Surfers may be at the forefront of environmentalism in the ocean, but we also need some of the most toxic materials to make our passion happen. Wetsuits, made of neoprene, are one of the worst of these, they are oil derived and are also hard to recycle after years of salt exposure (we will come to that thought). The most obvious thing to do is to replace it as a material, and it’s exactly what Patagonia have been working on in their Yulex suit. Already available in Australia, this winter will see the first all natural Yulex suit hit European shores. This is nothing short of a revolution. Not only is it eliminating the need for an oil based raw material, but it also cuts out between 70 and 80% of the co2 required to make a suit so it is a win win. Of course suits are judged on warmth and flexibility, and it doesn’t matter what you want from an environmental point of view, these elements have to be there as well. Hopefully we’ll get to test one in the autumn and we can report back.
In the meantime check out Patagonia’s short films to find out more about the process, and the really great thing is, Yulex is not a Patagonia thing, any brand can use it and ditch neoprene.
The Full Yulex Suits
The Blend Yulex/Neoprene Suits