It's easy to blame faulty manufacturing or heavy usage for the short lifespan of your wetsuit... but let's be real. Do you or your kids really care for your wetsuits properly?
Is it hung out of the sun, are you extra careful when taking it off/putting it on and do your grommets always rinse it with freshwater post-session?
Most of us don't pay too much attention to wetsuit care, which ultimately means we have to deal with leaky and stinky suits that don't last more than a season or two.
The good news is that there's now an easier way to extend the lifespan of both your own and other’s wetsuit and ensure it holds up for more than one winter... and it doesn't involve any extra effort on your part.
Surf showers 101
While the term 'surf shower' might conjure to mind the public showers at a beach, portable surf showers are different.
These handheld shower systems allow you to rinse off after a surf session either on the beach or in the carpark, and they’re specifically designed for ocean-lovers such as surfers which makes them durable, compact and easy to use.
The benefits of using portable surf showers
As a surfer you're most likely familiar with the damaging effects of saltwater on neoprene.
When you don't rinse your wetsuit with freshwater, salt crystals can build up and weaken the material over time.
Not only does this reduce its lifespan but it also affects its flexibility and warmth, making for an uncomfortable surfing experience during the cooler months. The benefits of having a surf shower in your car boot or ute tray are as follows:
- Quickly remove salt and sand post-surf: A quick rinse with freshwater from a surf shower removes any salt or sand that may have accumulated in your wetsuit during your session. This prevents the material from breaking down, keeping it strong and flexible for longer.
- No more weesuit: When you leave a damp wetsuit in the sun and don't rinse off the accumulated sweat, pee and bacteria, it's bound to develop a funky smell. By using portable surf showers, you can simply rinse off the wetsuit and hang it up to dry without having to worry about any unpleasant odours.
- More time in the water: Instead of waiting until you get home or back to your accommodation to rinse your wetsuit, you can use a surf shower right after your session. This saves time and ensures that your wetsuit is properly cared for, without any extra effort on your part.
- Hot shower on tap (literally): Some portable surf showers can actually be filled with warm water before you leave home, which means you can surf during the colder months and look forward to a hot shower afterwards. That's right... no more shivering in the cold while you change out of your wetsuit!
- No battery or charging necessary: While battery-powered surf showers have their place, it can be a hassle having to worry about another device to charge and maintain. In our experience as surfers, having a compact pump-operated shower on hand after a surf is just as effective for keeping sand out of the car and your gear salt-free.
How to use a surf shower
Not all surf showers are built the same.
Some are battery-powered, which means they have a built-in pump, while others require manual pumping. In general, here are the steps you should follow when using a pump-operated Beach Soul® surf shower:
- Pull out the Pressure Release Valve to release any pressure that may be in the tank
- Unscrew the pump handle in an anticlockwise direction to open
- Fill the tank with hot or cold water to near full capacity (just over 3/4's full)
- Screw the pump handle in a clockwise direction to close
- Pump until desired pressure is reached
- Shower away on your selected showerhead mode
- Once finished, release any residual pressure inside by opening the Pressure Release Valve
Surf showers vs taps vs public showers
While a quick wash under the tap at home is a popular go-to for wetsuit cleaning, it's not always a practical solution–especially if you surf at remote locations.
You're left with a salty, sandy wetsuit until you can get back to your house or accommodation, which can be damaging to the material.
Public beach showers, on the other hand, offer the convenience of being able to have a shower right after exiting the water.
The downsides here are that they're often cold, crowded and have limited pressure and flow, making it challenging to thoroughly rinse your wetsuit.
In contrast, a portable surf shower offers a myriad of benefits. Its portability allows you to have a freshwater source wherever you go.
Unlike taps and public showers, the pump operation gives you control over the water pressure, ensuring your wetsuit is thoroughly rinsed and that both you and your gear are clean and sand-free before heading home.
Surfers and portable showers are a match made in heaven.
Not only do they eliminate the hassle of having to rinse your wetsuit post-session, but the fact you’ll always have a squeaky clean wetsuit means that it’ll perform better for longer.
Ultimately though, a surf shower saves you time and money as you can rinse your suit immediately after beach trips and not have to buy a new suit every season.
What's more, it's hard to understate just how good it is to have a warm shower with good pressure after coming in from the surf. An absolute game changer if you ask us!