Should I punch ear holes in my wetsuit hood?

should i punch holes in my spearfishing wetsuit hood

The only problem with a good wetsuit hood is the seal. Often, it’s so good, you’ll struggle to equalize when you’re spearfishing. Punching holes above your ears is the likely solution you’ll find everyone talking about online, and after doing it myself this last weekend I’d like to share my experience.

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Should I punch ear holes in my wetsuit hood?

The problem with a wetsuit hood is the seal. You’ll struggle to equalize when you’re spearfishing. Punching ear holes is the solution. Here’s how to do it.

Does my wetsuit hood need “ear” holes?

Well, it depends. But in my experience, I’d lean towards “yes.”

You see, the tightness of the hood is a good thing, it keeps the warm water inside and stops you getting cold while you dive. But it’s also a problem. Because the water cannot move so freely, spearo’s can actually struggle to equalize against the neoprene hood.

The solution is simple enough.

You need to create a tiny hole (or holes) that allow for water to pass into the area surrounding your ear, so you can equalize. Easy right? Well, that is until you get your brand-new wetsuit delivered, and you’re trembling at the thought of punching holes in your new piece of spearfishing gear.

It’s a little overwhelming.

I know the feeling. I ruined an old wetsuit after getting annoyed at the hood one summer and slicing it completely off. Not my finest moment, especially when I ripped the entire jacket to shreds taking it off a few dives later. So, I was rather hesitant to “modify” any more of my wetsuit hoods. But after an annoying few dives where I couldn’t equalize properly, enough was enough.

How to create ear holes in a wetsuit hood

Because I was a little apprehensive doing this myself, I took my spearfishing wetsuit down to my local dive shop and asked about the ear-hole problem.

Seems I was right all along, and they actually recommended I do it myself. It’s easy.

Here goes…

Step one.

Instead of making several holes (and weakening the structure of my hood), I decided that I was only going to make one hole. Donning the jacket, my wife used a little bit of white out to mark the precise spot the holes would need to be made over each ear.

Step two.

Here’s where things get a little fun. I stretched the hood out on my workbench, using my vice and a couple of wooden blocks to keep it in place. Once it was in position, I needed to “melt” holes in either side. This helps seal the edges of the wetsuit, to prevent further tears.

Step three.

Grabbing a large nail with a pair of pliers, I fired up my little gas burner and heated the nail until it glowed red hot. Taking care to hold the nail tight, I pressed it through the rubber where my wife had marked the spot. It melted through like butter, though the smell wasn’t ideal.

Step four.

Pulling the nail out I inspected my handiwork. There was now a perfectly circular hole, about 2 to 3 mm across melted into the hood. Perfect. Repeating the process on the other side, I now had two perfect “ear holes” in my spearfishing wetsuit hood.

spearfishing with a wetsuit hood


Taking the new suit for a test run the next morning, I was suitably impressed. Opening the hood to the water above my ears made a massive difference in how easily I could equalize, and all my frustrations I’d had with the hood were now gone.

For me, I’d say this was the best choice. But burning holes in your wetsuit isn’t for everyone, and I’ve got another solution for you.

Ear plugs for spearfishing

Ear plugs. Or more specifically, ear plugs that have been designed with freedivers in mind, so they actually allow you to equalize properly while you’re spearfishing.

The only trick is finding the right size.

They work because they still let a tiny amount of water in to equalize the pressure, while stopping the normal flood you get when you dive. If you’ve got sensitive ears, or get uncomfortable when you’re spearfishing, give these ear plugs a try.

My best mate swears by them, and he also finds they create enough of a gap while wearing his hood that he doesn’t need to burn holes in it like I did. He can still equalize, so long as he has these ear plugs in. So that’s an option too.

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Ultimately, I want to remind everyone that their spearfishing wetsuit is simply a piece of spearfishing gear. It needs to be comfortable that’s for sure, fit well, and also not restrict anything you need to do (like equalize) when you’re spearfishing. If it’s not perfect, find a way to modify it to make it work, and get out there and start spearfishing.


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