The Scuba Blog

February 29th, 2008

Do Scuba Diving Wetsuits Shrink?

Posted by Instructor Bill in Scuba Myths - Confirmed or Busted?

wetsuit_shrinkshrunken_wetsuitshrunken_wetsuitshrunken_wetsuitWe have can you help me with my homework all heard the line:  I just went to put on my wetsuit for the first time this year and it shrunk.  Now, the joke is that you may have gained a bit of weight and you are making an excuse that the wetsuit has mysteriously shrunk.   Well, best I can figure, the answer here is both.  Myth and Confirmed.  Here is why.

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Now, lets start with the confirmed part: Wetsuits are made primarily from Neoprene, a material that comes in many thicknesses but the main part is that is has air bubbles in it that add insulation to the diver or surfer.  Now, most neoprene over time has been proven to loose its “stretch” or not be as pliable, even stiffen.  Thus it can be argued that it in fact Shrunk.  Mainly because it doesn’t have as much stretch. 

Now the mythpart:  We also know that if you gain weight, work out or otherwise change your body by adding inches, then the suit will seem to be “Shrinking” as well.  The joke has always been that my suit shrunk especially when it comes to not admitting ones over indulgence during the winter may have actually been the cause. 

We also know that many wetsuit manufacturers like BodyGlove and Henderson Wetsuits have huge marketing departments that come up with many new ways to differentiate themselves from the competition.  Some may add a “Titanium” lining for extra warmth, or a “Platinum” glide skin interior for easier donning….. So how does this feed into the myth of a wetsuit shrinking you say? 

Have you heard of Hyperstrech or Yamamoto SCS Titanium Super Stretch neoprene?   They are all part of the newest kind of neoprene that are so stretchy with memory so they always come back to the original shape.  This makes them much better than the neoprene wetsuits of the past.  This also may just make this a Myth as those of us who like to say the wetsuit shrinks will have to come up with some other excuse.  Darn, I was getting so used to that excuse…..

What will your excuse be?

One Response to ' Do Scuba Diving Wetsuits Shrink? '

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  1. Mel said,

    on September 27th, 2009 at 9:18 am

    I’ve received many comments from my divers about this. Some say that due to the materials used (neoprene), after an extended period of inactivity, the wet suit shrink a little.
    I’ve asked: how to get the wetsuit back to “normal”. Well, just soak it in a tub of water – to wet the wetsuit up. Leave it for a while and re-soak it again. Try it. It should be “back to original form”.
    I know many divers followed my advised which is why they are still diving in the same suit after many years.
    Sorry shop owners! :)

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