Wetsuit cut repair
There are many ways a wetsuit can get damaged over time, so the ways of repairing a wetsuit vary. If you have bought a new wetsuit and you notice any kind of damage or production mistake, contact your reseller to inquire about a warranty. A warranty usually only covers production mistakes on new products. So if you have used your wetsuit and it’s showing signs of wear and tear, you might want to consider repairing it yourself. Wetsuit cut repair is a common repair. A wetsuit cut is mostly caused when fingernails or a fin cut your wetsuit by accident. These are all fairly easy repairs that you can do yourself for under €10 within 30 minutes by using neoprene glue. Always repair wetsuit cuts immediately, if you leave it, the cut might get worse and it will be harder or impossible to repair your wetsuit.
Wetsuit repair glue, or neoprene glue, is a type of contact adhesive specifically designed to glue neoprene panels together. Neoprene glue is flexible and remains waterproof. Wetsuit glue is affordable and it’s available in most surf shops or available online. Don’t use any other type of glue to repair a wetsuit cut. Neoprene glue is easy to use, but take your time to do it right and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Wetsuit repair shops
If the damage to your wetsuit is worse than just a simple cut or tear, you can consider bringing your wetsuit to a specialized local repair shop. You’ll find these shops in most areas and often they will accept sending your wetsuit in rather than driving there.
Wetsuit tear repair
A wetsuit is likely to get some form of damage during its life. A clean cut or tear caused by a fingernail or a fin hitting the wetsuit is easy to fix, especially if the neoprene is not cut all the way through. This is different than a wetsuit seam repair. Read all about wetsuit seam repairs here. Get a tube of black neoprene wetsuit glue online or at your local surf shop. Open up the cut and apply a layer of glue on both sides of the neoprene, leave it to dry for about 10 minutes (unless indicated differently by the glue manufacturer) until the glue becomes tacky. Then, firmly press the cut together to create a butt joint. Leave the glue to cure overnight.
Patch repair preparation
If the tear is bigger than 2cm long or not a clean cut, it might be better to go for a patch repair. This only works if the cut is at least 2cm away from any seam. This requires a bit more skill and the right materials, so if you don’t feel confident doing this repair yourself, contact a local wetsuit repair shop. Start by drawing an oval or circle at least 2cm away from the edge of the cut. Cut out this oval shape with a pair of sharp scissors. Get a patch panel, a piece of neoprene with a similar thickness as the damaged panel. You can cut this out of an old wetsuit, or get a panel at your local repair shop.
Patch repair application
Put the patch panel underneath the oval hole you just cut, and trace the oval onto the patch panel. Cut out the oval shape and place it inside the oval you cut out on the wetsuit. See if it fits exactly. Apply a layer of glue on the edge of the patch panel and on the hole of the wetsuit. Don’t put them together yet. Leave it to dry for about 10 minutes (unless indicated differently by the glue manufacturer) until glue becomes tacky. Then, firmly press the edge of the oval together to create an even seam. Make sure the edge is fully pushed together without any holes between the patch panel and the repaired panel. Leave the repair to cure overnight. Neoprene tape or a reinforcement iron-on patch can be added on the inside for extra strength.
Iron-on neoprene reinforcement patches
When the cut or tear cuts all the way through the neoprene and lining, it’s advisable to add an iron-on reinforcement patch on the inside of the repair to make this area stronger, avoid water leakage and to avoid it tearing again. These patches or reinforcement tape, also called Melco tape, can be bought through your local wetsuit repair shop. These patches have a hot melt glue layer attached to the back of them. They can be ironed on with a normal iron, but always make sure you use wax paper or baking paper in between the iron and the wetsuit. A different way of reinforcing the inside of a tear, or wetsuit seam repair, is to glue on a thin strip of thin neoprene, called neoprene tape. This can be glued on with normal wetsuit glue but is not a clean looking as hot melt tape.