wetsuit repair

its about 6 years old,always stored in the dark,doesn’t get much use in fla. but january will be here before we know it. its an oneill,with one 1/2’ long tear in the seam behind the shoulder… whats the best cement or repair method for the tear?

Duck tape. Hah I don’t really know. My wetsuit is a little holey but it seems to be okay, though my tears arn’t as big as yours.

Just got the same repair done on my hotline (slash behind shoulder).

Its prob not worth it to do the repair yourself unless you are an expert sewer. I believe O’neil is pretty good about fixing their own wetsuites so just take it to an outlet and it will prob be free but hurry up and don’t wait until winter. What they did to my wetsuite was sew the rip on top and glue the neoprin underneath. The woman who sewed my suite knew what she was doing, the stitching looked very professional. Hope it works come November.

while ideally you’d use neoprene cement, contact cement from the hardware store works fine. Follow the directions on the bottle. Contact cement isn’t black, butthat’s around the only drawback, and it has much more shelf life.

Stitch with monofilament upholstery thread if you need to.

hope that’s of use


Howzit doc,I wonder if that black silacone in a tube would work. I've used it to repair a lot of things and it works pretty good. Haven't had a wet suit for over 30 years but it seems we had something called black magic for repairs back in the 60's. Aloha,Kokua

being from nc we usually wear wetsuits for a good part of the year, i always repaired mine by sewing up the seam with fishing line (it doesn’t have to be perfect, but enough to keep the seam together), then i just covered it with some waterproof rubber repair stuff that you can get at any camping store. Let it dry and your good to go.

Neoprene cement is available from dive shops. It ain’t cheap and hasn’t much shelf life. Call ahead to ask if they have it first. Make sure the can you buy is good - open it at the shop to check. Should be the same honey-like consistency of contact cement, but black.

I used to butt joint glue first, then stitch with what was handy (dacron fishing line is excellent) then brush some neoprene over the stitching to seal it all.

This was on my first short john suit that was way too big, back in about '73 or so.

Both O’Neill and RipCurl are very good about fixing any seam problems for free on their wetsuits. Other companies may do so as well (haven’t tried). I even had a friend who bought an old O’Neill at a garage sale that was ancient and they still fixed it for him! Lifetime warranty on seams really means lifetime I guess.

I saw some wetsuit repair stuff the other day by the same people that make Solarez. Might be worth a try, I think a tube was like 6 bucks.

You would be better off and reduce the chance of splitting on stitch holes by sewing along the tear into the core of the neoprene. That is not over and under but sewing along the tear using fine fishing line. It’s called a hidden suture in medical terms. Tie a knot in one end 1/2" into one side 1/2" into the other side until you get to the end. Leave it loose and then put your cement on the edges, pull the needle end to pull the edges together, wipe off excess and you’d hardly know it was there. Stronger and less chance of tearing on the suture line.

Nursing taught me alot…comes in handy sometimes.


Is that similar to what’s called an interrupted stitch or suture?

I use a stitch in the underside of a wetsuit, not all the way through but barely half way, pulling the nylon cloth reinforcement together -I like the monofilament upholstery thread 'cos it’s not going to saw through the rubber as I pull it through. For stretchy bits, just glue - the stitching will weaken and stiffen the area too much.

The contact cement is nice stuff and of course the old Black Magic ( gee, sounds like a song) is great, but the goos, like that stuff solarrez has, they tend to make stiff spots, usually on a seam. Might be ideal for a worn spot in the sole of a boot, but not for fixing a blown out seam. Especially on the lower front torso of a suit.

Jumping to a slightly different topic 'cos Hicksey reminded me, when I’m going someplace to surf, it’s usually in someplace kinda far off, nothing like Mass General Hospital real handy. And I tend totake along a pretty extensive first aid kit, shake down my MD buddies for supplies and such. What would you carry for, say, two weeks in a remote spot with no medical care to speak of? Not only assuming that whoever doing it was mostly untrained ( like me) but whoever was fixing me up had evenless training…



Yes, contact cement from the hardware store is cheaper than wet suit weld from the shop, but neither is a deal breaker. You can also stitch it up with dental floss.

There is a product called Iron Mend, that you iron on after sewing/sealing. I seal with a little neoprene cement to hold the edges together, sew coat with cement, then iron mend bolth sides. Looks like Jack O’neill did it himself.

Yep, actually, the contact cement isn’t really that much cheaper that the stuff in the shop. 'Rround here, it’s about 6 bux for a can that has a shelf life of around a year. I usually have a few holes that need to be mended after the water warms up, and maybe a few cuts during the winter, and seems like I pony up on a small can every year, when I find that my old one has become black rock in a jar.

Sewing the joints is tricky for me, so I try to use the glue instead of stitching it up. I’m more of a painter than a seamtress, and I actually used the dental floss for mending sails at first, then tried it on a wetsuit purely on a lark, and it worked okay, although I did “goop” enough wetsuit weld on there that the stitches probably were superfluous.

Knowing my propensity for f%#k ups, I could see me using an iron, leaving it on there too long, getting melted wetsuit all over it, and getting it hurled at me hot when the CEO uses it to iron out a few wrinkles in that new white blouse before she goes to work.

Iron Mend, eh? Hmmm…something new. Gotta have it. tnx

There’s a glue called NeoRez (maybe NeoRes)that hardens flexible. Its great for wetsuit repairs and the only one that I’ve used that lasts. You can cut up an old t-shirt and saturate it with the glue for patches inside & out. Sewing with (unwaxed) dental floss is a good bet too, after you glue it.

Make sure your suit is 100% dry. Clamp the repair between 2 flat pieces of wood with wax paper so it doesn’t stick. For a ‘forever’ repair, glue, sew, then patch & clamp. Better than a warranty repair, no surprise ‘pro-rated costs’ and no waiting.

I’ve used the Iron-mend with excellant resuts…



……that hardens flexible……

Interesting concept :slight_smile: