A wetsuit without neoprene which still keeps you warm? Some of you might be skeptical. However, also natural rubber and recycled polyester do an excellent job – Let’s have a look at the french producer Soöruz and his sustainable wetsuits …
In some surf spots of this world a good wetsuit is your best friend: wetsuits can protect us not only from wind, but also from ice cold water temperatures. Hours of surfing, even in extreme conditions, can get bearable. For a long time there was no alternative material to the classic neoprene, because it was the only material which could offer this comfort and quality for a good price.
Goodbye neopren, hello sustainability
Neoprene has many advantages: the elasticity, the flexibility, the light weight, the cheap production costs, and of course the isolation – such characteristics are ideal for a material used for watersports. The disadvantages don´t seem so many, however for people who mind about environmental topics there is one big drawback: Like all synthetic materials neoprene is made out of 100% petroleum/fossil fuels. This implies the fact that those wetsuits are produced in a toxic and energy-consuming process and cannot be disposed in a natural way after their product life.
Fortunately in the last years the awareness for environmental protection has grown within the surfing community and the demand for an alternative to a neoprene wetsuit increased. Producers of sports equipment thus started to experiment with natural materials and offered the first options of (more) sustainable wetsuits. The French manufacturer Soöruz is one of the few who managed to develop a wetsuit mainly made from natural materials.
Natural rubber as the best solution
Soöruz spent many years on researching to find an environmental friendly material which could substitute the neoprene in a satisfying way. The successful result is their patented „Naturalprene©“, which is made out of 100% ecological materials and has very similar characteristics to neoprene. Naturalprene© is a natural rubber made out of latex – a milky fluid- from the bark of the Hevea tree, planted on farms in Malaysia.
Another material Soöruz uses is the “Limestone Neoprene”: with natural limestone chemical products are reduced during the manufacturing process. Although it is not as ecological friendly as Naturalprene©, Limestone has a quite good price-performance-ratio and is therefore another convenient alternative to the artificial Neoprene.
Recycling, Upcycling and 2nd Life
Apart from using ecological materials, the French producer applies also some other environmental friendly methods: Soöruz uses up to 45 old plastic bottles in a newly created wetsuit – an exemplary recycling initiative for PET bottles. Furthermore, Soöruz gives old, worn out wetsuits a second life, through upcycling! The old material is used to create new items, like “wax pockets”.
If you are interested in this producer and want to know more about them and their environmental friendly products, then check out all the information on their website. What we like about Soöruz is simply the fact that they are opting for environmental protection through a wide approach and are therefore an exemplary case showing that surf equipment can be sustainable.
And fortunately this producer is not the only one which cares about sustainability – which other options for sustainable surf materials there are out there and what to know about them, we will tell you soon on our platform. Keep tuned!