Never let it be said that Patagonia doesn’t listen to customer feedback. After fielding complaints that its wetsuits were too hot for semi-tropical waters, the outdoor-apparel manufacturer engineered the lighter-weight R1 wetsuit in both men’s and women’s styles. Manufactured from limestone-based neoprene and recycled polyester fleece, the new suit features the highest recycled content of any wetsuit on the market, according to Patagonia—a surfing industry first.
“Feedback from surfers all over the world was that our current suits were just too warm,” Jason McCaffrey, Patagonia director of surf, says in a press release. “We figured that if we took everything we knew about building suits for cold water and applied it to warm water while maintaining the attention to detail that makes our suits best in class, we could offer a suit that doesn’t currently exist in the market.”
Clad almost entirely in the textile, the R1 is lined in a blend of recycled polyester and spandex.
Among the options the company considered was bamboo, although the material was subsequently dismissed because of its heavy use of chemical solvents, of which only 50 percent are recovered. Recycled polyester, on the other hand, is a clean, low-energy-intensive fiber to use and make, it says.
Clad almost entirely in the textile, the R1 is lined with a blend of recycled polyester and spandex. Its core is insulated, but the arms and legs are unencumbered for better paddling flexibility (a feature requested by the company’s surf ambassadors). Like Patagonia’s wool-lined wetsuits, the warm-weather version is hand-stitched inside and out.
“With the R1 you have a much thinner wetsuit, but it is still really warm,” says Chris Malloy, one of the aforementioned ambassadors. “The suit is super flexible, and it is perfect for spots in California, Hawaii, and Australia where you are not dealing with frigid conditions.”