Not everyone can afford a wetsuit quiver, but if you live outside Southern California or Hawaii – somewhere with real seasons – a variety of rubber is really the only way to enjoy year-round surfing. Ideally, we’d all have proper rubber for all conditions, but we don’t live in a perfect world. Some of us have holes in our booties and leaks in our wetsuits and can’t afford an upgrade.
Buy one very good winter suit
If you surf somewhere cold, you need a good winter suit. There is no way around this one. A good winter suit is paramount. Skimp on boards, skimp of fins, skimp on your car. If you got cheapo on your winter suit you will freeze. Wearing an old 3/2 over a new 3/2 does not a 6 mil make. Wetsuit Buying Guide
Go as thick as possible in boots and gloves
Get thickest boots and gloves you can find. Thicker booties last longer and are still useful with a few holes. Round-toed boots and mittens are less susceptible to leaks and are easier to repair. It is always better to be warm than cold so if you can only afford one pair of boots, go thick. Besides, warm booties and a good detachable hood can help make a sealed 3/2 far more versatile.
Recycle Old Suits
This goes back to rule one. Not everyone can afford a new 3/2, a new 4/3, and a new 6/mil. As your suits get worn-out and leaky, adjust their use to warmer seasons. Your old 4/3 becomes your new 3/2. Grab some scissors and your old 3/2 becomes your new springsuit. Always replace your thickest suit first.
Recycle your broken leashes
Many-a-friends make fun for this one, but the Velcro straps on old leashes are a great way to seal your wetsuit around your ankles. Ankle seals can stretch an old-suit beyond its expiration date.
Can’t afford a new drylock suit? Seals all stretched and worn? A bit of duct tape around your ankles and wrists can do wonders to prevent a cold water flush. Just make sure you don’t buy cheap tape. Crappy adhesive comes undone in the water, thereby making you one cold litterbug.
Flex and Seal
As seen on TV! They use this stuff to turn a screen door into a boat. It’s messy, yes, but it is an inexpensive wetsuit repair solution.
Keep Water in the Car
A thermos of hot water will help thaw your hands and will take the chill out of pulling on wet booties. A healthy supply of drinking water will allow your body to make its own hot water, which you can use however you see fit.