Patagonia Yulex/Nexkin R3 Wetsuit
$549 at Patagonia.com
Patagonia has made wetsuits for awhile, but they weren’t ever particularly comfortable with relying on traditional neoprene, which is made from petroleum, and is fairly nasty, environmentally-speaking. Recently the company hit on making wetsuits from Yulex, a plant-based rubber made from the guayule bush. Guayule is an easy-to-grow desert shrub that requires little water, is produced without pesticides, and unlike petroleum, is completely renewable. Patagonia has worked with the material for a few years, and has finally released a line of wetsuits that use 60 percent Yulex and 40 percent traditional neoprene.
In ad campaigns for the Patagonia Yulex suit, you’ll often hear people say that the material feels no different at all from regular neoprene. That’s not at all true: Yulex suits are much softer and more comfortable than their traditional cousins. It’s the cashmere of wetsuit material. Do you like wearing cashmere? Yes. Yes you do.
The Yulex is coated with a shiny rubber material called Nexkin that helps keep wind from penetrating the suit, and it does, but it also gives the Yulex a ’70s dive-suit aesthetic. It’s a bit tougher to take one of these suits off because the Nexkin is such a grippy, sticky rubber and it clings to itself mightily. But it’s a small price to pay.
Although, about that price, yeah, it’s expensive. But the suits are premium quality and a revolution in sustainable surf tech.