Allow it to soak. When not in use, wetsuits are designed to be somewhat damp throughout the neoprene. Soaking the wetsuit for a few hours will rehydrate it and reduce the likelihood of dry, hard neoprene splitting or ripping when you use it again.
In general, a wetsuit should fit securely, like a second skin, but not so tightly that it restricts your range of motion. It is critical to remember that after becoming wet, a wetsuit will loosen and feel more comfortable. After a few sessions, neoprene will acquire "memory" and better adhere to your body. This is why it's important to buy your wetsuits in the size recommended by the manufacturer.
The choice between a wetsuit that is too small and one that is too large can have serious consequences for your safety. If your suit is not tight enough, you may not be able to move quickly enough to avoid dangerous situations. On the other hand, if the suit is too large, you will not be able to swim properly or enjoy the experience as much.
When you shop for wetsuits, always check the size chart on the back of the garment to make sure you get one that fits correctly. Also consider how long you plan to wear the wetsuit before making your purchase. Some people prefer quick-drying suits while others need longer-lasting models. In general, a quick-dry suit will take less time to dry and fit more comfortably at first but might not be as good later on.
Wetsuit sizes vary from brand to brand but most follow the same general guidelines. There are two types of sizing: metric and imperial. Metric sizes are usually written with a number followed by a slash and a letter.
Wearing a loose-fitting wetsuit would be difficult to maneuver in and would not keep you as comfortable in the water. Although all neoprene stretches slightly, the greater the grade, the more it stretches. Cheap neoprene will stretch a little. Better quality wetsuits can be bought "stretched" so they fit properly when dry.
The best way to check that a wetsuit fits is to put it on and go for a swim. Even if you only go around your local pool, it's better than buying the wrong size. If the suit is too small, it will constrict movement and cause pain. If it's too large, you won't be able to swim properly.
Wetsuits get bigger when they get wet because the salt in the water makes the neoprene expand. This isn't a problem unless the suit has been stretched beyond its limit; then it will no longer fit properly when dry.
It is important to try on various sizes of wetsuit until you find one that is comfortable. Don't just buy the first wetsuit you see as this may not give you enough choice.
Wetsuits are designed to fit snugly. You don't want neoprene folds or huge pockets of air or water in your wetsuit. When you put on your wetsuit, it will seem snug, but it will stretch out significantly in the water! There is an appropriate technique to put on a wetsuit. It's best if someone else helps you get into it because it can be difficult getting into some suits by yourself.
When you're ready to go in, start at the feet and work your way up. The water will help constrict the blood flow to certain areas of your body, especially your head, so make sure you wear flourocarbon shoes or boots for maximum protection.
Once you're in the water, move slowly at first until your muscles get used to the cold. Then swim as fast as you can without sinking!
The tighter your wetsuit, the better it will fit when you get in the water. This means that if it doesn't fit well now, you'll need to buy another one. Wetsuits lose their shape over time and may need to be replaced periodically depending on how much use you get out of it.
Because salt water can be detrimental to neoprene, draining your suit with fresh water is definitely the best option. However, if your neighborhood break lacks a shower, it's advisable to empty your suit in the lineup. It's generally preferable to wait until you're about to depart when it's freezing outside. That way any ice that forms will melt while you wait in the hot sun.
If you don't have access to a shower, here are some other options:
Drain your suit on the beach. This is recommended for full-length suits because you don't want sand getting into the seams where it will cause problems later. Before you do this, make sure there are no visible holes in the skin of your arms or legs. You should also check the fit of the suit before you start throwing it around. If it's too big, it might leak after you wash it.
Drain your suit in the ocean. Do not do this unless you are experienced with wet suits and know what you're doing. The first thing you need to understand is that even though you're removing salt from the water, it will still expand as it absorbs more freshwater. This will put pressure on all the small holes and pores in your skin that contain air bubbles. As these bubbles leave your body, they may not disappear completely which could lead to serious problems such as nerve damage or blood clots.