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How to repair a swimming wetsuit

If you own a swimming wetsuit, you’ll know that inherent fear you get as you go to put your wetsuit on.

The thought of damaging what will almost always be a swimmer’s most expensive piece of gear when simply getting in and out of it is terrifying.

Fingernails are the worst culprits, but toenails can do damage too, as will an overzealous yank of the zipper.

If you find yourself with one of the two most common swimming wetsuit repair needs: a nick/tear in the neoprene or a dislodged zipper, then you’ve got two choices (a third choice, “throwing it out” is only an option if it’s beyond repair!):

  1. Send your wetsuit to a professional wetsuit repairer to fix it, or
  2. Fix your wetsuit yourself at home.

1. Send your wetsuit to a professional wetsuit repairer

Wetsuit repairers are few and far between, they’re scarce enough in the main metro cities, so if you’re regional you’ll be scratching.

Your best bet is to Google “Wetsuit repair [name of town]”. Check the website, look for reviews and ring and ask about their service.

A lot of Dive shops seem to have wetsuit repairers or have a favoured supplier, so that’s always a good place to start.

2. Fix your wetsuit yourself at home

If you’re a little bit handy, then there’s every chance you’ll be able to fix your own wetsuit at home. Here are the two most common types of wetsuit repair, well within the ability of your average swimmer.

Minor neoprene nicks and tears

How it occurs

Fingernails dig in a tear the neoprene when pulling the wetsuit on.

What you won’t be able to fix

Large tears, or tears along seams (these can easily re-tear if not dealt with properly).

Equipment you’ll need

  • Quick-drying neoprene adhesive.
  • Tissue or rag.

Repair instructions

Open image gallery for steps.

Dislodged zipper

How it occurs

When the zipper isn’t zipping up or seems stuck, you pull hard and it pulls the zipper off the teeth.

What you won’t be able to fix

If you have lost a number of consecutive teeth in a row along the zip (torn off when zipper came off). Sometimes a single tooth will cause no issue, but if there are a number of lost teeth in a row it will give the zipper a gap to come off easily again once the zipper is back on.

Equipment you’ll need

  • Pliers/scissors
  • Needle
  • Thread (colour to match zip – normally black)

Repair instructions

Open image gallery for steps.

 

Andre Slade

Andre is the owner of OceanFit with over 20 years in the swimming education, lifeguarding and coastal safety industry.

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