Six new innovations in wetsuit technology that will change the way you swim and surf.
Wetsuit technology is constantly changing to improve the water experience. Suits have come a long way from their uncomfy, soggy, inflexible, and environmentally unfriendly past. Here are six new kinds of wetsuit technology you need know to about to make your surfing, swimming, and water-rescue experience warmer, dryer, and more environmentally friendly.
Wetsuits can now be made from sustainable materials and not just the standard oil-based neoprene of the past. Patagonia has worked with Yulex, an agricultural-based biomaterials company to develop the Patagonia Yulex R2 Front-Zip. The suits are made from guayule plants, which Yulex states is a sustainable, industrial crop that does not compete with food or fiber crops.
Never be cold again. You can now surf or swim in colder waters thanks to high-tech suit linings that better trap heat. Look at Xcel, who uses Thermo Dry Celliant (TDC), a technology with mineral enhanced smart fibers where body heat is recycled into infrared energy and directed back into the skin and muscle.
Tired of that soggy wetsuit? Quick dry linings from Xcel and flash lining from Ripcurl cut down the wait for the suit to dry. In addition, the lining also makes the suit warmer, though it may make it a little less flexible.
Worried about sharks? Swim safer with suits made from technology developed by SAMS (Shark Attack Mitigation Systems). The new suits, developed by Radiator, are designed with a special striped pattern that either hides the wearer in the water column, or makes the wearer not look like shark prey.
New tech is making suits more buoyant, improving the water rescue and disabled swimmer experience. Designed by Airtime Watertime, the Floater™ suit has a patented panel built into the suit to make the swimmer float higher in the water, allowing the user to swim faster with half the effort, or to float and tread water with no effort.
Future wetsuit tech will be inspired by nature. MIT researchers have developed new materials to perfect wetsuits, modeled after beavers. The new materials will be lighter, more sustainable, warmer, and dryer than neoprene wetsuits, and will help you shed water more easily. While no suits have been manufactured yet, Sheico Group and Patagonia are looking into the new technology.
Kyle Crocco is the Director of Content Marketing for Airtime Watertime and holds a Ph.D. from UC Santa Barbara.