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Patagonia set to launch wetsuit range in Europe for Autumn/Winter 2010

Dan Malloy ©Tim Davis

From alpine and outdoor gear to wetsuits with the same commitment for durable, high quality and environmentally conscious products

Applying the skills Patagonia have learnt from building some of the most technical alpine insulation available and keeping a firm hold on the Patagonia mission statement – “Build the Best Product, cause no unnecessary harm” – Patagonia is now launching in Europe a range of wetsuits made for cold water surfing and using materials that are more environmentally conscious.

Patagonia wetsuits use the highest quality neoprene. It has a 98% closed-cell ratio, which adds dead air space and with it, warmth. Our patented fabric construction incorporates a suit lining that blends merino wool with recycled polyester to trap more insulative dead-air space and quickly wick moisture away from your skin (U.S. Patent No. 7395553).

Patagonia patented Regulator wool technology is applied in the R4®, R3® and R2® wetsuits, enhancing the performance of both wetsuit and rider. As a result, our R2 suits will keep the surfer warm in water ranging from 12 to 18 Celsius degrees, R3s when water temps range between 8 to 12 Celsius degrees and the new R4 allows uninhibited surfing in frigid water ranging from 3 to 8°C degrees.

The wetsuit seams are single-needle blind-stitched on the outside using nylon-bonded thread and triple glued for extra durability and strength, and crotch seams are internally taped. The use of highest quality neoprene coupled with the handmade construction of Patagonia wetsuits makes the lifetime of a Patagonia wetsuit much longer than average.

Patagonia’s green credentials are not forgotten in the surf line either; chlorine free, merino wool is bonded to recycledpolyester in a grid pattern lining the wetsuit. Naturally warm even when wet and naturally odour resistant, the wool in grid formation holds a greater quantity of air helping to retain body heat and insulating better. This therefore allows Patagonia to use less material and create superior warmth at the same time. The chlorine free merino wool grid lining also wicks moisture away from the skin and has a vastly superior dry time.

The kneepads are made without PVC, a carcinogenic plastic used in many wetsuits, inherently making the Patagonia wetsuit better for environment, whilst increasing durability and flexibility.

Widely acknowledged for their surf heritage, wetsuits are another addition to the reputable Patagonia line. Field tested by Patagonia ambassadors that include Keith, Chris and Dan Malloy, Gerry Lopez, Wayne Lynch, Belinda Baggs and Mary Osborne, the Patagonia surf offering is scrupulously built to allow longer water time, flexibility, warmth, quicker dry time, comfort and longer lifetime.

What’s the Story?

When we build a product we want to build the best. When it came to wetsuits, we wanted something warmer, more flexible, better fitting and tough enough to withstand extended use. We started with a combination of ordinary neoprene, polyester and nylon, like all the other brands, but then pushed further, unsatisfied with just tweaking the status quo. First we tried lining a suit with the Regulator® insulation we use in our alpine clothing, but the polyester absorbed water and turned heavy and cold. So we looked to what divers, sailors and fishermen had been using all these years to stay warm in and on the ocean. Wool. Wanting the finest, we chose merino.

It’s the merino lining that gives our wetsuits their added warmth without added rubber. But our patented merino wool grid (U.S. Patent No. 7395553) is just one part of the successful equation. The neoprene we use has a high-density nitrogen cell structure for maximum warmth and durability, the post consumer recycled polyester jersey increases durability while minimizing environmental impact, and the quality craftsmanship and attention to little details ensures a great performing, well-made wetsuit.

Patagonia wetsuits are decidedly warmer than standard nylon-lined suits. But that’s not all. They’re also more flexible, wear longer, dry faster and are more environmentally conscious than other suits. We make them in three weights –R2®, R3®, and R4® – for all water temperatures, and in several styles for men and women.

Warmer – More Flexible – Fast drying – Durable – Environmentally Conscious

« The beauty of having an amazing wetsuit is the fact that you can surf out of the way places that are colder, and actually stay out longer and get more waves. And that makes us all happier. » Keith Malloy, Patagonia surf ambassador

A new standard for warmth

Ordinary neoprene wetsuits have always been measured in millimetres. But there’s more to Patagonia® suits than just neoprene and nylon. Our merino wool lining combined with high-density neoprene sets a whole new standard for performance and warmth. So we use an R-Rating standard that shows the appropriate suit for the waters you surf.

Range of wetsuits and accessories:

R4

Made for frigid water with 5mm neoprene (torso/back/legs), 4mm (sleeves & hood), 3mm (underarms) lined with chlorine-free merino wool (except accessories)

38-48° F / 3-8° C

Men’s R4® Hooded Front-Zip Hooded

Explorer (3 lengths)

Women’s R4® Hooded Front -Zip Full Suit

R4® Gloves Unisex

R4® Booties Unisex

R3

Made for cold water with 3mm neoprene lined with chlorine-free merino wool (except accessories)

48-55° F / 8-12° C

Men’s R3® Front-Zip Full Suit (3 lengths)

Women’s R3® Front-Zip Full Suit (2 lengths)

Men’s R3® Back-Zip Full Suit (3 lengths)

Men’s R3® Front-Zip Hooded Explorer (3 lengths)

R3® Hood Unisex, R3® Gloves Unisex, R3® Booties Unisex

R2

Made for cool water with 2mm neoprene lined with chlorine-free merino wool

55-65° F / 12-18° C

Men’s R2® Front-Zip Full Suit (3 lengths)

Women’s R2® Front-Zip Full Suit (2 lengths)

Men’s R2® Back-Zip Full Suit (3 lengths)

Materials and environmental efforts
We use chlorine-free wool, recycled polyester, PVC-free kneepads and thinner neoprene layers (without sacrificing warmth retention) to reduce our impact on the environment.

Merino Wool
Wool absorbs moisture and your body heats it, creating a greenhouse effect in your suit. Our R2®, R3® and R4® wetsuits use our patented Regulator® merino wool technology that helps retain body heat. We lay it out in a grid pattern and bond it to recycled polyester to better insulate, wick moisture away from your skin and dry quickly. Wool is naturally warm even when wet, and it’s naturally odor-resistant. By lining our wetsuits with merino, we’re able to use less material overall for better warmth and flexibility. We slow wash our merino for softness without the use of environmentally harmful chlorine. While they may sound Earth-friendly, wetsuits lined with bamboo and polylactic acid (PLA) are not as warm and require the use of harmful solvents or genetically modified corn to make them.

Quality Neoprene
Our wetsuits are made with the highest quality neoprene – neoprene that meets Patagonia’s rigorous standards for stretch, durability and warmth. It has a 98% closed-cell structure, which adds dead air space and traps warmth.

PVC-Free Kneepads
Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is a toxic, carcinogenic plastic used in our society. The kneepads on Patagonia wetsuits are not made from PVC. Our kneepads are more durable, provide more grip and create less environmental damage than those made from PVC.

More Warmth, Less Material
Our neoprene/lining package is 90% warmer than conventional nylon-lined neoprene. As a result, our 2mm suit will keep you warm in 12 to 18°C water, 3mm works in 8 to 12° C water and our 5/4/3mm will keep you surfing in frigid 3 to 8°C water. This not only means less weight and increased flexibility for the warmth, it also means we can reduce our consumption of neoprene and, to a degree, help preserve the natural resources that create it.

Marine/Sea Environmental groups we support
In the past years, we supported the following groups and projects:

Surfers Against Sewage, St. Agnes, United Kingdom (2008)
Patagonia has supported SAS since 2004. SAS campaigns for clean, safe, recreational waters free of sewage effluents, toxic chemicals, nuclear waste and litter. They organize “Grassroots Tours” to engage with its supporters at a grassroots level, highlighting local environmental issues which are impacting on recreational water spots in the UK and empowering supporters to make a positive difference locally. Contact: info@sas.org.uk,
www.sas.org.uk

Surfrider foundation Europe, Biarritz, France (2009)
Patagonia has supported Surfrider since 1992. Surfrider is dedicated to the protection and preservation of the ocean, waves and coastlines, and the people who come to enjoy them. Almost 90% of pollutions by hydrocarbon come from discharging. Those occasional intentional pollutions represent a damage for the marine environment, coasts and users. Some authors of illegal discharging remain unpunished. Surfrider sue captains and shipowners for every illegal discharging. We support them for their trial costs. Contact : acitores@surfrider.eu, www.surfrider.eu

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