Patagonia and Yulex introduce the first alternative to the traditional neoprene wetsuit.
Patagonia a leading designer of high end outdoor apparel and Yulex Corporation, a clean technology company announced today the introduction of a guayule-based wetsuit, a renewable biorubber that is the first alternative to traditional fossil-based Neoprene.
“When we started to build wetsuits we knew that neoprene, by nature of its production, was the most environmentally harmful part the product. Our initial approach was to use innovative materials (…) we quickly realized that we needed to create a new material that could be a true alternative to neoprene,” notes Jason McCaffrey, Patagonia’s Surf Director. “After four years of working together, Patagonia and Yulex have co-developed a unique material that allows us to make a wetsuit that is 60% guayule (plant) based. Our goal is to have the formula be 100% plant based. (…) This is just the first step; it’s our hope that other brands see this as interesting and join the effort to innovate and implement alternatives to traditional neoprene that is used in wetsuits.”
Yulex’s biorubber material is made from guayule, a renewable, non-food crop that requires very little water, is grown domestically in the US, uses no pesticides, and in comparison to traditional neoprene, has a very clean manufacturing process.
Initially, the new suits will be available in Japan only. In Spring 2013, surfers will be able to order custom suits out of Patagonia’s wetsuit facility in Ventura, CA, with a global rollout to follow.
Said Jeff Martin, CEO, president, and founder of Yulex Corporation. “Patagonia is guiding the action sports industry to a new level and setting an example for the importance of sustainable practices.”