After testing Patagonia’s first-ever completely neoprene-free R1 a couple years ago, we called it the ‘Tesla of wetsuits’, an impressive synergy of design, craftsmanship, and eco-innovation. But only now do we fully appreciate that comparison given its obvious — though, little discussed — shortcomings. Yulex 1.0 was by almost all accounts — including our own and of those who designed it — not nearly as flexible as neoprene.
Yet, that was a mere footnote among the near universal praise. Indeed, going neoprene free is an incredibly meaningful act of environmental stewardship for a surfer and, for many of them, that alone justified purchasing one — even if there were a few bugs. Ironically, Patagonia itself cast the harshest light on those bugs with the launch of its Fall 2018 line — wetsuits that are so close to perfection they make the previous version seem like a prototype.… Read the rest