How Long Do Wetsuits Last?
How Long Should a Wetsuit Last?
Maybe you just bought a wetsuit or are debating on buying one and want to know, how long do wetsuits last? Just like the tide, wetsuits come and go. They can certainly be an investment, and when well-taken care of, they can last you a long time, years even! But if not tended to properly, or, if you use your wetsuit daily, it may not last very long. You may just get one season out of the wetsuit.
Read on to find out how long a wetsuit lasts and what you can do to help make it last!
The length of your wetsuit’s life can depend on the watersport it is being used for, as well as how often you are using your wetsuit. Of course, the maintenance and care affect the life of your wetsuit, but we’ll touch on that shortly. If you’re a surfer who likes to hit the waves almost every day, you’ll want a surfing wetsuit that was built to perform. Meaning it will have an anatomical cut, a lot of stretch and the proper seam type for water temperatures. High-end wetsuits are perfect for the surfer who wants a lightweight suit that’s super stretchy. Stretchy wetsuits are a necessity for regular surfers. High-end wetsuits are less durable because of how stretchy and soft the material is. Therefore, their life span will generally not be years. This is typically a welcomed trade-off. Comfort in the water should be your top priority when shopping for a wetsuit.
If you’re planning on hitting the water a few times a year, an entry level wetsuit will last you many seasons due to the more durable, standard stretch neoprene. Entry level wetsuits will offer fewer performance features such as super stretch material and sealed seams. Picking which suit will last you longer for a watersport like surfing just comes down to whether you value longevity vs. comfort and performance.
Paddle & Kayak
This also goes for paddlers and kayakers. If you are a frequent user, investing in stretchy, quality pieces is the best method. But if you only hit the water occasionally, a budget-friendly, standard stretch paddle wetsuit will do the job. A great thing to look for is wetsuits with reinforced areas like in the bottom and knees. This will help your suit last longer in areas of high wear.
Like surfing wetsuits, diving wetsuits can also get some use and abuse. The neoprene used for dive suits differs from general purpose wetsuits as it’s made of compression-resistant neoprene. This typically results in more durable neoprene. However, just like with surfing suits, the stretchier the neoprene, the more prone it will be to wear and tear. If you only dive a couple of times a year, you may want to consider buying a budget-friendly suit, because if neoprene sits for years it can become less elastic and stretchy. If you dive a lot, the more you will enjoy a soft and stretchy suit and you’ll get your money’s worth out of it.
Triathlon & Swimming (Water Aerobics, Lap Swimming, Etc.)
Triathlon or swimming wetsuits can really take a beating. For triathlons, you’re often rushing to get in and out of the suits, stepping on them, throwing them on things, you name it. Additionally, these types of suits are often used in chlorinated pool water which is a serious foe of neoprene. Also, triathlon wetsuits are completely made of a smoothskin material, and that can equal fingernail tears if you’re not careful pulling it on or taking it off. Tears in the smoothskin area on surfing wetsuits can happen, but, triathlon suits are susceptible to tears because they are extra stretchy and soft, and you are usually rushing to get in and out of them during a race.
Like most things, it comes down to how well you take care of your wetsuit, and how much it’s exposed to chlorine. Which leads to…
Care & Maintenance
One of the best ways to prevent tears is to wear gloves when getting in or out of the wetsuit. But if you get small fingernail tears, you can also repair tears yourself. Another way to ensure your wetsuit lasts a long time is by properly caring for your wetsuit. After each session your wetsuit is used, it is HIGHLY recommended that you rinse the suit in fresh water and air dry it (out of direct sunlight). DO NOT USE A WASHING MACHINE OR DRYER. We also recommend using a wetsuit-specific shampoo which gently lifts away chlorine, sand, dirt and smells.
How long do wetsuits last? In short, the length of your wetsuit’s life can depend on the application, frequency, and care. Some wetsuits can last just a couple of seasons, while other suits can last you years. The better care you take of the wetsuit and the less damage/wear and tear it gets, the longer it lasts.