Second time's the charm for Yulex

Stu Nettle
Surfpolitik

In 2015, Patagonia released the first wetsuit made entirely from organic rubber, yet they also unwittingly set a test for their customers.

What sacrifices would surfers make to protect the environment?

The idea of a 100% organic wetsuit is a sound one as neoprene is nasty stuff, yet when it’s fashioned into a wetsuit it provides highly effective insulation to keep the occupant warm while stretching to fit their body.

Yulex was the name of the organic rubber used by Patagonia to challenge neoprene's dominance. The name a play on Guayule, the plant Yulex was derived from. As an insulator, Yulex was on par with neoprene. I know this because I wore a Patagonia Yulex steamer through the winters of 2015 and 2016 and it kept me toasty warm.

Yet as far as stretch went...well, this is where the test began.

How much movement and comfort were you prepared to sacrifice for the environment?

This was no hypothetical question. I expect everyone who wore a Yulex wetsuit circa 2015 asked themselves a version of the same question, and that’s because Yulex didn’t stretch like neoprene. Yes it was better for the environment, but no, it wasn’t as good to surf in. The degree of discomfort a sliding scale measuring your commitment to the cause.

Me, I always considered myself the kind of person prepared to make compromises, yet when it came time to update my steamer I looked elsewhere, which was a shame as just after I ditched Yulex some significant changes happened.

Guayule plants - proununced 'why-YOU-lee' - growing in Mexico

The story of Yulex rubber began in 2008 when Jeff Martin was working for a medical device company, part of his job being to search for new technologies and materials. He came across Guayule which grows in arid regions making it an ideal commercial crop - cheaper land, less water - and one that wasn’t reliant on slash and burn farming typical of tropical rubber plantations.

The company Martin worked for showed little interest in Guayule so he quit and formed Yulex, encouraged by Rose Macario, CEO of Patagonia, who funded further research and assured Martin he had a customer once the rubber was developed to a standard befitting the company. And rather than co-opt the product for themselves, Patagonia pledged to make it freely available to any wetsuit company who wanted a more environmentally friendly wetsuit.

Six years later, Patagonia began introducing Yulex panels into their wetsuits. In 2014, their steamers contained 60% Yulex, and by the next year - when I got my steamer - they were 100% Yulex. Yet by not being as comfortable as existing neoprene steamers they butted up against one of the immutable laws of capitalism: Being better for the environment isn’t enough, a product must also perform as well, or be cheaper, than whatever it replaces.

Yulex was neither of those things. It was stiffer, and owing to R&D and Yulex’s diminutive scale, it was also more expensive. I’ve no idea about Patagonia’s sales at the time, however a telling fact was that no other wetsuit company adopted Yulex in their suits.

Patagonia print ad from 2014 introducing Guayule Yulex and the company's pledge to make the rubber freely available. Tellingly, no other company took up the offer.

Most of the world’s natural rubber is sourced from the Hevea tree, which is native to South America but is now grown throughout the tropics in vast rubber plantations that are the root cause of much of the rainforest devastation in South East Asia. This fact initially nudged Martin in the direction of Guayule, however he pivoted towards Hevea when sustainable plantations became accessible in Guatemala and Sri Lanka, with promises of more to come.

Hevea proved a cheaper alternative, as Yulex didn’t have to grow the plantations, and, importantly, its elastic qualities matched those of neoprene - therefore abiding by the aforementioned law of capitalism. A few years after it initially launched Yulex, the company was allowed a second chance at a first impression, and they're finally getting a response from the market.

Ryan Scanlon is the founder of Needessentials, a company that, like Patagonia, recognises the contradictions of product consumption but nevertheless does their bit to reduce waste and harmful materials. All superfluous tags and inks are removed, raw materials are recycled wherever possible, Fair Trade boxes ticked, and when you order a product it arrives in a compostable bag. It ain’t perfect, critics will find something to criticise, and likewise Scanlon will find ways to improve his company’s act.

Right now, Yulex is playing a part in that.

Around the same time I was wearing my first Yulex steamer, Scanlon was also testing the product. “The early Guayule-based rubber had some limitations in comfort and stretch,” says Scanlon, echoing my own thoughts and likely many other product managers too.

“We were impressed with their endeavours to find a better option and respect Yvon Chouinard's vision,” continues Scanlon. “However, it’s important that innovation brings an improvement in the experience for the user and with new materials there needs to be a lot of time spent making sure it performs as well or better than its predecessor.”

Limestone neoprene provided a temporary solution, but convinced by the quality of modern Yulex, Needessentials ditched limestone and winter 2021 sees them release their first Yulex steamers with 4/3 and 3/2 versions. The rubber is unlike Yulex circa 2015, it feels and stretches exactly the same as traditional neoprene to the point where I’m convinced a blindtest could only be answered by guessing.

When it comes to surf companies using Yulex in their wetsuits, the first to the tape was Cheer wetsuits from South Australia. Their approach was a little different than Needessentials;. In 2015, when Patagonia released their first 100% Yulex suit, Cheer chose to use Hevea - making them also the first to use the organic rubber in their suits. However, a few years later when Yulex sourced FSC-approved Hevea plantations, Cheer moved over and began to use Yulex Hevea. In 2020 they even collaborated with OuterKnown creating a limited run of neoprene-free Hevea suits for Kelly Slater's company.

Of the large and long-established companies, Billabong is the first to introduce a Yulex model into their range. Last northern hemisphere winter, they released the Furnace Natural though they refrained from naming Yulex in their advertising, calling it instead a “hyper flexible super lightweight natural rubber”.

Scott Boot is BIllabong’s Global Director of Wetsuits and he’s been more open about the inclusion of Yulex, saying in a company video: “It’s a suit made out of natural rubber from Yulex. It’s very difficult to tell the difference between a chloroprene and a natural rubber suit these days…we’re at a performance stage now where it’s very difficult to tell the difference between the two.”

Cheer, Billabong, and Needessentials have precipitated a growing movement with an increasing number of brands also swapping out neoprene for organic rubber. To date, six companies include Yulex in their range: Cheer, Billabong, Needessentials, Finesterre, Seea, and new label Ansea who recently launched with Yulex wetsuits.

Says Sean Doherty from Patagonia, "It feels like a critical mass has been reached and we'll soon be seeing lots more Yulex suits." It certainly feels different than 2015 when Patagonia first unveiled Guayule-based Yulex, offering it to the world only to be roundly ignored.

The difference now is that the increased stretch of Hevea-based Yulex overcomes a rigid law of capitalism. The end result being consumers don't have to pass a commitment test when a greener option is on the table.

EDIT: The original version of this article stated that Cheer wetsuits used Hevea but not that it was sourced from Yulex. The timeline of Cheer's use of Hevea and Yulex has been corrected.

Comments

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain Friday, 21 May 2021 at 1:27pm


Hope this comes out- I have two R4's Hooded suits an old one and a new one, the new one I bought November last year. Both are really warm. What I can say in my experience is that the traditional rubber is way more flexible and comfortable than the Yulex one. Apart from being a bitch to get off and on, I just feel more constricted in the Yulex and the suit itself feels 'bulkier' even though they're both 5mm.

So much so that I'm actually thinking of shelving the new one and buying a regular rubber suit for next winter.

As for longevity, the old one was awesome, got 5 seasons out of it believe it or not. Can't really comment on the new one but I reckon it's going to last a long time because I don't want to wear the bloody thing anymore.

Anyway, my 2 cents.

btw- they're not cheap either.

Solitude's picture
Solitude's picture
Solitude Friday, 21 May 2021 at 1:29pm

Interesting story. Same sentiment here. Bought a Pata Yulex a few years ago trying to buy a greener product. Felt like shit: was itchy, stiff and was more of a workout to get out of than the surf I just had. Suffice to say that experiment didn’t last long.

Sounds like Yulex 2.0 might be worth a sniff.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 Friday, 21 May 2021 at 1:38pm

This is confusing.

I thought Yulex was the name of the plant used but it's the name of the company.

Is all the Yulex rubber now made from Havea?

what happens if companies start claiming natural/organic rubber but are using Havea rubber from plantations from cleared rainforests?

still seems a little murky to me.

No disrespect to the companies involved, just seeking clarifications.

And what is chloroprene? Is that another type of neoprene?

How does limestone neoprene compare to Havea?

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet Friday, 21 May 2021 at 1:49pm

Guayule is the plant that kicked it off.

Yulex still make some medical equipment from Guayule.

However, their wetsuit rubber is now all made from Hevea, which they changed to for the reasons in the article.

It's pretty easy to check for FSC approval. I mean most companies are pretty forthcoming on that, and consumers are pretty savvy these days too. I guess it would be possible for a company to create it from non-FSC plantations but they couldn't carry the approval nor call it Yulex.

Chloroprene is used to make neorprene. I think it's one step back from neoprene. I assume he used that word to hint or highlight that neoprene is made using chlorine.

Limestone doesn't use petroleum but it is extractive and non-renewable, and also energy intensive.

EDIT: TBH honest the article isn't as informative as I would've liked. A few people didn't get back to me about things and, appealing to the better side of human nature, I'll assume that's cos they were busy. However, a part of me suspects that some of the companies using Yulex want to keep a distance from Patagonia lest they be seen as copycats or simply riding on the coattails of Pata. Ryan Scanlon was the exception, but that's in keeping with the way he runs his business. - WYSIWYG.

I have a feeling that as time goes on and the Yulex/Patagonia origin story fades into the background, then more companies will adopt Yulex in their wetties.

stan1972's picture
stan1972's picture
stan1972 Friday, 21 May 2021 at 1:39pm

Needs Yulex suit = $325!

epictard's picture
epictard's picture
epictard Friday, 21 May 2021 at 1:56pm

Yeah, sounds like a great price for a full 3/2 steamer. All of their prices look very reasonable actually ... has anyone here owned / owns a Needs' wetsuit and has an opinion?

Messy's picture
Messy's picture
Messy Friday, 21 May 2021 at 2:29pm

I've got 2 (3/2 and 2.5 short arm), pretty good for the price I reckon and better than a recent big brand one I had, planning on getting a 4/3 when my other one wears out.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 Friday, 21 May 2021 at 2:37pm

I'm on my third LS Spring and just about to get another.
solid suits, good value.

I get between 2 and 3 seasons out of them.

got a pair of boardies that are 5 years old and unkillable.

tango's picture
tango's picture
tango Friday, 21 May 2021 at 3:06pm

I've got a 4yo 4/3 that still works fine (wore it today), a 2020 sealed 4/3 which is the warmest and most comfy suit I've ever owned, and recently bought a 2/2 steamer which I was hot in until the water got below 17. My wife has 4/3s and 3/2s and they're all good.
The Needs staff are all local Surf Coast crew and take good care of everyone who arrives at the door. Had a paddle with Ryan Scanlon at Angourie the other day....lovely bloke. Didn't twig to who he was til he went in.

FrazP's picture
FrazP's picture
FrazP Friday, 21 May 2021 at 3:31pm

I started off with their 3/2 steamer liquid taped, taped inside as well and lined. 3rd season now and still good nick. Now have a 4/3 steamer, 2mm springy, 2mm long arm spring and 2mm short sleeve steamer. Incredible value for money, comfy, well made and the steamers are toasty. I can have two great quality steamers of similar warmth etc. for the same price as one of the top RC, BBong etc. Nice to have that second suit which is dry for those cold mornings! One thing I notice with the limestone based wetsuits is they are a bit heavier dry, but lighter wet, and they seem to dry quicker.

hamishbro's picture
hamishbro's picture
hamishbro Saturday, 22 May 2021 at 6:25am

Wow Ryan Scanlon must be organically jizzing himself - all these comments on a core forum raving about his products! I’m sold! I get cold and need a new wettie... I’m in the market for a fully seam taped steamer - Do you reckon a 3/2 Needs will keep me warm in NSW anywhere north of Sydney? Or should I go a 4/3? I have previously used the latter regularly in the depths of winter.
ps I’ve used O’Neills for years, for some reason they kept me warm.

FrazP's picture
FrazP's picture
FrazP Saturday, 22 May 2021 at 10:07am

I'm in Sydney and surf 3 times plus a week. I feel the cold a lot and am a bit of a wooz. The 3/2 is fine for me all winter. It's as warm as any of the other top of the range wetties, such as the O'Neill Psyco tech. I have the 4/3 as well and use it a bit at home but more for down the coast. Remember with these wetties when they say 3mm - they are actually 3mm of rubber. A BB or RCurl will be about 2.5mm of actual rubber when they say 3mm, so the Needs are a touch thicker.

If I was to have a whinge - the steamers I have were made in China which I would prefer was not the case. Their other suits are made in Thailand.

The only wettie I have had that was materially warmer was a seventh wave from NZ - they custom make them for your shape and use the very highest quality Japanese limestone neoprene with a titanium lining - but they are $900 although you do get 4 or 5 seasons as they are so well made. Again they are 3mm thick when they say 3mm. If money was no object at all I'd get a seventhwave, but you can get 3 Needs to one of them.

hamishbro's picture
hamishbro's picture
hamishbro Saturday, 22 May 2021 at 1:24pm

That’s awesome, thanks FrazP.

Permafrost's picture
Permafrost's picture
Permafrost Monday, 24 May 2021 at 9:04am

The Needs 3/2 premium model with fur lining I got was 3.5mm/2mm, I found it was plenty warm enough for the coldest mornings in Sydney winter and winter trips to south coast. After one season the seals stopped keeping water out/in as well and it lost some warmth. Had the same thing with the first Needs steamer I got but even worse to the point I stopped wearing it after one season. I also have a wetty top from them which has been excellent for years. For steamers my experience is they are great value for money but compared to the more expensive 3/2 xcel and rip curl steamers I've owned they were less slightly less flexible, comfortable, and had less longevity on seals

josh.wright's picture
josh.wright's picture
josh.wright Tuesday, 25 May 2021 at 10:07pm

I echo this. My Needs 3/2 with the thermal lining was great for a year in Sydney but then the seals started loosening up around the wrists and ankles and it started leaking. In its second winter it’s not warm enough anymore. Granted I surf most days so that’s a factor in the rate of deterioration. It was very comfy though and the flexibility was/is great. I would buy another, but maybe a springy or short arm steamer for the warmer months.

I just bought a 3/2 O’Neill Psycho One for this winter. Wore it in Sydney today and it felt unreal. Wildly flexy. Actually too warm for current conditions tbh, and I generally feel the cold pretty fiercely.

I’ve also had a Patagonia springy in Yulex. Was great for two summers and then literally started falling apart. Again, I surfed in it flat out so that’s worth considering. Probably wouldn’t get one again though. I’d choose Needs over Pata.

Sam Mozaffari's picture
Sam Mozaffari's picture
Sam Mozaffari Saturday, 22 May 2021 at 6:18pm

my 3/2 need fell apart in only 6 weeks, worst wetty i've ever owned

ron's picture
ron's picture
ron Monday, 24 May 2021 at 9:40am

Did you warranty?

Sprout's picture
Sprout's picture
Sprout Friday, 21 May 2021 at 4:03pm

Have the 2mm thermal long arm springy it's great.

More tubes please's picture
More tubes please's picture
More tubes please Friday, 21 May 2021 at 6:22pm

Highly recommend Needs’ wetsuits and boardies! Great value and quality is as good as any of the $$$ brands

Chicinho's picture
Chicinho's picture
Chicinho Friday, 21 May 2021 at 6:53pm

Yeah I got a 4/3 quick fast in Sept after relocating to Italy. Was warm throughout winter in 6C water. (6mm booties help) It's got good range for temp. Quite a bit of wear on some of the seams but not bad for over 30/40 surfs in 6 months. And considering the price point! Bit restrictive on the shoulders so hopefully new tech will have the extra stretch you get with a techno butter or similiar.

memlasurf's picture
memlasurf's picture
memlasurf Saturday, 22 May 2021 at 8:41am

6 degree water temp that is nuts here is me whinging about 13. Go skiing.

Chicinho's picture
Chicinho's picture
Chicinho Monday, 24 May 2021 at 6:14pm

Ha I wish, 2kms from the beach when we couldn't leave the municipality with covid restrictions was part the reason. No crowds the other :)

Stuart Weir's picture
Stuart Weir's picture
Stuart Weir Friday, 21 May 2021 at 7:09pm

I have a needs 4/3 bought in 2020, a 3/2 I got recently for Autumn, one of their summer zip jackets and a 2mm spring suit with long legs - love all of them - the fit is great and the prices are hard to beat.

dandandan's picture
dandandan's picture
dandandan Friday, 21 May 2021 at 7:31pm

Been using a 4/3 with built in hood in Southern Tassie for close 3.5 seasons. Best wettie I've had. Warm, lasted ages, flexible enough, and I do kind of like not having any branding on the suit. Heaps of crew down here are in them these days. Can't imagine I'll ever bother with other wetsuits again.

Jason Beech's picture
Jason Beech's picture
Jason Beech Friday, 21 May 2021 at 8:02pm

Great wetsuits. I have a few and are all warm and comfortable.

dez's picture
dez's picture
dez Saturday, 22 May 2021 at 6:51am

Have brought all of my wetties from Need for years now. Never had a problem, always great value, good wetties!

The Fire's picture
The Fire's picture
The Fire Sunday, 23 May 2021 at 5:54pm

I own 2 need suits.
A 4/3 that is warm but stiff as fuck and..

A 3/2 that took 30 days to get to me in south oz..

Facepalm.

Tom Kenyon's picture
Tom Kenyon's picture
Tom Kenyon Monday, 31 May 2021 at 6:44pm

I've got two including a premium 4/3 chest zip. Great suit. I've had it for 3 years now and use it at least weekly Autumn through late Spring (South Australia). I have one of their entry level 3/2s for summer. also great. When I use the 4/3 with gloves, hood and booties I never get cold over winter. I'll keep buying them. I'm pleased to see them using the natural rubber.

garyg1412's picture
garyg1412's picture
garyg1412 Friday, 21 May 2021 at 2:10pm

Be interesting to see how it stacks up against the high end Yamamoto limestone neoprene for flexibility, warmth and durability. Once they get to that level and keep the cost within reach they'll start turning over an impressive amount of suits.

adsi's picture
adsi's picture
adsi Friday, 21 May 2021 at 7:11pm

I had a patagonia yulex spring suit few years back. Always gave me chafe, was uncomfortable, very durable though.
I've got an Isurus yamamoto 2:2 full suit i got in 2019 for winter (in byron shire) its comfortable, flexible and should get me through this season no worries, maybe even another.
It was $550 though, but i'd rather drop extra bit of coin on a good suit when i surf most days of the week.
Most importantly though, it's warm af. Equivalent to a 3;2 i'd say as most crew are in 3:2's when im in my 2:2 and im not cold.

tango's picture
tango's picture
tango Saturday, 22 May 2021 at 10:08am

I've also got a Pata l/s springy 85% yulex and it's 5yo and just starting to separate from the linking in places. But it's just as flexible as any other suit and comfy 101.

Surf Ads's picture
Surf Ads's picture
Surf Ads Friday, 21 May 2021 at 2:12pm

Have had my finger hanging over the purchase button for the Need Yulex for a couple of weeks now. Would also like to hear a review first too.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet Friday, 21 May 2021 at 2:20pm

The question comes up in the forums a fair bit, and gets a number of answers too. Check these threads for direct info:

https://www.swellnet.com/comment/494480

https://www.swellnet.com/forums/wax/350946

And Needs also comes up here:

https://www.swellnet.com/forums/wax/392028

https://www.swellnet.com/forums/wax/318941

ryder's picture
ryder's picture
ryder Friday, 21 May 2021 at 2:34pm

If you want to know what surfing like the Tinman is like then try a Hevea wetsuit.

And what has Rip Curl got in the pipeline Stu?

jasper99's picture
jasper99's picture
jasper99 Friday, 21 May 2021 at 2:40pm

I had a Needs 2mm steamer with thermal lining start of last winter here in SA (was waiting on another suit and it was all need had in my size at the time) and I found it to be really great. Zipper head is big and bulky but the fit and materials were fantastic. Can't comment on the Yulex but reckon next suit I'll grab one.Cheers

Leebo20's picture
Leebo20's picture
Leebo20 Friday, 21 May 2021 at 5:44pm

A Billabong wetsuit I bought years ago when they where being made by Neil Pryde? Was shit. Supposed to be the gold series BS or something.

I don't think Bong and all those old school companies deserve the business.

They haven't tried to make better materials, clothes or products over the years and just made mega profits off fairly ordinary stuff.

Would much rather support Patagonia or Need essentials etc that try and probably better product test than most of the big guys.

Again they might not be perfect. But at least they try to make a difference

haggis's picture
haggis's picture
haggis Friday, 21 May 2021 at 6:25pm

I’ve used a rip curl flashbomb 5/3 for years. Great suit. Only go quality. Got some need essentials boots. They are ok. Have bought Rip Curl wetties since 1988. Won’t change.

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain Friday, 21 May 2021 at 7:30pm

In fairness, I had a Bong Solution Platinum 4/3 quite a long time ago (the one with the fluffy lilac lining) and that was probably the best wettie I've ever had in terms fit, flex, warmth and durability. If they made them like that again I'd buy one in a heartbeat.

Leebo20's picture
Leebo20's picture
Leebo20 Friday, 21 May 2021 at 8:02pm

Glad you had a good run with yours Zen.
My gold one was the worst wettie I have ever owned.And it cost a fair bit too.
Poor cut etc.

vicbloke's picture
vicbloke's picture
vicbloke Saturday, 22 May 2021 at 8:11am

agree...wont go back and buy a Bong suit again. lasted a few seasons but wasn't that comfortable or warm

memlasurf's picture
memlasurf's picture
memlasurf Saturday, 22 May 2021 at 8:46am

Got a deal on there new graphene suit and it is a ripper. Billabong have come a long way sounds like.

Leebo20's picture
Leebo20's picture
Leebo20 Friday, 21 May 2021 at 6:00pm

Just went on the Need Essentials website.
They don't make shorts over 38" for fat bastards like me :)

etarip's picture
etarip's picture
etarip Friday, 21 May 2021 at 6:22pm

I bought a needs thermal 3/2 chest zip about 6 weeks ago. (They didn’t seem to have the yulex on the website when I bought)Ordered it Tuesday lunchtime, it was on my doorstep by Wednesday arvo. Great service.
Wettie is super warm, and very comfortable. Sizing was spot on. I haven’t been in particularly cold water / conditions yet. South coast NSW and then SW WA in late April.
Boardies are really good too.
First impressions - all good.

crg's picture
crg's picture
crg Friday, 21 May 2021 at 7:20pm

Needs 3/2 thermal lined steamer
Super warm and in good nick coming into its 4th winter

2mm l/s top
great as well, if anything too warm for pairing with boardies

2mm springy
Warm but a little difficult to get in and out and a bit of a nut smasher even though my height was in the size range

Overall a great product and service for the price and I thoroughly believe in the company ethos of saving the end price by removing all branding etc

And they support great surfers

nextswell's picture
nextswell's picture
nextswell Friday, 21 May 2021 at 9:53pm

Haven’t had a Patagonia suit but just bought my second need essentials wetsuit. Was disappointed in the 3/2 steamer I bought from them 2 winters back but gave them a second chance because I liked the idea of the company. The new 2mm long sleeve spring suit leaks like a bastard, same as the one from a few seasons back. Had good run with O’Neil in the past, looks like I will be going back that way in the future.

hairmick's picture
hairmick's picture
hairmick Friday, 21 May 2021 at 10:54pm

Used need suits for years and rate the quality and price highly. My suits are heavily used and poorly cared for so I'm not willing to pay $500+ for a suit that will generally only last 1 cold winter season. I would really like to buy a yulex suit but they only seem to be made in zipperless . I hope they extend their range to include zips (preferably a back zip for me). Then I'd definitely make the purchase.

morg's picture
morg's picture
morg Friday, 21 May 2021 at 11:21pm

These days I only use Needs wetsuits. They are good value, comfortable and the warm ones are warm. I had a problem with one streamer shortly after I bought it so I emailed them a photo and Ryan sent me a replacement. I highly recommend them.

david de Figueiredo's picture
david de Figueiredo's picture
david de Figueiredo Saturday, 22 May 2021 at 6:59am

All good! But, I noticed it's made in Thailand, why?

FrazP's picture
FrazP's picture
FrazP Saturday, 22 May 2021 at 10:15am

My needs steamers say they are made in China. Might have changed. My other needs suits - springs long leg, long arm and normal spring say they are made in Thailand. As I understand it, most of the brand suits are made in Thailand.

Leebo20's picture
Leebo20's picture
Leebo20 Saturday, 22 May 2021 at 3:32pm

The main brands have been made in China too

mibs-oner's picture
mibs-oner's picture
mibs-oner Saturday, 22 May 2021 at 7:55am

The Patagonia ad turned into a need Ad.

Leebo20's picture
Leebo20's picture
Leebo20 Saturday, 22 May 2021 at 9:22am

Just had a ad come up in my Facebook from a Project Blank mob.
Seem to have similar products but more in cost.
Looks like they have a front zip Yulex for the folks saying they don't like zipper less.
Don't know if they sponsor anyone though. Doubt they would have anyone as good as Torren.
They only go up to 36" in shorts for the fat bastards out there.

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo Saturday, 22 May 2021 at 4:24pm

Stu mentions Project Blank here
https://www.swellnet.com/forums/wax/515362

Leebo20's picture
Leebo20's picture
Leebo20 Monday, 24 May 2021 at 12:21am

Interesting reads

OHBILLY's picture
OHBILLY's picture
OHBILLY Monday, 24 May 2021 at 11:11am

I've got the MENS 3/2MM ECO RECYCLED STEAMER from Project Blank.

I've had a few surfs in it now. The only issue I have with it is that they carried the same material inside the wetsuit up into the inside of the collar. E-Bombs have that nice stuff on the inside that's good to your neck. Yesterday I surfed for 3 hours and my neck was pretty raw.
That is the ONLY thing I have against this wetty. I'll be sending them feedback on it thought because I think sustainable surfing equipment is the way forward as surfers and all we can do is provide the feedback to these companies to help them build better products for us.

Link to wettie: https://projectblank.com.au/products/mens-3-2-recycled-steamer?variant=3...

Leebo20's picture
Leebo20's picture
Leebo20 Saturday, 22 May 2021 at 12:45pm

Be good to see Needs do a Eco legrope & deck pads aswell.
Other companies have done them in the past Wavetribe? and I think the reports where they worked well.

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo Saturday, 22 May 2021 at 3:50pm

Deck pads Eco i understand [cork] or these https://magicseaweed.com/news/introducing-dakines-eco-friendly-deckpads/...
Eco legrope there talking shit !

Leebo20's picture
Leebo20's picture
Leebo20 Saturday, 22 May 2021 at 4:20pm

No, WaveTribe did a recycled legrope and cork deck grips

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo Saturday, 22 May 2021 at 5:13pm
Leebo20's picture
Leebo20's picture
Leebo20 Saturday, 22 May 2021 at 6:52pm

They said they used recycled plastic, just like this Revolwe mob
Except Revolwe looks like they've gone a step further with the Yulex strap.
Good step in the right direction.
Thanks for the info

yeti's picture
yeti's picture
yeti Friday, 4 Jun 2021 at 3:53pm

I use this http://www.smartleashco.com/
Happy with it.

Leebo20's picture
Leebo20's picture
Leebo20 Saturday, 22 May 2021 at 4:25pm

Looks like they don't make the leash or cork deck grip anymore but still do the hemp board bags.

Leebo20's picture
Leebo20's picture
Leebo20 Saturday, 22 May 2021 at 4:29pm

I recently bought deck grip from Slater's company for my skimboard that's apparently made from algae

Leebo20's picture
Leebo20's picture
Leebo20 Sunday, 23 May 2021 at 12:13pm

Only disappointment with the Slater grip was the adhesive wasn't great. Starting peeling back already.

Schreinermeister's picture
Schreinermeister's picture
Schreinermeister Saturday, 22 May 2021 at 8:17pm

Pretty amazing Needs can somehow do a suit half the price of a Patagonia.
I'd be surprised if the quality was comparable, but I'll happily be proven wrong.
I've had plenty of Needs gear and I always said, pragmatically, you get what you pay for. Boardies are great. Wetsuits are fine, but don't last more than two seasons in my experience.

I'm definitely gonna throw my coin behind the company that does the heavy lifting (in all areas) and has impeccable quality and customer service. Fingers crossed these suits work this time.

joesydney's picture
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joesydney Monday, 24 May 2021 at 10:53am

Hmm I wore those boardies in the Ments every day on a boat trip and they made my legs look like raw meat. The inner layer was way too rough.....in retrospect I would have sprung for the Flexi and smooth shorts. I also had a vest from Needs that fell apart on the same trip after a week.

Agree that you get what pay for

MrBrown's picture
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MrBrown Saturday, 22 May 2021 at 9:35pm

https://srface.com/what-is-limestone-neoprene/
note section "Eco Friendly Neoprene" and why this company is staying with limestone based neoprene.

https://yulex.com/about-us/
YULEX company product production /manufacturing locations and also the "about us " statement with terms such as "scaled up" "largest rubber producer" "for global production and consumption" and the last paragraph--does that mean more "plantations" created by clearing of native vegetation?

https://yulex.com/sustainability/
How's all the seedlings ? Where are they going to be planted ? On some cleared forest ?
Seems to be a lot of clever environmentally sustainable certified eco friendly marketing spiel happening on the yulex site.
My bulldust radar is twitching on this one again just as it was first time round.

Leebo20's picture
Leebo20's picture
Leebo20 Saturday, 22 May 2021 at 10:02pm

Still have to mine Limestone which is normally on coastal environments. Do they mine it for production?
Limestone production requires heat also.
Gas, or electricity to produce?
Everything has a side affect.
Still probably better than full petroleum though.

Ray Shirlaw's picture
Ray Shirlaw's picture
Ray Shirlaw Saturday, 22 May 2021 at 9:56pm

I dont understand ...why just because the gear has no obvious logo or branding,it can retail for so much cheaper? Is it made with cheaper labour(doubt it) or are other brands just Marked Up to the f##ck?

morg's picture
morg's picture
morg Sunday, 23 May 2021 at 4:33pm

Simple answer is that the major brands can and do charge more. They have a bigger profit margin. Years ago a mate worked for one of the three major surf co’s at that time and the manufacturer price in China was 1/13 (yes one thirteenth) of the Australian retail price. That sounds a lot greedier than it actually is, as there’s transport, storage, gst etc that needs to be factored in.

Leebo20's picture
Leebo20's picture
Leebo20 Monday, 24 May 2021 at 8:17am

Thanks for the link UDO to the other post. Very interesting.

Unbelievable about Shecio. Totally didn't know about them or how many brands they look after.

Sounds like Stu may have nailed in on thickness with the Isurus 2mm being like a 3/2.

Obviously might not cut it for the deep south, but maybe their 3mm has the qualities of an old 4mm?

Wonder how the Isurus 2mm Stu mentions compares to the new Patagonia R1? Also a 2mm suit?

Any thoughts, comments?

Patagonia is a lot cheaper

Leebo20's picture
Leebo20's picture
Leebo20 Monday, 24 May 2021 at 9:25am

Wonder if we'll see Spinifex resin used in the future for surf products?

https://www.abc.net.au/news/science/2018-08-15/nanotechnology-spinifex-d...

Be a good opportunity for aboriginal employment.

Would sort of fit with Patagonia's missions?

Leebo20's picture
Leebo20's picture
Leebo20 Monday, 24 May 2021 at 3:10pm

Grows in harsh climates. Is abundant.

Doesn't clear limited rainforest.

Stronger than steel

82shoes's picture
82shoes's picture
82shoes Monday, 24 May 2021 at 9:52am

Isurus is the best wetty I've ever had (50 years surfing)
I own a short sleeve steamer, long sleeve steamer and top.
They're light, warm flexible, and Greg McKinley is a great guy and did the right thing when i had an issue with my first wetty top.
Well worth the money, as you get older comfort and warmth become priority

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain Monday, 24 May 2021 at 11:34am

Interesting reading in this thread. In regards to Needs sounds like they can be a bit hit and miss in terms of fit, quality and longevity.

Those Isurus suits sound good and based on my experience I probably won't buy another Patagonia in Yulex again, or at least a 5mm one anyway. I'll stick with normal rubber.

One thing I will say is Patagonia suits last. I have an R1 springy still in great nick, have to be seven or eight years old now. Having said that I probs only get about six weeks a year in a springy then It's full suits for the remainder.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet Monday, 24 May 2021 at 12:28pm

Slightly OT, but two years back I did a trip to outer Indo and when I arrived I realised I only packed the boardies I was wearing, and with no shops, leave alone surf shops, within cooee I had to surf, eat, sleep, ride, bathe, climb, surf etc etc in the same pair of boardies for two weeks straight.

Unbelievably I got no rash or crotch rot. They were Patagonia Lopez boardies and they're still going strong.

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain Monday, 24 May 2021 at 1:13pm

I'm happy to pay a bit extra for Patagonia cause they do make good gear. My wife is a bit of a brand person (Asian chicks like brands?!) and buys all my clothes for me cause I hate shopping. I'm practically a walking endorsement of the brand. I have one pair of their boardies and they're really comfortable and well made. Their snow gear is excellent too.

clif's picture
clif's picture
clif Monday, 24 May 2021 at 6:14pm

Srface now do Yulex suits. Albeit, only 4/3 at this point as coming into summer. I think they will have the 5mm+ in it as autumn rolls around.

Again, using NEED suits in serious cold water is very hit and miss. Their thicker suits leak and fall apart (anecdotal across about a dozen crew who all have had one or two).

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 Monday, 24 May 2021 at 6:27pm

What’s the most reliable choice for cold water Clif?

clif's picture
clif's picture
clif Tuesday, 25 May 2021 at 12:37am

Depends how much money you got haha.

Custom suit in UK from Snugg is great. They last a long time and they do repairs. So, the longevity of them is great. People get many years out of them. They use Yamamoto. Bullet proof.

Srface are new to the market, more affordable, and proving to be very good quality. Everyone so far is really happy with them, but we do find them not as flexible as some others but super durable. Bullet proof.

Both the above brands have stood up to the many reefs here, lots of piss, lots of hurried pulling and tugging in freeeeeeeezing conditions, scrambling on your ass down cliffs, etc. The go to for many crew now.

Oneill and Xcel are popular (Oneill being the most flexible), but quality dropped. Lots of complaints. C-skin get a run but not much better in terms of longevity. NeedEssentials have been OK for a few mates down south but in this neck of the woods - well, fail. Funnily enough, Billabong suits - Furnace series - have been the surprise package. Really good. Go figure. Same factory as others, I think. Rip Curl get a big push through the main shop - but last as long as 2 x blinks. PataGucci are only on the reps haha. Same with Finisterre. All the brands have die hard fans but even they umm and ahhh now. Many people I surf with who wear these brands resign themselves to a new suit each year or close enough (if they surf regularly).

You have to have a class suit because it is so bloody cold. No messing about or you won't be having fun.

I want to start my own brand called Toasty Toasty lol.

The first two are most reliable. I have bought a lot of suits trying to get it right - spent a lot of money. As has everyone around me. This is how I see it.

You going to join us for a frozen surf? lol

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 Tuesday, 25 May 2021 at 5:50am

no mate. But I will toast your fortitude.

done my cold water surfing, fuk that noise.

Clam's picture
Clam's picture
Clam Tuesday, 25 May 2021 at 2:29pm

The latest R1 patagonia full suits are very good wetty- Very flexible !
Have been wearing patagonia for 7-8 years and I've never had a problem with the flexibility and they last about 3 times longer than the most flexible suits from top brands. They are Excellent!
In my opinion the patagonia wetsuits have become better, more flexible / comfortable and environmentally friendly since 2012 , when I wore the first suits.
I love patagonia especially for the consideration of the environment!

simba's picture
simba's picture
simba Tuesday, 25 May 2021 at 4:55pm

clam ..are you sponsored by patagonia?

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo Tuesday, 25 May 2021 at 4:59pm

Ha exactly how i read it

milesp's picture
milesp's picture
milesp Wednesday, 26 May 2021 at 4:32pm

I'm heading into my 3rd winter with a 2019 Patagonia Yulex 3/2 steamer on the Coal Coast. Sure there are more flex suits, but what I like is that the seams are still water tight and no leaks. I suspect this is probably more difficult to achieve with supper flex neoprene. My previous RC Flashbomb, Xcel and O'Neil steamers all ended up leaky after a season. In terms on enviro claims - it's lifespan that makes a significant difference. 3 seasons in the same wetty (even if its made made out petro-chems) is going to better than an 'eco' wetty that is thrashed and trashed after one winter and replaced. Good for sales, but not ultimately fo the environment.

groundswell's picture
groundswell's picture
groundswell Wednesday, 26 May 2021 at 5:14pm

Ive got a new need essentials back zip with batwing and thermal quickdry panels on torso.(xl short) Goes great, toasty fits perfect..i also have a 3 year old chest zip 3/2 (large fits too tight to my 79kg body)but the water temp here is still 24'c late may...have only had one 2'c morning so far this autumn the day after cyclone seroja when jakes was pumping. needessentials in 3/2 are great but i think Clif said 5mm suits and bigger get leaks..not sure how cold water will get this year but so far i could have gotten away with a 2mm steamer or short arm..desert winds get chilly but waters still warm.
I dont get out there as often as i should so cant comment on durability as i only surf 2x a week or less, i only surf if its perfect and not many out.
Got to say im so glad need e, brought out a quick drying suit...wish they made them 20 years ago when i surfed a lot better and more often with trips all over the south coast NSW regularly.rolling a wet wetty in a towel was the trick (almost dry before second surf in the day)but two or three steamers was a better trick. Now i only need one.

2stroke's picture
2stroke's picture
2stroke Thursday, 27 May 2021 at 6:35pm

Bought a Needessentials 3/2 steamer from the Byron store in jan. 2020 for about $250. Every bit as good and as warm as the big brands and half the price. My next wetsuit investment will definitely be with Needessentials.

Chris Peel's picture
Chris Peel's picture
Chris Peel Thursday, 3 Jun 2021 at 10:20am

Epic read Stu!

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo Sunday, 6 Jun 2021 at 5:32pm