The ultimate guide to putting on and taking off a wetsuit

Yes, they keep you buoyant. And warm. And you can swim a lot faster in them. But wetsuits can be a real hassle to get on and off, particularly if you’re not too sure what you’re doing.

But it’s time to make wetsuit fear a thing of the past. Because we’ve teamed up with Tyr to bring you the ultimate guide to putting on and taking off a wetsuit.

And it’s really not as hard as you might think!

How to put on a wetsuit

Well for starters, ensure you are cool and dry and ideally, the suit is also dry. Then use the following process to get suited-up!

  1. Start with the suit rolled down in front of you and the zip towards you, exposing the leg holes so you can step into it. If booties are supplied put these over your feet. Or you can use a carrier bag to help the foot slide through the legs of the suit (this technique is surprisingly effective).
  2. Slide a foot in and then slide the suit up the calf to expose the ankle bone of that foot. Use the pads of your fingers to slide the suit up, not your nails. Slide the second foot in the same as the first.
  3. Slide the suit up both legs and gradually pull the main of the body up until the crotch of the suit is as high as possible. Push your legs out to the side and front in a slow kick style to help the suit along. Do your best wiggle to help the bum in.
  4. Reach inside the suit and grab the material inside and pull the suit higher on the thighs and around the hips.
  5. Using the gloves (if TYR suit) provided or a carrier bag on your hand put your arm into the sleeve. Hold the shoulder of the suit and pull up over your shoulder as you do. At the same time reach for the sky and let gravity do some work. Ensure the shoulder is in and then repeat with the second arm
  6. Pull the rear of the suit across with the alternate hand to make sure you have shoulder blades in.
  7. Make sure the zip flap is flat and not twisted. Hold the base of the zip and then pull up over the shoulder whilst rolling your shoulders back.

Once the wetsuit is on reach up high and bend over to allow the suit to find its ‘home’ on the body.

Do some basic stroke movements to ensure your suit is fitting in the right place and there is no arm movement restriction.

How to take off a wetsuit

Due to the need to remove at speed in a triathlon, you can’t afford to waste time messing around trying to get your wetsuit off.

Even if jumping on a bike saddle after an open water swim is enough to give you nightmares, chances are you won’t want to spend much longer than necessary in a wetsuit after your swim. In fact, the wetter you are, the easier and quicker it is to remove the suit.

So, unless you’re a sucker for punishment, follow this simple process for taking off your wetsuit as soon as possible after finishing your swim.

  1. After coming out of the water and standing upright, unzip the suit by pulling the long cord down (or up if in an elite racing suit). Remove your hat, Goggles, ear plugs (if warn) and hold in one hand. As you remove that hand through the suit let go of the hat and these items will be safely stored in your sleeve.
  2. Pull the arm down out of the second arm and grab below the wrist as you do so for an extra tug.
  3. Pull down the suit using the inside of the shoulders until the suit is at your waist
  4. Push the suit down via the shoulders like a tube. Keep pushing down in small amounts until you get the suit by your knees then lift a leg up in a knee kick motion.
  5. As the suit rolls down the calf, drop the foot down and stand on the inside of the suit. The inside of the suit is tougher than the outer rubber
  6. Lift the other leg whilst standing on the suit to help pull down over the calf. Repeat on the second leg until you expose the ankle
  7. With your thumb, flick the suit over your foot and repeat for second leg.

At this point, sit down if you need to!

Taking care of your wetsuit

Whether you’ve paid hundreds of pounds for a top-of-the-range suit, or inherited one of your mates’ old ones, taking proper care of your suit is crucial to extend its life.

Follow these steps with your wetsuit after your swim.

  1. Once the suit is removed you will have an inside out suit. Transport the suit this way as the material inside is tougher than the rubber outside.
  2. Buy a cheap plastic box to transport the wet suit in for the back of the car.
  3. Once you are home, keeping the suit inside out, rinse it in fresh water (in the shower). If you swam in salt water, then rinse the outer rubber as well.
  4. Leave the suit inside out and hang over the bath out of direct sunlight.
  5. Once it is dry, hang your suit in a dark place or roll up and place in bag ready for its next use.
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