DIY Wetsuit Wash

I’m really not a fan of Winter. We’re lucky- for the most part- to have pretty temperate Winters here in Florida. However, for most of us, we will be in a Spring suit or 3/2 mm suit at some point in the Winter. For me, I hate the cold, so my wetsuit season starts up earlier than for most people, inevitably bringing out the Wetsuit Style Police to tell me “it’s not cold- get that wetsuit off.” Yeah, there’s nothing better than being a bikini clad popsicle covered in goose bumps, convulsing on the beach from hypothermia effects. Sexy.
Anywho, since wetsuit season is coming around, I figured it would be worth it to make my own DIY wetsuit wash, thinking it’s got to be cheaper than what’s in the dive shops and online.
My Mother-In-Law knows I do a lot of crafts, so she was so kind to bring me a big box of hotel shampoos and conditioners for Christmas…..”No, no, this is great, I didn’t need a new board or anything, tiny plastic bottles are even better…..” You don’t mess with the Mom In Law.
But the little bottles turned out to be useful as good portion sizes for my Wetsuit Wash, and even came with an ingredient I use.
I gathered my materials: delicate care Woolite, white vinegar, and conditioner (that I got from the bottles), a tablespoon measure, and a teaspoon measure, and a measuring cup.

Materials to make the wash

Here’s my recipe to make around 5 portions (1 portion = approximately 6 teaspoons liquid):
3 tablespoons Woolite (for general cleaning)
3 tablespoons White Vinegar (for bacteria removal)
3 teaspoons lightweight hair conditioner (to help keep seams and tape supple)
3 tablespoons Water (as a dilute)
5 empty shampoo bottles (at least capable holding 6 teaspoons of liquid or more)
Mix these thoroughly into a measuring cup with a pour spout.

Yields around 1/2 cup of wash

Pour the solution into each empty conditioner bottle, thoroughly stirring the liquid in the measuring cup prior to each bottle pour.
Next, it’s very important to label each bottle with “Wetsuit Wash”, so it doesn’t get mixed up with other stuff. I labeled mine with a simple label maker:

So, I finally ended up with around 5 bottles of wash (shake it up a bit before pouring into your bucket of water):

Finished bottles of wash

This should last me the season and more, since it’s recommended to wash your neoprene once a month. I’ll agitate the wash into approximately 5 gallons of water in a bucket. It also helps to have a softer bristle brush (like a dish brush), to get off wax and sand while washing. Don’t use the brush to scrub into the neoprene, only to remove sand, wax, or other “clingers”. Ewww.
Agitate the wetsuit in the wash and water for around 5 minutes, making sure the inside and out gets attention. You can leave it to soak, but not over 15 minutes- it’s just not effective past that.
Rinse your suit well until the water is clear, and hang it to dry on a good broad shouldered hanger, or folded over a rod at the waist (this drying method is slower).
So the next time you get bugged by the Wetsuit police, turn around, bend over, and tell them to “smell the freshness”. They’ll want to make their own wash!

Recycling Bread Tags as Leash Tags

We go through a lot of bread at our house, and like the mini hoarder I am, I’ve been collecting those plastic bread tags used to close up the bag since I knew there’s got to be other uses for them.

Plastic Bread Tags

I’ve been using them as tags on electrical cords, but I thought these could work to tag my leashes too with the length of the leash, kind of like I did in another similar project.
I used a basic sharpie pen to mark the foot length on the bread tag:

That’s all you need, but of course, I had to jazz it up a bit:

I clipped my tag close to the ankle cuff, but it does slide up and down the leash, but doesn’t get in the way. I tested it on some kooky wipeouts (yeah, I did those on purpose…sure), and the tag held on fine. I think these work better on Comp weight leashes as opposed to Big Wave weight leashes, which the tag may not fit around. These may not be for you if you’re surfing Jaws or Cloudbreak regularly, but they’re Festivus for the rest of us, you know?

Tag on the leash

Tag! You’re it!

Surfboard Contact Info and Protection

We’ve been fortunate to have a week’s worth of actual waves around here, but that also brings out the not so savory types who like to take others’ boards while they’re out enjoying the swell. Usually, the thieves who take these boards are not the most surf savvy- they just quickly drop them off at the nearest pawn shop, collect a paltry sum of cash, and go pay their expensive tuition. Well, okay, maybe the last part is a stretch.
Anyway, not all of us have custom boards we worry about being stolen or lost. I have a Stewart Hydro Hull I bought with my very first job bonus for making a software program, so it’s extra special:

Stewie!

It has a serial number that’s kind of in a readable scrawl by the shaper, and I have pictures, but that won’t necessarily bring Stewie back. That’s when I thought it might be helpful to put a contact number on it, but I didn’t want to put it out in the open. Also, I didn’t want something permanent in the case that it NEEDED to be sold (and I mean NEEDED to be sold- knock on wood that never happens!!).
That’s when I thought of my little digital label maker. They run about $25-$30, but it’s a great investment, and I use it for everything, not just for surf stuff. I buy the 3/4″ tape in waterproof, which you can pick up at an office supply or a big box store. Using a large font (you never know who’s going to be reading the number) I printed out a phone number- not really mine for the example, of course. 🙂

Go ahead, call it.

Next, I needed a place to put this that wouldn’t be open but that could be accessed easily. I decided to put it on the inside face of the center fin box. You can also put it on one of the side bite fin boxes, but keep in mind that someone will need an Allen wrench or a fin key. I figured a thief is not going to take the time to take the fin off and remove your number, but once it gets to the pawn shop or a fellow surfer finds it, this may catch on enough that you can put the notice out to remove the fin and say “Call Me!”
First, I cleaned the inside of the fin box very well to remove any sand, dust, or debris or the label won’t stick:

Clean out that fin box!

Next, I removed the backing from the adhesive label and used tweezers to help me place the label inside the inner face of the fin box:

Using the tweezers, I pressed down the label well against the side of the box to ensure good adhesion:

Replace the fin, and now, you have a little peace of mind that all you have to do is tell the local pawn shops and local surf forums to remove the center fin on a Stewart Hydro Hull and call the number without going into a lot of descriptions the pawn shop guy probably won’t comprehend.