10 Do’s and Don’ts: Getting in a Wetsuit

There is a right way. These tips for front and back zip wetsuits save time, energy, and save your suit.


Do find friendly footing. Grass, a towel, a changing mat (or car floor mat) protects your suit, your feet, and helps you balance as you step into your suit.

Don’t climb into wetsuit on exposed gravel or cement.


Do wear compression shorts, or perhaps, nothing at all under your wetsuit. Use a towel or changing poncho.

Don’t wear thick, loose fitting undergarments.


Do tuck away a rear-zip wetsuit’s neck closure velcro strap. The velcro tab, when exposed, pills your suit as you climb in. Hide it now.  

Don’t forget to do this!


Do reach in, and from the hips, turn the top portion of the suit inside out, so it feels like stepping into a pair of pants.

Don’t climb in without folding the chest portion down. The bulk gets in the way, and makes it too easy to slide a leg into an arm sleeve.


Do wear socks if you’ve got ‘em, and step in one leg at a time. Work the leg sleeve up till the knee pad is over the knee. Then move to your other leg.

Don’t get lazy with the legs. What starts well ends well. Getting the leg sleeves fitted properly enables proper fitting up top.


Do grab close to the area you’re fitting as you work the suit on.

Don’t grab and pull from areas far from the area you’re fitting. Avoid grabbing smooth skin areas of a wetsuit for fitting if possible.


Do put one arm fully into an arm sleeve before moving to the other arm. On chest zip suits, start with the arm located on the side of the zipper that is separated.


Do get both arms inserted in a back zip suit prior to pulling the secondary neck flange (if offered) up, and/or over your head.


Do pull the zipper straight up over your head (read: not from the sides) on back zip suits.  

TIP 10

Do smile as you’ll find your back zip wetsuit’s neck closure tab ready and waiting in an easy place to grab, and fold into position.

Eddy PetricelliEddy Patricelli is a co-owner of Big Winds. From 2001-2007 he was the editor of WindSurfing magazine. He has been windsurfing (and teaching windsurfing) for decades. See his best video tip for getting your kids onboard here.