As we all know, the wetsuit is a truly marvellous invention. It keeps us warm, it protects us from all manner of scrapes and stings, and it allows us to surf in previously inhospitable places all year round. And yet this modern-day wonder-garment does have a flaw, namely that whenever you try to put it on or take it off, it can seem determined to resist your every effort.
Top tips for getting into your wetsuit
Tactics and tricks are sometimes needed so we asked our followers and ambassadors for ideas. We were flooded with tips and so thought we’d share the best ones here. If you’ve got any more secrets, let us know!
Tip #1: Make sure it’s rinsed and dried
This is quite an obvious one, but worth pointing out to beginners because nothing is quite as demotivating as trying to wriggle into a cold damp wetsuit.
Tip #2: Use bags
Find another purpose for those nasty single-use plastic bags by slipping them over your hands and feet; this will make it considerably easier to get said limb-endings through the relevant openings. Socks work as well, but less smoothly.
Tip #3: Rubber gloves
Surfer and Wave follower Vickey Bridger puts rubber gloves on before pulling her wetsuit up. “Yes, I look like a twit,” she says, “but it stops me pinching my skin with the suit.”
Tip #4: Cover yourself in butter
Or other slippery substances. While Wave fan Nick Harris did claim to butter up, others used a variety of body-coverings, including talcum powder, coconut oil and Hawaiian Tropic suntan oil.
Tip #5: Work in pairs
Friendship is helping a mate into their suit. “If you’re starting out,” says champ surfer Sophie Hellyer, “don’t be scared to ask someone else to zip it up. When you’re learning you think you have to do it yourself.”
Tip#6: Use a wooden spoon
Works a treat when trying to get it off your shoulders, surfer Dickie Pugh tells us on Facebook.
Matt Sutherland, who used to hire out wetsuits, says you don’t really need any aids or tricks; the secret is to wriggle your shoulders as you’re putting it on.
Bending over forwards can help get the back zip going; simple but effective, Lee Peters tells us. On a similar note, Wave ambassador Easkey Britton suggests the only real solution might be taking up yoga.
Tip#9: Heat it up
Wetsuits are always more flexible if they’re warm, so some people wrap theirs around a full hot water bottle on the way to the beach. Others take bottles or flasks of hot water, and pour them over the suit just before putting it on or taking it off.
Tip #10: Make sure it’s on the right way round
Obviously longtime surfers are unlikely to make the mistake, but most of us remember the slight embarrassment of getting it wrong when we were starting out.
Pro-tip: most of them zip up at the back. You’re welcome.