Wetsuit Care/ FAQ
Have a question about blue seventy, our products, or swimming in the open water? Please browse the list of FAQ's as we may have already answered it.
If your question is not listed, or if you just want to contact us for any reason, then please click here to email us.
To fold your wetsuit for placement in a bag, pack your wetsuit away from sharp or hard objects to avoid creasing/damaging your wetsuit.
USE OF LUBRICANT
If required in any area (such as wrists or ankles) a lubricant will aid getting the suit off quickly. A lubricant will also benefit any chaffing area. Do not use petroleum based products like vaseline. Ok to use are products such as: baby oil, body glide, vegetable oil, silicone gel.
HOW TO REPAIR A FINGERNAIL CUT:
Fingernail cuts can occur on the smooth surfaces of a wetsuit. This is usually the result of pulling too hard when putting the suit on or by catching or pinching the surface of the wetsuit with your nails. While we make every effort to ensure that our products use the toughest materials available you should be aware that as a performance product wetsuits are not bullet proof and occasionally small tears do occur. Should a tear or fingernail cut occur, then repairing it yourself is a very simple 5 minute job.
You will need rubber cement glue. It is available at any hardware store. Optionally you can buy a "puncture repair kit" from any bike store (the glue used to fix bike tyre inner tubes is also rubber cement glue).
You will also need a small brush (such as an artists painting brush) or a spatula (which can simply be a thin piece of plastic or card).
Fold the wetsuit over at the point of the cut so that the cut opens up to reveal the two surfaces that need to be glued back together.
Apply a thin, even layer of rubber cement glue to both surfaces. Continue to hold the cut open while the glue dries. Do not rejoin the surfaces while the glue is still wet or tacky.
The glue will only take 1 to 3 minutes to dry (depending on room temperature and humidity). The glue looks glossy when wet. It will become matte when dry. Once it appears dry, then check it by gently touching the glue surface to check. It will feel only slightly tacky and will not stick to your finger.
Flatten out the suit so that the two surfaces come together. The bond is instant.
Pinch the two surfaces firmly together.
Note: the suit can be used in the water straight away. However, the maximum bond is achieved over a period of 4 to 6 hours. Therefore, you should avoid putting any immediate pressure on to the repaired surface.
WHY WEAR A TRIATHLON WETSUIT
Triathlon wetsuits are made for the express purpose of surface swimming. They were originally introduced to maintain warmth when swimming in cold open water and to provide additional buoyancy for safety purposes. Unlike our swimskins where the focus is on reducing passive drag, the primary focus of a triathlon wetsuit is to also provide additional buoyancy, which has the added advantage of significantly enhancing speed. This has resulted in triathlon wetsuits becoming a highly technical, performance component of the sport.
How do they work?
Triathlon wetsuits provide greatly enhanced buoyancy for the swimmer. This buoyancy brings the body higher out the water providing better water displacement, lower surface friction resulting in a swimskin that cuts through the water. However, varying designs and materials provide varying levels of performance enhancement. Some important factors to consider when buying a wetsuit are;
Surface friction: Most (but not all) triathlon wetsuits are now manufactured with hydrophobic outer skin. This rubber has a silicon type surface treatment, which has much the same effect as Teflon in a pan. This slippery surface improves the glide benefit of the wetsuit by reducing surface resistance.
Design: Design is vitally important. In addition to limiting water entry, design fit can make for a comfortable, or chaffing swim. Water entry is normal in a wetsuit, but too much water will add to the weight of your suit and reduce your buoyancy and speed.
Flexibility: Flexibility, freedom of movement, and stroke rotation are crucial factors. This is extremely important when choosing a Fullsuit (full sleeve).
Breathing: Sustained performance will be compromised if the wetsuit is too restrictive around the torso or throat. This reduces the breathing capacity of the lungs which reduces the level of O2 in the bloodstream and the resulting power output of the muscles. Wetsuits that do not restrict these areas will provide greater performance enhancements. However, it is important that the suit is not too loose as this will incur water entry and water pockets. Always go for a firm but comfortable fit.
HOW DOES A BLUESEVENTY WETSUIT MAKE ME FASTER?
The primary function of a triathlon wetsuit is the provision of additional buoyancy. This additional buoyancy results in less drag as the body is positioned higher out of the water. The result is a maximised performance potential.
All wetsuits are made of "neoprene rubber". Neoprene is naturally buoyant. Different types of neoprene have different rates of buoyancy. For Triathlon Wetsuits, the neoprene that is used is one that has a the most amount of air cells. This is like a honey comb effect. The rubber is made with microscopic air bubbles. This means that it is lighter, more flexible and more buoyant.
In the case of normal surfing and diving type wetsuits, neoprene is laminated on each side with nylon fabric. This helps to protect the rubber against abrasion. However, in the case of Triathlon Wetsuits, one side (being the external surface) is left as raw rubber, and is then coated with a special low friction coating called "super composite skin". This special coating has a very low rate of friction and it therefore glides much more easily through the water.
In theory, the most buoyant (and therefore fastest) wetsuit would be one made of the thickest possible material. ie, the thicker the material the more buoyant it is. (Note: The maximum neoprene thickness allowable under International Triathlon Union regulations is 5mm). However, swimming in such a wetsuit would require a far greater amount of muscular force to rotate the arms and freely move the body. Consequently, Triathlon wetsuits are made with a variety of rubber thicknesses. 5mm rubber is used in the main front body area to maximize buoyancy. 3mm is used in that back to aid freedom of movement, and 2mm rubber is used in the sleeves and underarms to allow total freedom for the swimming stroke. At blue seventy, we are always looking for the right blend of buoyancy, flexibility and cutting edge materials to make sure that our suits are the fatest they can possibly be.
ARE FULLSUITS FASTER THAN LJ'S?
People often ask us: What's the difference between a Fullsuit and a Long John? There is an easy answer to this question. Fullsuits are more buoyant. Traditionally, Fullsuits were only used for extreme cold, as they were renowned for reducing stroke efficiency and causing muscle fatigue in the arms. With the advent of more flexible materials and better construction techniques it’s now possible to have a virtually restriction free fullsuit during your swim stroke. Now they have become the choice of suit for most triathletes.
How many of the Pro athletes lining up at an Ironman Event, World Cup race, National Championships, etc do you see wearing a LJ? Pros don't give up any advantage they can get, and Fullsuits are a definite advantage.
So what are the major difference between Fullsuits and Long Johns?
- Fullsuits are more buoyant. There's more rubber in a fullsuit, which makes it float more. If you're balanced and higher in the water you'll go faster (there's less water to swim through). Another reason fullsuits are more buoyant, is that they let in less water. LJ's let in more water. This increases weight, which in turn reduces buoyancy.
- Fullsuits have less drag. Regardless of how good your LJ is, it will still leave areas around the shoulders in particular that are open for greater water entry. This creates a parachute effect, and more drag equals less speed.
- Fullsuits are warmer. Perhaps the greatest area of use for LJ Wetsuits is in warmer climates. For high water Temperatures over Long Distances, some athletes can over heat in a Fullsuit. This is probably the best instance where a LJ is appropriate.
- It's easier to get out of a LJ. There are no sleeves involved in the removal of your Long John, which can make transitions a little bit quicker. If you practise though, you'll find that you can get out of the top half of your suit while running to your bike, whether it's a Fullsuit or a Long John.
So there are some pretty persuasive reasons to buying a Fullsuit. It is important to note however, that regardless of what type of wetsuit you get, fitting and sizing can be the difference between a suit that works and one that doesn't. When it comes to buying a triathlon wetsuit, get the best fit and the one you feel most comfortable in.
HOW MUCH WATER SHOULD I HAVE IN MY BLUESEVENTY WETSUIT?
One of the most common questions we get is on water in your suit. Naturally it is important that your wetsuit does not balloon with water as this will greatly reduce buoyancy and increase drag. However, what many do not realize that the opposite of this (i.e. having a suit too tight) can have an equal, if not greater, negative impact on your performance. A suit that is too tight will greatly impede flexibility, increase muscle fatigue, and reduce the breathing capacity of your lungs. The combination of this is a significant compromise to your swim. A school of thought has developed within the triathlon community that the best wetsuit is one that is virtually water tight, and there appears to be a growing trend to buy a wetsuit that is one size too small. This isn't true. In fact, far from it.
To test it out we conducted a time test exercise within a controlled environment (pool) to assess this very point. We found consistently that those wearing suits carrying a small amount of water inside were averaging 2 to 4 seconds of speed advantage per 100m over those wearing a size too small. It was also clearly evident in the tight-fit group that a greater amount of metabolic exertion had been required to undertake the same swim distances. So just how much water is acceptable? The right size suit may carry a very small layer of internal water within some areas. If you feel some small streams of water moving in or around some areas of the suit then this is not a point of concern and in fact is probably an ideal fit as you are not limiting your performance through restriction or constriction. However if any water layer or pocket is ballooning the suit more than a quarter inch off the body then your wetsuit may be too big. But before swapping sizes, and to be certain of the best possible performance make sure you are fitting your suit on correctly click here.