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The folks at
have the following tips for you.
Here's a familiar scenario: You have just surfed a killer session at your local pointbreak. After catching numerous long, peeling waves, you drag yourself back to the car, take off your suit, and throw it in the back of the trunk. By the time you get home, extreme hunger has set in, and the last thing on your mind is the wetsuit in the back of your car.
By taking just a few minutes to care for your O'Neill wetsuit, you can extend it's lifetime and enjoy many more good days in the surf. This section summarizes some suggestions for keeping your suit clean and dry, and making it last longer.
Rinse with Fresh Water
The most important thing to do for your wetsuit is to rinse it out after everyuse with fresh, cold water. This will help remove salt, bacteria, kelp, oil, or anything else stuck to it. I like to use a plastic tub to stand-in while taking off my suit, reducing the amount of dirt and sand in my suit. Then when I get home, I fill the tub with fresh water, swish it around, and then finish with a final spray down. Obviously, don't pee in your suit. Not only does it stink, but it can also break down the materials used to make the suit.
Hang to Dry
After rinsing your suit, you should hang it up to dry in a place that gets good air circulation and out of direct sunlight. Use a plastic hanger rather than a metal one (plastic won't rust!). It is advised to use a plastic hanger with a wide surface area. See the picture on the right. They sell similar ones at most surf shops which are designed specifically for wetsuits. This helps to retain the shape of the neoprene. The thin hangers seem to stretch the suit out and weaken the shoulder areas, making them more prone to damage. Also, pick a good place to hang the suit. Keep it out of the direct sun. Try to find somewhere that gets good air circulation.
Do Not Machine Dry
Never attempt to put your wetsuit in the dryer (or the washer). This can lead to severe damage. Suiting up for a second session can be wet, cold, and uncomfortable, but the last thing you want to do is put your suit in the dryer. If you are cold, my advice is to fill a gallon jug with hot water and pour it over yourself while suiting up.
Clean and Condition
To keep your suit smelling fresh and retain its flexibility over time, try using O'Neill wetsuit cleaner (#0144). It is designed to be used about every 30 surf sessions or so. Handwash your suit with a diluted solution of the wetsuit cleaner, and then rinse thoroughly. Not only does it make your suit smell fresh and clean, it helps reduce the chance of splitting and cracking of the neoprene.
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