As an adamant lover of the ocean, the last thing you'll be wanting to do is throw it out, especially when they provide so many different upcycling solutions that you can utilise!
We've listed below some of our favourite alternatives uses for your old wetsuit; whether it's an O'Neill or Rip Curl wetsuit, it can still be upcycled or donated for repurposing!
First of all, how do you know when it's time to say goodbye to your suit?
A wetsuit's lifespan will depend on:
- The amount of care the suit has received throughout its use.
- The quality of the wetsuit's construction.
- How often the suit is used.
On average, you can expect a good quality suit to last between 4-10 years. However, this will depend on if the suit has been heavily used and how well it has been cared for.
A cheaper suit may only last for a season or two. You may quickly find that functional features such as the zipper start to play up.
When searching for a new suit, you'll often find that the prices fluctuate between beginner and advanced suits. This is because the quality and technology of the suit will be significantly different.
The difference between higher-quality suits and affordable ones generally involves features such as:
- High-contact areas
How to Take Care of a Wetsuit
The best way to get the most out of your suit is to look after it. A well-maintained suit will have a much longer lifespan.
Here are some ways you can look after your suit:
- Do not use your wetsuit in a chlorinated swimming pool.
- Thoroughly rinse your wetsuit after using it in saltwater.
- Transport and store your suit mindfully.
- Do not store your suit in sunlight.
- Patch your suit up as soon as you see tears or holes.
- Do not put your suit in the washing machine.
- Hang your wetsuit doubled-up, inside out in the shade.
How Do You Know When to Replace a Wetsuit?
The best thing you can do is check at the beginning and end of your surfing season whether your suit is in good condition. Ideally, you want to have a good idea of its condition as opposed to finding out about a gaping hole while in the water.
The problem is, it's all well and good keeping a close eye on the condition of your suit, but what should you look out for?
Signs that it's time to retire your wetsuit include:
- Your suit is no longer keeping you warm.
- Your suit is too big or too small.
- Accumulated salt crystals.
- The suit smells beyond belief.
It's worth noting that professionals may be able to repair your suit if the seams and stitches are torn, or the tears or holes are larger than a few inches. If the tears are around 1-2 inches long, you can easily repair these at home.
Should I Buy a Second-Hand Wetsuit?
If you're looking to rag a suit about in the sea, then buying second-hand could be a good choice. And if you have a good idea about wetsuit specs and know what to look for, a second-hand suit can sometimes make for a good purchase.
However, it's worth noting that neoprene does deteriorate and age over time, whether it's been used or not. Even if it's been hung up the whole time, the elasticity will change, so do take this into account when purchasing a suit second hand.
What Can You Do with Old Wetsuits?
No one wants to just throw away a wetsuit, especially if you love the outdoors! The great thing is you don't have to!
When it comes to wetsuits, your options are endless! The list of what you can do with old wetsuits goes on, so don't feel limited by our list; these are just a few examples of how you can repurpose your suit!
Donate Your Wetsuit
Sadly, not everyone gets to surf. It's a luxury to have a suit, so why not share your love for surfing and help make the sport accessible to someone else?
Even if your suit is a bit loose, it might be just right for someone else who might have never been able to afford one. There are loads of organisations that will happily accept your wetsuit and put it to good use!
Some charities hold free surfing and swimming camps for people who can't afford water sports equipment; other charities offer the donated equipment to anglers who need it to stay warm while working long hours.
Recycle Your Wetsuit
Loads of companies accept old, ragged suits that have seen better days, which is ideal if your wetsuit's harbouring a few rips and tears. The companies will breathe new life into your old suit by recycling it into something new!
Countless companies can turn old wetsuits into:
- Yoga mats
- Bottle insulators
- Bike tyres
- And much more!
Repair Your Wetsuit
It's not uncommon for a wetsuit to tear from fingernails or rocks. The great news is that small tears that are around 1-2 inches long can be easily mended at home!
A few stitches and some sewing can help you revive your wetsuit. The most important thing to do is sort out all wetsuit repairs as soon as you see them!
When sorting out your suit, remember that stitching will cause tiny punctures in the suit. These punctures will be prone to small leaks. To counteract this, you'll need to sew and repair your suit with a blind stitch!
To repair your suit, you'll need:
- Wetsuit cement
- Glue-on seam tape
- A needle
You can find loads of tutorials online for a quick and simple repair, like our best tips for repairing a wetsuit! However, whether it's a torn seam or damaged rubber, you will need to leave the wetsuit cement to dry for eight hours, so you may need to rent or borrow another suit if you're planning on hitting the water.
What Can You Make with Old Wetsuits?
When it comes to making things out of your old wetsuit, the options really are endless! Depending on the state of your suit, you can easily make:
- A laptop case
- A beer can koozie
- A mouse pad
- A dog bed/doormat
- Oven mitts
- Fin protector
You can find loads of tutorials online that can offer you instructions to create your very own upcycled objects that are great as gifts and useful items for the home!
We hope this article will help you breathe new life into your wetsuit! For more information or advice, you can either refer to our blog or contact a member of our team today; here at Wetsuit centre, we're always happy to help!