprene cement on both sides of the seam
2. Add the first coat and wait 5 minutes.
3. Add a second coat and wait 10 minutes.
4. Press both sides firmly together.
5. Get the floss in the needle.
6. Carefully sew the damaged area. Avoid tearing the rubber.
7. Apply one last neoprene cement layer over the sewn area for extra strength.
8. Let it dry for 8 hours.
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