So you farted too hard while surfing, and blew a hole in your wetsuit. It happens to the best of us. Or something like that anyways.
Before you start crying about your wetsuit that cost hundreds of dollars, let me step in and save you the embarrassment. (Although I’m always a shoulder to cry on, if you really need it)
Fixing a rip, tear, or hole in your wetsuit is actually really easy, and it only costs about $5-$10.
If you read my O’Neill Psycho III wetsuit review, you saw that the seams were starting to crack again. Well just a couple weeks after I wrote that review, one of the cracks turned into a hole. In the crotch. Not fun. Luckily it was an easy fix!
Before we get into how to repair your wetsuit, let’s go over how to prevent a ripped wetsuit in the first place. (Hopefully you are just reading this for informational purposes, and you don’t actually have a damaged wetsuit yet).
Wetsuit neoprene can be pretty flimsy, depending on the thickness. I need to be extra cautious with my 2mm summer suit, but I don’t worry too much about my 4/3 winter suit.
The main cause of torn wetsuits is your fingernails. When you are pulling the wetsuit on, make sure you don’t dig your fingernails into the neoprene, because they can easily poke holes in it.
Be cautious of that, and you should be fine. If you put a plastic grocery bag over your feet before sliding into your wetsuit, it will allow your feet to slip through a lot easier than without a bag. Especially if your suit is wet.
Repairing Your Wetsuit
The only thing you need to buy is wetsuit cement. This can be bought for $5-$10 at any surf shop, or on Amazon.
(Brand really doesn’t matter, it’s all the same stuff, so don’t pay $20 for the O’Neill cement like I saw on Amazon)
If the hole/tear is small enough (like the one in my video), all you need is the cement. “Paint” the cement onto each edge of the ripped neoprene, and press the edges together for a few minutes.
The neoprene will actually act like a sponge, and soak up a lot of the cement.
Wait 5-10 minutes for it to dry, and apply another coat. I recommend using at least 3 coats of cement, because the neoprene soaks up a lot of it.
If you have a long rip in your wetsuit, you will need to sew it together before applying the cement, otherwise it will probably rip again. The cement does a better job sealing than it does holding the neoprene together.
You can use regular thread, or dental floss. The dental floss will last longer, but thread should work fine too because you are putting the sealant over it.
Sew the rip (great for bonding time with Mom) and put a few coats of the cement over each side of the rip.
Let the cement cure overnight.
I’ve fixed several wetsuits this way, and it actually works surprisingly well!