From a non-surfers perspective, this may come as a surprise: Almost every surfer pee in their wetsuit. Then it begs the question. WHY?
There are several reasons why surfers pee in their wetsuits.
Surfers urinate more while surfing because they are in relatively colder environments which causes the body to urinate more frequently. Furthermore, being in the water and lying on the stomach increases the pressure in your bladder making it more challenging to hold the pee while surfing.
Let’s look at why our body makes us pee more during surfing in detail and other exciting facts about peeing in a wetsuit.
Why Do We Need To Urinate More Frequently When Surfing?
Being in cold weather/ocean causes the body to produce more pee.
It’s a phenomenon called cold-induced diuresis. With a drop in temperature, our body sends more blood to the essential organ including the kidneys. Then the kidneys are forced to filter more fluids and get rid of excess via the bladder, so we need to pee more often.
When you try to hold yourself going to the toilet, you know the increased urge to urinate when there is pressure on your belly. This is because the bladder is sensitive to pressure. When the pee gets filled in the bladder, the bladder senses the pressure or stretch of its wall. Pushing down near the bladder increases the pressure.
When you are lying on the surfboard, this will increase pressure around your bladder, making it harder to hold more urine.
Being in the water also increases pressure in the body. However, surfers generally do not spend much time inside the water. Therefore the urgency to pee would be due to cold weather and direct pressure caused by lying on your stomach.
What happens when you pee in your wetsuit?
When you pee inside the wetsuit, some of it will be absorbed in the wetsuit, and some will be gradually exited via ankle, wrist and neck opening.
Modern wetsuit fits tight and seals water well. So there is a chance that the pee will stay with you until you take it off. Most experienced surfers will tell you they all experienced the foul smell of their wetsuit.
Then you will have to deal with the stench. The urine is quite concentrated if you do not drink enough water and concentrated pee smells. Ensure you rinse it thoroughly in clean water, but the smell may stay for some time.
How to get rid of the urine smell in a wetsuit?
The best way to clean the wetsuit is to use clean water. Flip the wetsuit inside out and rinse it several times. Because the urine gets absorbed in the wetsuit, it’s essential to squeeze the wetsuit while you are rinsing it.
Repeat the process until the smell disappears and always dry it in a shaded area to protect the seals and liquid glues of the wetsuit.
Several commercial products are designed to remove the stench if rinsing does not eliminate the foul odour.
Always use a wetsuit bag or plastic bucket to put on your wetsuit after a surfing session. If you leave your stinky wetsuit in the car boot or bottom of the seat, the mix of your urine and sea water will get into the car’s carpet.
How to prevent your wetsuit from smelling bad?
Drinking adequate water to dilute your urine before surfing helps you reduce the stench. Concentrated urine is dark yellow, and it has a foul odour. Ensure you drink plenty of water before surfing to make your pee clear in colour.
Some suggest drinking enough fluid the night before the morning surfing session. Your urine will be more transparent as long as you have reasonable bladder control and do not need to go to the toilet often at night.
When surfing, do not pee immediately inside your wetsuit when it’s dry. Try to get your wetsuit reasonably wet first, so it does not absorb all your urine.
Another thing you can do is rinse it in the ocean. Leave the board on the sand when you have finished the surfing session (so you can let go of the ankle strap) then take the wetsuit halfway off, so it’s inside out at the waist level. Go back to the ocean at the waist level, put water inside your wetsuit, and rinse it while wearing it.
Is It Harmful to Urinate inside the wetsuit?
Human urine contains a small number of bacteria, but your skin is an effective barrier protecting you from tiny bugs getting inside you. Therefore, besides feeling unhygienic, surfing with a urinated wetsuit for a couple of hours cannot damage your skin.
Does Peeing Damage Wetsuit?
Urine does not damage the wetsuits. However, beware that some chemicals may damage the neoprene. When you wash the wetsuit with a product, make sure the product is neoprene friendly or buy a specially designed product for the wetsuit.
Does Pee Attach Sharks or Other Fish?
Human urine does not attract other marine life according to experts in the field. This myth might have been created based on sharks’ hunting ability using their sense of smell. However, sharks usually do not consider humans as their food, therefore sharks should not be attracted to the urine smell.
Tip For Beginner Surfers About Peeing In The Wetsuit
The top 3 Tips for beginner surfers are
1. Don’t be embarrassed about peeing. Everyone does it. I am sure you will quickly figure out the most comfortable ways of peeing. Sometimes it’s easier to see when you float freely next to your board. After passing wee, squeeze around the wetsuit to get the excess out of the wetsuit.
2. Ensure you drink plenty of fluid before and after a surfing session. It not only keeps your wetsuit clean but also helps with dehydration.
Cold weather makes us urinate more, and sun and salt water exposure may cause further dehydration. It can be somewhat deceptive as we constantly submerge in the water, but surfers can get dehydrated quickly.
3. Rinse your wetsuit immediately after the surfing session. Make it a habit, and it will keep your wetsuit last longer and smell more likable too.