When you swim through winter, a wetsuit is an important part of keeping you warm and comfortable. It can also be quite an investment! Those things don’t come cheap, and it really seems to be a case of getting what you pay for.

Once you’ve made that investment, you want your wetsuit to last. I’m currently in the sorry situation of being without mine for at least a week due to a hole in a very unfortunate place.It started a bit of conversation at training about caring for your wetsuit, and I guess I’ve been a bit hyper-sensetive tuning into any information on the topic.

My training buddy Paul posted this link about caring for Triathlon wetsuits. Whilst I’m no triathlete, the tri-wetsuits are certainly the go for ocean swimmers. I did most of my first winter in a surfing spring-suit and they certainly aren’t a patch on a tri-suit. We need more flexibility and as close as possible to a full range of motion in the arms. So wetties designed for swimming (instead of surfing) usually have a different panel in the shoulder. There are often also other features that are useful…a hydrodynamic design, and textured sections to increase drag in the areas where you “catch” the water.

I also found some excellent hints on the website of the lady who is currently doing the repairs on my own wetsuit Aquasea Underwater Products. I figure if there’s anyone who knows what not to do, it’s going to be the lady who fixes things when everything goes horribly wrong. I’m willing to bet she’s heard every story under the sun!

I have to admit that I’m (clearly…look at the results) not always good at that side of things. I’m usually trying to get the thing on too quickly running late at the start of training and catching up with friends while I do so. At the end of the session I’m usually trying to get the damn thing off in a cold shower when I’m tired and cold and there’s a coffee beckoning….

But now, after the hassle of doing without, perhaps I should take my own advice and look after my lovely warm wettie a little better.