GEAR FOR THE LONG HAUL: TIPS AND TRICKS FOR FINE-TUNING YOUR SUP ACCESSORIES
Paddlers fall into two gear camps: Those that obsess over every item, seeking golden bits of information to gain any sliver of performance on the water or an extra year of longevity in the garage; and those that could care less and just want to paddle that board now, factory fins and all. Wherever you fall on the gear-geek spectrum, understanding the basics of optimizing and maintaining your hard-earned equipment will take you a long way. We reached out to our top contributors and athletes to gather some hacks, tips and tricks to maximize both the performance and the lifespan of your gear.
This article is part of a series of tips and tricks for picking the right gear and maintaining it for the long haul, originally published in our 2018 Gear Guide, available in digital and print here!
Even your favorite wetsuit is eventually bound to spring a leak. Luckily, with a little gumption and a slather of wetsuit cement you can prolong its life and put off investing a ton of dough in another. Here's how.
1. Rinse the pee from your suit (don't lie) in freshwater and then dry it out completely.
2. While it dries, venture down to your local surf shop and pick up some wetsuit cement or adhesive—Aquaseal works well for us—and a small applicator, like a paintbrush.
3. For a fix that's going to last, cut a piece of neoprene from an old wetsuit and make sure it's big enough to cover the entire lesion with an inch to spare on all sides. If you don't have an old suit to cut up, neoprene tape will suffice. You can find it at your local shop for a few bucks.
4. Clean the ripped area with rubbing alcohol, and once it's dry, apply your wetsuit cement generously at the seam and around the edges on the exterior of the wetsuit. If it's a big hole, paint the area around it out to one inch.
5. Wait for the glue to feel tacky and then firmly bring the two sides of the tear together. Lay the piece of neoprene over the damaged area and press it firmly and evenly onto the adhesive.
6. Let dry overnight.
7. Once dry, carefully cut the patch's excess neoprene so its edges end with the dried adhesive.
8. You're done! Don your suit, grab your SUP and go shred.
Note: Before you go through the effort to repair your suit, make sure to check its warranty. If your rubber's still covered (usually for a year), send it back to the manufacturer and they'll fix it for free. –MM