Patagonia Neoprene free wetsuit

Patagonia will be launching its line of sustainable wetsuits world wide next July. Ramon Navarro surfs Punta de Lobos, Chile in a Patagonia wetsuit. Photo: Patagonia

Patagonia just announced the company is launching the first ever neoprene-free wetsuit which will be available next fall.

The new wetsuit will be made out of a natural plant-based rubber developed by Patagonia's partners at Yulex and Forest Stewardship Council.

“Surfers and wetsuit manufacturers – including Patagonia – have relied on neoprene for years, despite the fact that it's a non-renewable, petroleum-based material with an energy-intensive manufacturing process,” Hub Hubbard, product line manager for Patagonia's wetsuits said in a press release. “Neoprene is nasty stuff, but for a long time we had no alternative. Through our partnership with Yulex, we’ve invested in a plant-based game-changer and built it into our entire wetsuit line – saying goodbye to neoprene forever.”

Company representatives said the new material outperforms Patagonia's traditional wetsuits and is extremely durable.

The new material will also reduce the company's carbon footprint in the manufacturing process.

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The natural rubber produces 80 percent less carbon dioxide emissions than traditional neoprene.

The plant comes from a hevea plantation, which is certified by the Rainforest Alliance, which ensures environmentally sustainable practices are used.

Patagonia and Yulex will share their innovations with other companies to create a shift towards cleaner manufacturing with better materials in the surf industry.

They have been working since 2008 to make sustainable wetsuits.

“Yulex could not have found a better partner in Patagonia to champion this breakthrough for the surf industry. The collaboration between our companies has been an example of how sustainable products can be brought to customers without sacrificing performance and cost competitiveness,” Jeff Martin, founder & CEO of Yulex Corporation said.

The new suits will debut in March 2016 in Australia with six full suits.

In July 2016, all 21 suits will be available in North America, Europe and Japan.

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