It’s always annoying when the things we need break down or get damaged. When it comes to clothing, it’s even more frustrating because most of us don’t have the required sewing skills to repair them. When such things happen, we usually accept the fact that the item will have to be discarded.
When it comes to triathlon gear, you always want to be careful when using it. A lot of it is specially designed, making it expensive. One such item is the triathlon wetsuit. Regular use of a triathlon wetsuit, during training for example, can cause tears, rips and other damage.
You may want to avoid paying for a brand new one. So in this article we’ll go over how to repair a triathlon wetsuit, along with the things you’ll need to do so.
What You’ll Need
Before we can begin repairs, there are few things that you’ll need to finish the job. These include:
- Adhesive or Sealant
- Small brush
- Heavy object
A general purpose sealant or adhesive, such as the one used to repair bike tire tubes can do the job well enough. However, it is recommended that you buy something specifically for wetsuits. This should not be too hard since there are plenty of options available on Amazon, for example the Aquaseal Neoprene Cement.
How to Repair a Triathlon Wetsuit
Once you’ve sourced all the required materials, clear a space where you can work in peace. Now let’s take a look at how to repair a triathlon wetsuit.
Prepare the Suit
You don’t want to repair a suit immediately after it’s been used. Wait for it to dry before you begin. Once dry, go over the entire surface once to make sure it’s clean. Sand, wax or dirt on the suit, especially near the rip means the repair won’t hold properly.
So, use a cloth to clean it thoroughly. Once clean and dry, turn it inside out. This will reveal the seams and the stitching. You’ll also now be able to see just where the tear is and how big it is. Use alcohol to clean around the tear, and wait until it has completely evaporated.
Now inspect closely, and pull at the tear to show both sides. Once both sides are visible you’ll move onto the next step.
Repair the Suit
Now it’s time to put on the first coat of the adhesive of your choice. Use the small brush to gently apply the neoprene cement to both sides of the tear. Make sure to cover the surface evenly, or the repair glue might not hold correctly. While applying, keep the two sides away from each other.
The cement or adhesive will appear shiny when wet. Upon drying it looks more matte, or dull. Use this description to judge whether the first coat has dried. You may have to wait up to five minutes for this to happen. A lot of factors determine how fast the sealant will dry, but it shouldn’t take longer than 5 minutes.
If you’re fully satisfied with the first coat, and believe it to be dry, it’s time for the second one. The second coat will follow the application procedure as the first. Use a small brush, apply evenly, and don’t let the two sides touch. The second coat will take a bit longer to dry. It’s a good idea to let it sit for about 10 minutes.
Once the second coat is dry enough, you will slowly bring the two sides together and join them. Here’s when the heavy object comes in handy. First make sure that the seams are straight, and then place the heavy object on top of the repaired area, allowing the seal to fully form.
Although it takes no more than 5 minutes for the seal to take hold, you should wait at least 8 hours before using it again.
If you want to know how to repair a triathlon wetsuit in a way that it lasts even longer, follow this extra step.
The seal in the previous steps should be strong enough. For extra security, take a sewing needle and thread floss through it. Now you’re ready to penetrate the seams of the neoprene and add a new layer of stitching.
Fresh stitches will create tiny holes in the material, so you will want to add another layer of neoprene cement on top of the sewn area. This will make sure that any holes you may have gouged into the neoprene will be fully covered.
Additionally, there are readily available fillers referred to as liquid rubber. These can poured into gouges created by your stitching, to ensure that it’s completely sealed. If you follow these extra steps, you can be confident that the tear won’t trouble you again for a while.
Prevention is the Best Care
As with anything, the best form of care is to prevent damages. Maximize your wetsuits life by following these tips:
- Do not lend your suit
- Remove watches, rings and other accessories before wearing the suit
- Lubricate the zipper
- Do not store in a hot area
- Do not use bleach to clean your suit
- Only wash in a tub or similar area, never in a washing machine
- Always store you wetsuit properly
Our Final Thoughts
Knowing how to repair a triathlon wetsuit can save you a lot of money, especially if you use it regularly for surfing or training. If you follow the steps in this guide, you’ll be able to get more use out of your suit than ever before.