The Patagonia R2 Yulex is a 100% neoprene-free wetsuit, designed for cool water, between 13 – 16° Celcius (55 – 60° F). The fact that Patagonia have formulated a wearable wetsuit out of Yulex Biorubber is a remarkable achievement, and will no doubt be considered a milestone in the evolution of wetsuit technology. Watch the video review now, or read on.
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There is a growing market for environmentally sustainable surf apparel and the R2 Yulex is an excellent choice for surfers looking to make environmentally friendly product choices. What I love about the R2 Yulex is that while it is comprised of recycled polyester and plant-based rubber the craftsmanship is outstanding and the build quality is second to none.
This wetsuit is like a good hiking boot. I’ll explain why…
Don’t judge a book by its cover. Don’t judge a serious hiking boot by how it feels when you first put it on. The R2 Yulex should not be judged by first use either. In fact, don’t judge the R2 by the first 5-10 uses. It takes time to wear in. In the beginning the wetsuit feels stiff and tight, especially when compared to some of the silky competitors in the same price bracket. If you’re used to wearing super-lightweight neoprene wetsuits then you’re in for a surprise.
At first it’ll constrict your paddling (and airways if you don’t get the sizing right). But, like a good hiking boot, it wears in after a few uses. If you persevere, you’ll discover that the suit gets more and more comfortable, to the point that you forget about it altogether.
Don’t be like me, thinking I need to send it back, or sell it because it’s too tight. This wetsuit is like a good pair of jeans or a favourite jacket. It will adapt to you, just as you will adapt to it.
The Patagonia R2 Yulex Verdict
If sustainability is important to you and you hate wetsuits that last a few months then you’ve found a good friend in the Patagonia R2 Yulex. Just like good friendships, it takes a while to bond, but once you do you’ll probably never return to another manufacturer.
The Patagonia philosophy is not only admirable but is essential, because many consumers are most definitely keen to use greener surf apparel. The surf industry has been extremely toxic to our environment and it’s sad when a pursuit that requires full immersion in nature, is silently causing irreversible damage. Polyurethane, neoprene, nylon, sunscreen chemicals – we’re a toxic bunch when you think about where most of our stuff comes from.
So a wetsuit that is harvested from ethically-sourced Guatemalan rubber trees is a welcome breath of fresh air.
According to Patagonia, “By choosing renewable natural rubber from hevea trees grown in the highlands of Guatemala, we’re reducing CO2 emissions by up to ~80% when compared to conventional, nonrenewable neoprene—causing less harm to the planet we love and the oceans that give us waves to ride.”
I give the wetsuit 3 stars for form and function, plus an additional star for longevity and materials. If you’re after a wetsuit that makes a difference and are prepared to wear it in, then look no further.
R2 Yulex Video Review
Thickness: 3.5 / 3 MM Materials: 85% Yulex® natural rubber by polymer content, blended with 15% synthetic rubber by polymer content for increased ozone and UV resistance.