You’ve purchased your new wetsuit, and you’re raring to go, so the next hurdle is getting the wetsuit on. The uninitiated may anticipate it gliding on, like the second skin it’s portrayed to be, but the reality can be a little different, particularly at first. So, keep calm, take a deep breath and follow our tips…
Get your feet in first, then gently pull the wetsuit up your legs. It’s far more important for the wetsuit to fit you under the arms and in the crotch area than anywhere else, so don’t worry about trying to pull the ankles down to your ankle bone and the wrists to your wrist bone, just make sure it isn’t all baggy around the crotch area. The art is to get the wetsuit as far up your legs as possible before you start pulling it up your body.
Once your wetsuit is up to waist level, you can ease your arms in, one by one. Again, pull them up so that they fit under your arm pits, rather than down so that they reach your wrists.
Seal the deal
Once your arms and legs are in, you just need to zip up, which can be an art in itself. Don’t panic if you can’t do it, hopefully there will always be someone around to give you a hand. Learning to zip yourself in is definitely a skill you should aim for though, if you can! Reach behind you for your zip cord, and pull upwards. You may need to push your shoulder blades backwards to minimize your chest somewhat, but once it’s done up you should be able to relax into the fit and breathe out.
Useful to know
A wetsuit specific product such as Body Glide or TriSlide can help get your wetsuit on and importantly, off! Apply to your ankles and wrists. These lube products are also useful to prevent chafing – particularly on the back of your neck which can quickly become irritated with the breathing and sighting movements.
Don’t be too aggressive with your wetsuit – it’s pretty easy to snag the material with your nails and even tear it, so treat it like you would a pair of thick tights (and if you’ve never worn tights, then we’ll just have to ask you to imagine how gently you’d pull on a pair of tights!).
Carrier bags. Some people swear by them as a way to ease your hands and feet into your wetsuit. Now it may well help, but is it really a habit you want to get into, always needing carrier bags around when you want to put your wetsuit on?
Most importantly, remember that at some point everyone will have struggled to get a wetsuit on, so there’s no shame in it. Ask for help if you need it and don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself. Everyone has to start somewhere.