Another Simple Surf Wetsuit Mod

Is it Summer yet? Well, at least the holidays are almost done. Yet another year I didn’t get to spend at Mr. Kelly Slater’s Bodacious Wave Ranch. Boo.

So, back at this local wave ranch, I’ve been trying to get at least one more season out of my 4/3 Neoprene backzip fullsuit. I had modded it last year by cutting the legs off at the knee. In Florida, the north wind can feel a lot colder than the water temp, so a shorter leg can be more comfortable to surf in.

The latest mod I wanted to do is one I’ve heard many other surfers ask about: what to do with a bothersome high collar on a wetsuit. Mine seems a little tight, so I wanted to trim it down.

Like most basic Neoprene wetsuit mods, you don’t need a sewing machine, but the “big secret” is in the tools:

  • Seam Ripper
  • Rotary Cutter (preferably 45 mm diameter or less)
  • Heavy duty hand sewing needle
  • Polyester thread or fishing line

First, I removed that pesky key pocket behind the back zipper. I have other ways of hiding my keys, and dunking them in saltwater isn’t on the top of the list. It’s so scratchy anyway, and adds bulk I don’t need.

Next, I removed the Velcro tab on the collar with a seam ripper so it wouldn’t damage my rotary blade. I’m cutting away the Neoprene collar only, keeping the seal of the glued seam intact. I tried to make one continuous cut by opening up the suit as flat as it would go on the table.

If you choose to use regular scissors, be forewarned: your edges will come out VERY jagged due to the thickness of the Neoprene. This is why I stress the rotary blade over regular scissors.

I don’t like to use any type of edge guide when making these kind of highly curved cuts with the rotary tool. You can use a disappearing ink pen to make a cut line if your lining is light colored. For me, I winged it by eyeballing the 1/4″ distance from the yellow tape on the inside of the suit.

I used just a scant amount of Velcro from the tab I removed, and hand-sewed it back onto the flap so the collar would still close, just at a much lower profile. I may add a bit more Velcro later, depending on how it handles in the surf over time.

Much better!

Easier to wrestle with and the neck’s a lot more comfortable, but it’s still sealed up well.

This is a good reminder that I need to put the sugary goodness away for the season and get back in the water. Yikes.

Surfer Gifts: Charitable Donations

Nothing says, “Bro, let’s just go surf already!” more than a donation to some surfing related charity. So, if you’re that kind of dude, here’s a few good Surfy Charities to help you make that random choice, brah. It’s ALL good.

Surfrider Foundation

Starting with the obvious one. This surfer-founded group has become a significant player in the world of environmental non-profits. I was involved with it here locally about 10 years ago, but I felt too much focus Nationally (or Internationally) was on getting surfers adequate access to beaches, and the coastal pollution was ignored. However, it seems lately they’ve started to realize there are much bigger issues to focus on, as many beaches have become too toxic to surf anyway. It’s worth a second look, and a charity ranking site recently gave it a high score. Bonus: They’ve pretty much got an online mall so you can send along some schwag with the donation. I may have to sign up again, just for this Frisbee.

501(c)(3), Tax Deductible? Yes

Surfers Helping Kids

This is a charity founded by two surfers here in Cocoa Beach, Florida. Lots of surfers love to travel to Central and South America to surf the hot breaks there, but few take the time to give back to the local communities. I like this charity since there’s not much overhead- just donations, and a “grass roots” effort to give back to the local communities where the surfers visit. They’ve already helped children in El Salvador on recent trips, with plans to do more soon. Agape in Action is their tagline. Yes, you can get a t-shirt here too, brah. Bonus: If you wear the t-shirt on your next surf trip to El Salvador, the local kids won’t wax up your car windows. Just kidding. Wink wink.

501(c)(3), Tax Deductible? Yes

SURFAID

This non-profit helps local communities near prominent surf spots throughout Indonesia. It boasts surfing celebrity supporters like Kelly Slater and Bethany Hamilton in addition to many other professional surfers. Indo is a super popular spot for surfers worldwide, and SURFAID largely came about from concerns some surfers had about the locals’ conditions. While the surf breaks were beautiful, local life was not, so they came together to give back. Bonus: If you give a crazy amount of cash, you can get your bro’s name on their Tribe List. Or you can just get a t-shirt. This one’s pretty cool.

501(c)(3), Tax Deductible? Yes

So, give a charity a chance- just try to make it a legit one….

FYI: Outerknown Black Friday Sale

Hey, I don’t freakin’ work for Kelly Slater, but he IS da MAN here in Cocoa Beach, and a nice dude, so I’d thought I’d give a plug for his latest clothing endeavor, Outerknown. They’re having a Black Friday Sale, so if you’ve ever wanted to check out the brand, this is a good time. This is just info, I wish I got free stuff from them, but no, I just keep watch on da sales.

Their clothes are usually CRAZY expensive, but on their website, I just picked up a pair of boardshorts for $30.

I’ve checked them out in person before, and they were extremely well made, but I couldn’t justify the original price of $75. Yikes. Currently, the boardshorts are the best bargain on the website, in my opinion.

Guess he’s gotta pay for that new wave pool.

Corona J-Bay Pro is On!

For those who are up in the middle of the night in the USA (like me!), the World Surf League’s Men’s Jeffrey’s Bay Pro in South Africa is on now.

Nice waves, incredible surfers, but I’m not sure if our Hometown Hero, Kelly Slater, is going to be able to surf. He put up a horrific X-ray showing his recently injured foot on Instagram:

Yikes. Folding your foot backwards? Time for drinks on the beach while watching your friends surf, brah.

The Cocoa Beach Monument