Don’t throw away your old wetsuit

Wetsuits are often discarded as soon as seams start to leak or zips break but Steve England, editor of leading surfing magazine Carve, says that fixing your wetsuit can not only be cheaper than buying a new one but it’s also better for the environment.

In his recent article, England spoke with the UK’s biggest repair centre, Bodyline Wetsuits in Newquay, which estimates that 75 per cent of wetsuits are being thrown away when they could easily be repaired.

“Sadly we live in a throwaway culture,” says Gary Chambers, CEO Bodyline Wesuits. “But the global pandemic and the knock-on effects to wetsuit supply has certainly made surfers think twice. We have certainly seen surfers willing to spend more on repairing their wetsuit as opposed to buying a new one.”

Issues with wetsuits are primarily a result of either manufacturing faults, wear and tear (compressed knee pads and elbows, leaking in the main stress areas such as a the crutch panel/seams and armpits) or accidents and misuse (rips, broken zips and so on).

The average wetsuit repair cost is around £20-30 with Bodyline. It is only when there are multiple faults on a wetsuit that repairing will either be too expensive or that the wetsuit is too far gone to repair and the money would be better put towards a new wetsuit.

“If seams are leaking, gluing and/or retaping the leaking seams will not stop water getting through, as it is the bond between the panels that has opened up. To properly repair leaking seam requires the seams to be trimmed and rebuilt or panels (i.e the crutch panel) to be replaced. We can watertest wetsuits, using a pressurised air line, and as long as a wetsuit is not extensively leaking, then repairing can be very cost effective,” Chambers explains.

“Crutch and knee pad replacements cost from £30. So repairing a wetsuit so that it lasts another season or so it can be used as a back up suit, is very affordable,” concludes Chambers.

In Ireland, Kerry Sail Repairs is a specialist repair company specialising in sails, kite and surfing repairs. Zips, bags, covers, tents and most things canvas can also be fixed.

Interview courtesy of Carve magazine.

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This article was written and/or edited by the UK-based MIN team.

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