ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How to Repair or Fix a Wetsuit Yourself

Updated on December 1, 2019
Layne Holmes profile image

Layne learned to surf in Santa Barbara and later moved to Southern California. She now surfs in colder water in the north of the state.

How to Repair a Wetsuit at Home
How to Repair a Wetsuit at Home | Source

How to Repair Your Wetsuit Cheeply at Home (With Fishing Line)

So, if you're like me you probably try to get your wetsuit to live for as long as it can if you're a surfer, diver, triathlete, etc. I know I'm overdue for a new one because the neoprene in my 4:3 suit which I use for surfing is disintegrating. I'm getting a black ring around my neck and there are holes galore. The thing is, I'm just not ready to buy a new suit because I'm saving up for a really nice one.

Patagonia Yulex Wetsuit

I recently tried on a new Yulex suit by Patagonia—I know that their repair policies are excellent—but I just wasn't ready to drop $500 dollars on a new suit. I have their booties (which are great!) which fit like a sock. I was told by the rep that by 2020, their seems will be smaller and the Yulex material softer. The fit in the size 8 wasn't quite right for me, so I'm still going to try on a few more suits for women. In the mean time, I had to make my current suit work now that our water is in the 50s.

Will the Wetsuit Company Repair It?

If you have excellent coverage with a company like Reef or Patagonia or some of the more obscure and expensive brands of suits like Matuse, I highly suggesting sending the suit in to have it repaired professionally. You do not want to go and puncture holes in a suit that cost you big bucks and can be repaired for free (minus shipping). If you have a Patagonia suit, just walk it into the store. Seriously, they have great customer care.

Some wetsuit companies won't cover improper care—such as fingernail tears. Tears from stress along the seems may very well be covered.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
After the repair with fishing line.Before the repair.
After the repair with fishing line.
After the repair with fishing line.
Before the repair.
Before the repair.

How to Use Wetsuit Adhesive

I your suit is in nice condition, you still will want to consider purchasing a wetsuit adhesive like seal cement. This stuff is easy to use and works great for holes that are not along seems. I've used it just to fill in holes that I've accrued from rock punctures, etc. Here's what to do:

  • Lay your wetsuit flat and pinch open the tear.
  • Apply the adhesive to the surfaces (lips) of the tear (less is more here).
  • Let the suit sit flat with the edges of the tear touching.
  • Remove any excess adhesive by smoothing it with a toothpick or something disposable.
  • Let the suit dry for 24 hours.

Why I Repaired My Suit With Fishing Line

It's been raining in the north of the state and the water quality is lousy anyways, so I decided rather than going and purchasing a repair kit (which you can do), to use a technique I've used before. That is, fixing my suit with fishing line.

Some people use floss, some people buy fancy repair kits like iron-on neoprene kits . . . it all depends on how old your suit is and where the hole is. If your suit is super old like mine, the fishing line repair will work great for you.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
My double-threaded needle and fishing line.Knotted endThe sewing pattern
My double-threaded needle and fishing line.
My double-threaded needle and fishing line.
Knotted end
Knotted end
The sewing pattern
The sewing pattern

How to Repair a Wetsuit Using Fishing Line

Supplies

  • hand-sewing needle (small eye, sharp point); see below for selecting a size
  • 4-pound test fishing line (about 2 feet per hole, we will double it up); see below for an explanation of "test" or strength
  • scissors
  • beat wetsuit

Note: Your fishing line should appear larger than the needle diameter/eye of the needle.

Tutorial for Casting Your First Stitch

Instructions

  1. Turn your wetsuit inside out if you had it drying. The dark/black side of the neoprene (not the inside) should be exposed.
  2. Thread your fishing line (go with 2 feet per hole; too much length will get tangled) into the eye of the needle and double it back so that the ends meet.
  3. Tie an overhand knot in the line leaving about half an inch of "tail" that you can trim off afterwards. (See photo)
  4. Locate the hole and start at one end. Dive the needle into the neoprene. Make sure the "tail" of the fishing line is on the outside so that it won't rub against your skin. If you are sewing along a seem, you will want to plunge all the way through the neoprene and wrap around the original stitching as if sewing in a "looped" pattern.
  5. When you cast your first stitch, make sure an inch of line hasn't been pulled through at your initial stick (you will be threading the needle back through this "tail" to create a knot).
  6. Arc the fishing line back towards your "tail" and pass between the two lines (through the center of the doubled "thread"). Pull tight. This will "lock" the first stitch into place.
  7. Continue to sew in a looped pattern (down, up, loop around; see the whip stitch pattern in the video below; try to sew vertically or horizontally as in the photos—depending on how you look at it—rather than diagonally as in the video).
  8. Once you get to the other end of the hole that you are fixing, cast a stitch without tightening the loop and pass the needle through it, pinching it tight. Do this twice. (Similar to what you did at the start to secure the first knot.)
  9. Finally, trim the tail of each knot on both ends down but leave a few milimeters. If you cut too close to the knot and then tension pulls on the stitching, you will lose your knot.

Use a Vertical Whip Stitch Pattern

What "Test"/Strength Fishing Line Do I Need?

The biggest difference with sewing with fishing line is that you want to make a good decision on the "test" or strength. I always thought bigger/thicker fishing line was better, but I realized that smaller/thinner fishing line is best since fishing line is pretty indestructible unless cut.

4-Pound Test Should Work

We fish for stream trout in my family, and so I literally pulled whatever line we had off a random real. I needed about 4 feet since I had 2 holes. I believe it was 4-pound test. Basically, anything that you would use for trout fishing on a reel will do. You can go a litte larger if you want..

Choosing a Needle

You will want a hand-sewing needle with a small eye and sharp point. If the eye of the needle is too large, you will be putting that extra stretch into the fabric when you pass the needle through to create a hole. The needle should appear skinnier than the fishing line that you use (see photos).

How Are Sewing Needles Sized?

Hand-sewing needles are sized by diameter. Contrary to what you would think, the smaller the needle, the higher the number it measures in. They come in sizes 1–12.

How to Care for and Extend the Life of Your Wetsuit Care

  • Don't use your fingernails when you are putting on your suit and keep your nails short (this will case punctures in the neoprene or material). Use the pad of your fingers to put your suit on.
  • Purchase a suit with a great warranty (Patagonia, etc.)
  • Don't hang your wetsuit to dry by the shoulders. This will cause the material around the shoulders to fatigue faster than the rest of the suit. Instead, hang it by the waist.
  • Always rinse your suit out with fresh water—salt water will damage a suit overtime and cause it to stink.
  • Don't pee in your wetsuit (you know this!)
  • Never hang your wetsuit to dry in the heat or direct sun.
  • Never use harsh chemicals on your suit to get rid of odor. Shop for wetsuit-friendly soap/wash (make sure it's eco-friendly, too!).
  • Always first consider getting it repaired professionally or drop in at a local free (or cheap) wetsuit repair day.

Happy surfing!
Happy surfing! | Source

What's the Best Way to Repair a Wetsuit?

Well, the process worked great for me. I literally sewed up two holes and went and reinforced the seems. It's great to reinforce the seems over the original stitchwork, just don't go to unnecessarily crazy on it. My suit was so old I had nothing to lose. I've used this method on two suits when they were at the end of their days. Did this method work for you?

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2019 Layne Holmes

Did this method work for you?

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Layne Holmes profile imageAUTHOR

      Layne Holmes 

      3 days ago from Bend, Oregon

      Thanks for the read Liz! I have used this method twice when I need to extend the life of my suit. It's cheap and works! Hope you are doing well.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      3 days ago from UK

      This is a really useful article on care of wet suits. I would never have thought of your method with fishing line. This is a great tutorial.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)