DESIGNING A WORLD CLASS WETSUIT BEGINS WITH THE WORLD’S BEST NEOPRENE
TWO KEY POINTS IN THE RESEARCH
- Great wetsuit performance begins with superior neoprene.
- Not all neoprene is the same.
During our research it became evident that Yamamoto neoprene, is widely recognized as the most advanced neoprene available. Yamamoto neoprene dominates the market for high end triathlete wetsuits with 90% marketshare where lightweight and ultra flexible warm material is critical for competitive swim times. No serious triathlete uses a wetsuit that is not made from Yamamoto.
A SUPERIOR NEOPRENE
Yamamoto is made entirely from closed-cell neoprene using a proprietary manufacturing process that makes the material out of limestone and not petroleum. The material is 98% hydrophobic, meaning it doesn’t absorb water. Yamamoto’s closed-structure possesses elasticity or the ability of the material to return to its original shape after repeated wearings (that is not found in open-cell neoprene). It also makes it super warm, lightweight and thin.
THE ISSUE WITH TRADITIONAL NEOPRENE
For the last 50 years, neoprene wetsuits have been made from petroleum-based rubber that is injected with nitrogen to create an “open cell” thermal barrier against the cold.
The problem with open-cell neoprene is:
- It absorbs up to 80% of its weight in H2O. Think of a kitchen sponge. Water absorption which adds weight and requires additional body heat to warm the excess water.
- Open cell neoprene deteriorates quite rapidly compared to closed-cell neoprene primarily due the inherent weakness in the cell structure. The cell walls are connected to other cells by thin walls that weaken after repeated usage and the neoprene loses its thermal and hydrophobic properties (ability to not absorb H2O).
Yamamoto’s 90% Market Share in Triathlete Wetsuits
- Super Lightweight & Low H2O Absorption
- High Heat Insulation and Warmth
- Super Low Modulus of Stretch with Optimum Recovery
- Outstanding Durability– Uniform Closed Cell Structure
If Yamamoto Neoprene Is So Good Why Isn’t Everyone Using It?
Traditional neoprene is cheap to make. Many believe that if the traditional wetsuit manufacturers switched to Yamamoto neoprene profits would be impacted.
Instead the traditional manufacturers have attempted to develop their own lower cost alternatives.
In spite of marketing claims, the fact is Yamamoto imitators lack the unique performance properties that makes 100% Yamamoto neoprene so thin, light, flexible and super warm. While still maintaining excellent elasticity after months of use.
Why Current Wetsuits Deteriorate
The new super high stretch wetsuits being marketed to surfers have developed a reputation for breaking down prematurely.
SALTWATER ATTACKS THE OPEN CELL NEOPRENE
The less dense neoprene (open-cell structure) in these wetsuits soak up saltwater like a kitchen sponge. It is the abrasive, corrosive salt particles that dry into the cell structure of the open-cell neoprene which causes the wetsuit to weaken.
SUB-OPTIMAL WETSUIT PANEL DESIGN
The more panels designed into a wetsuit the easier it is to create flexibility, but it comes at a cost. The more panels, seams and joints in a wetsuit the more potential failure points. As the open cell neoprene deteriorates, the seams and joints weaken, particularly in the high stress areas. The suit loses the nice fit it had when your tried it on in the shop, the seams blow out and neoprene tears.
Advantage of Closed-cell Neoprene
Isurus wetsuits are designed with Yamamoto neoprene. It is a high quality closed-cell neoprene that is 98% hydrophobic. The closed cell structure of the Yamamoto material prevents the saltwater from penetrating the neoprene and weakening the cell structure.
SUPER ELASTICITY WITH OPTIMUM RECOVERY
The Yamamoto material has exceptional stretchability with optimum cell recovery (elasticity ). That enables the suit to maintain a snug athletic fit long after other neoprene has broken down.
ANATOMICAL PANEL DESIGN DRASTICALLY REDUCES STRESS ON SEAMS
ISURUS panel design minimizes the number of panels and seams while still providing optimum range of motion for the athlete. The result is less stress on critical failure points.
We know that nothing lasts forever. However, a well designed and constructed wetsuit made of high quality material that is taken care of will last significantly longer.