“The Real Wetsuit Guide” in Issue 66 of IKSURFMAG looks at the more important aspects of buying an expensive piece of rubber— things like the fit, materials, the eco-footprint and ultimately, the most crucial question of all, can you piss in it? In assembling the article, Rou Chater sat down with Prolimit brand manager Edwin Honsbeek. Here’s the full interview!
What are the three most important features in a wetsuit to you?
We have 4 hallmarks in wetsuit construction: 1. Quality 2. Build 3. Fit and 4. Attention to detail
1. We always use the highest quality materials available at each price point. No marketing bullshit, only the best materials so the rider benefits on the water and has more fun.
– A lot of people see neoprene as one product. But neoprene is the insulation. The outside and inside sheets of the neoprene determine the stretch of the wetsuit.
– We pay a lot of attention to the details of the outside materials. We use the best mix of material to get the best stretch, like the neo light neoprene which we use on the Mercury. On the inside, we also use a mix of materials, including a quick dry lining so that your wetsuit dries quicker and the Zodiac lining that takes the water from your body.
2. Build is the point that people do not see. A lot of wetsuits have a seam split on your ass. This to save cost. We always try to use long panels, providing the best stretch over the panel and ensuring the best fit and performance on the water. This is super important in free zipp wetsuits. The longer the panel the better the stretch. We also do not save money on glue. We use the best Japanese glue available. We also have strong quality control during production so we do not have seam issues.
3. We offer a sporty fit, not a super tight fit like the surf brands, but not as wide as some of our wind-sport competitors. Our goal is to create a super easy fit. Our fit gives a 100% protection on the water.
4. Attention to detail. These are the small things like drain holes in the legs. We deliver leg straps with our wetsuits and want to make sure no spray gets into your legs. How do we build a waterblock? It should have a great fit and no entry points for cold water, not even through the collar. We use a special neoprene with fused edges for better fit and no water entry around the neck. All these small details make ours a special product with a super high value.
Which technologies are you utilising at the moment that make a real difference to the wearer of the suit?
We developed our own free zipp construction, providing easy entry and easy fit with max comfort when in use. We try to use materials that give max stretch like our neo light neoprene. I think it is not only our technology but the combination of quality-build-fit and attention to detail that makes the difference in the performance of the wetsuit.
Where do you stand on the impact of wetsuits and the environment?
We changed the production of our neoprene 3 years ago. We went from oil-based neoprene to limestone-based neoprene. The next step is to use other materials such as nature prene. We are aware of the fact that we have to protect our environment. The problem is that the market is not moving quickly in that direction.
What do the wetsuit of the future look like to you?
I think we will go more to free zipp or zipper-less constructions. Also, wetsuits will be built with thinner materials that provide the same insulation but more stretch. The material will have more protection from the cold and the outside material will be made of materials that hardly take on water. I hope we can replace neoprene with a more natural material.
Can you piss in a wetsuit these days and not damage it?
Best question ever. Most people do piss in their wetsuit. It is possible not to damage the suit, but you have to rinse it with fresh water or wash it with wetsuit shampoo. It can be bad for the glue and inside lining as acids from you pee can have a negative influence on the glue.
By Lindsay McClureLindsay is a pro rider from Hood River in the USA, she works for IKSURFMAG as our Features Editor and is an integral part of the team. Lindsay is really into wakestyle riding and can be found in the Hood River Slider Park during the summer months, she also travels all over the world with the World Class Academy helping younger riders develop through kiteboarding!