The wetsuit market is saturated, yet Patagonia’s managed to cut through the noise with their trailblazing Yulex suits. These are the first Fair Trade Certified wetsuits on the market, which essentially means a third party non-profit audits Patagonia’s production process, ensuring that factory workers are paid a fair wage and environmental protection is a top priority.
Yulex isn’t traditional neoprene—an environmentally harmful petroleum-based material—it’s a natural rubber derived from renewable hevea trees. Patagonia claims that hevea-based production reduces CO₂ emissions by 80% per wetsuit—that’s a stat worth celebrating.
While sustainability is an admirable pursuit, surfers are performance-oriented, and there won’t be widespread adoption of sustainable alternatives unless they’re as good or better than traditional modes of production. We’ve had the pleasure of testing Yulex suits, from R1s in spring and summer in California to R4s in Canada and the Pacific Northwest in fall and winter. We just got our hands on the latest R3, and Patagonia has been stepping it up. We’ve always enjoyed Patagonia’s Yulex suits, but the most recent rendition is damn near flawless. It’s extremely warm and more comfortable against the skin than previous versions. We pushed our limits during heavy Nor Cal sessions, and the suit rarely flushed. Every seam has been holding up, even after a few road trips through Santa Cruz and San Francisco when rinsing was a rarity. We’ve been recommending these suits, and we’ll continue to do so, as they’re now better than ever.
They’re not the cheapest suits on the market, but you get what you pay for regarding warmth, quality, durability, and company ethics.
- Thickness: 4.5/3.5mm
- Neoprene: Yulex Natural Rubber/Synthetic Rubber
- Internal Lining: Recycled Polyester Jersey
- Seams: Sealed/Taped
- Zipper: Chest Zip
- Hood: None
- Model Year: 2020/2021
- Manufacturers Part Number: 88524