Cold water surfing is special in so many ways; the sights and the smells. You might associate another smell with surfing; that lingering funk that has become inseparable from your wetsuit. It’s that 5 mil of neoprene you’ve been sweating, and likely urinating inside of, then rolling around in for a few hours. Even if you rinse it out, there will likely be a sly stink waiting to jump out. Besides the body oils, your suit is now a breeding ground for bacteria. Gnarly.
Dry-time is the issue. The thick suits don’t dry quick enough, especially in cold dank conditions, giving all that bacteria and fungi a nice hospitable home to tuck in to. So here is how you can kill that stink, at least for the moment.
Keep your suit inside out and do a soak wash in your Rubbermaid bin or Wet Bag. Add a half cup of white vinegar (to sanitize and kill bacteria) and a squirt of mild dish detergent or small splash of Woolite (for emulsification of body oils and grime). Fill it up with enough cold water to cover the suit, booties, gloves, and rash guard. Soak for about 15 minutes.
Pull all your gear out of the soak, and give it a good rinse with cold water.
Also a tip to keep the stink at bay is a thorough and quick dry. Always wash and dry the suit inside out – that is where the filth lingers. Hang your suit in a well ventilated room. On the second day turn it right side out and dry at least another day. You can always speed up the process with a fan, airflow is key.
The quicker you wash your wetsuit after surfing the better. Hope this gives some new life to your gear – and at least makes it less repulsive. Your booties will probably always smell horrible.