For people who love to surf, having a good wetsuit can make all the difference. For many years, wetsuits were made using neoprene, which is a material that offers many benefits in terms of body protection, temperature control, flexibility and comfort. However, something that many surfers didn’t know is that neoprene is a chemical compound derived from fossil fuels. This means that traditional wetsuits have, in one way or the other, contributed to the pollution of the environment.
Emergence of Eco Wetsuits
In recent years, new innovations and more awareness of the high-energy processes involved in neoprene production have led to the production of more eco-friendly wetsuits that perform just as well as traditional wetsuits in keeping you warm and comfortable while surfing. The emergence of eco wetsuits has prompted many companies to look for alternative materials that can offer as many benefits as neoprene, but without the undesired effects on the environment.
1. CarbonBlack Neoprene
CarbonBlack Neoprene is one of the materials that is quickly replacing neoprene in the manufacturing of wetsuits. This material is made from post-consumer scrap tires. The rubber tires are shredded and put through a series of chemical processes to convert them into a black carbon powder. This carbon powered is then combined with neoprene chips made from limestone. The end result is CarbonBlack neoprene sheets that are cut into different sizes to make a variety of swimming and surfing wetsuits.
2. Earth-mined Limestone
Another innovative material used in eco wetsuits is earth-mined limestone or limestone neoprene. Limestone neoprene is one of the ingredients used in the aforementioned CarbonBlack neoprene eco wetsuits. With better flexibility and highly effective temperature control properties than you’ll find in traditional wetsuits, limestone neoprene is extracted from the earth and is much more eco-friendly than petroleum-derived neoprene. Earth-mined limestone extraction has a significantly lower carbon footprint than fossil fuel extraction.
3. Recycled Materials
While many companies are focused on finding eco neoprene substitutes that are in large derived from the neoprene material itself, there are specific groups looking into other completely new materials like polyester.
While standard polyester is made from fossil fuel products, some of the best eco wetsuits now use polyester materials from recycled post-consumer products like plastic bottles. Using recycled materials is an innovation that helps reduce the pressure on natural resources. Currently, the world has an abundance of plastics that pollute our waterways and oceans. Putting these waste materials into good use by recycling them and transforming them into products that we can use in daily life (like wetsuits) can go a long way in conserving the environment and saving Mother Nature.
4. Dope-dyed Yarn
In order to save water and energy, some companies are now utilising an innovative dope-dying technique, which is the process of dying yarn to a variety of colours to form a fabric, as opposed to dying yarn as a whole after weaving it into the fabric. Pigmenting the fabrics before knitting helps to increase efficiency and reduce pollution because the colour fastness is greatly enhanced and is less vulnerable to UV fading.
5. Solvent-free Glues
Last but not least, another eco wetsuit innovation that has gained a lot of traction in recent years is solvent-free glues. Solvent-free glues allow the same level of bonding strength as standard solvent glues, without the negative effects on the environment. By eliminating the use of Volatile Organic Compounds in the production of traditional solvent glues, the process of manufacturing wetsuits becomes more eco-friendly. This is a simple but effective way of making the construction, manufacturing and production of surfing wetsuits cleaner and more earth-friendly.
These are just some innovations and measures being taken by various industry players to make wetsuits more eco-friendly.
At Beachin Surf, we offer a wide variety of surfing essentials. We have surfboards, wetsuits, board bags, clothing, footwear, accessories and surf hardware. We are more than happy to help you with your surfing journey.
For all your surfing essentials, please visit us at 262 Maine Road, Toukley, NSW. You can also call ahead to make sure we are there to assist you properly.
Please call us today on (02) 4396 5159 or feel free to send us an inquiry.