Wetsuits: getting 100 percent guayule

The world's first wetsuit made from plants will hit the market in Spring 2013. Patagonia and Yulex have developed a wetsuit made from guayule, a new botanical, sustainable source of natural rubber.

Guayule is a renewable bio-rubber that is the first alternative to traditional fossil-based neoprene. It requires very little water and is grown domestically in the US.

"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 percent guayule-based", explains Jason McCaffrey, Patagonia's surf director.

"Our goal is to have the formula be 100 percent plant-based."

"Our initial approach was to use innovative materials, like wool, that are highly insulating and allowed us to use as little neoprene as possible."

"But we quickly realized that we needed to create a new material that could be a true alternative to neoprene," he adds.

Guayule uses no pesticides and, in comparison to traditional neoprene, has a very clean manufacturing process.

In Spring 2013, surfers will be able to order custom suits out of Patagonia's wetsuit facility in Ventura, California, with a global rollout to follow.

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