VENTURA,Calif.—Yulex Corp.'s guayule rubber has been adopted by Patagonia Inc. for use in wetsuits.
The wetsuits will be contain 60-percent guayule content, with the rest neoprene, which traditionally is used for the insulating suits. Guayule is biorubber obtained from a shrub grown in the American southwest, as well asMexico.
“When we started to build wetsuits we knew that neoprene, by nature of its production, was the most environmentally harmful part of the product,” said Jason McCaffrey, surf director for sportswear makerPatagonia. “Our initial approach was to use innovative materials, like wool, that are highly insulating and allowed us to use as little neoprene as possible. But we quickly realized that we needed to create a new material that could be a true alternative to neoprene.”
He said the goal is to ultimately use guayule rubber for 100 percent of the content of the wetsuits, which are used by surfers.
Surfers inJapanwill be the first to get access to the new wetsuits, and next spring they will come to the U.S., followed by a global rollout.