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Limestone Wetsuits?

Well it’s the time of year when some of us start shopping around for a new wetsuit. For me a quality wetsuit is imperative, as in the winter here in Atlantic Canada we have water temps hovering around 0 degrees Celsius and air temps can often be 10 to 15 degrees below freezing. You know it’s cold when the visor on your hood has icicles.

A good wetsuit must be flexible, fairly light, and not flush easily. Unfortunately, when you get a wetsuit that meets those requirements a likely side effect is that it won’t be built to last. Light and stretchy neoprene has a short lifespan. Matuse Hoplite 4:3:2 FullsuitOn top of that, most neoprene is made out of petroleum products. So every other season you are disposing of a $400 to $600 suit made of toxic non-biodegradable materials. You lose and the environment loses.

In the last couple of years however there has been some advancement in wetsuit technology. And I’m not talking about front zipper versus non-zippered entry or seamless panels and batteries. The advancements are in the materials used to make the rubber part of the wetsuit. There are a few companies now making suits out of a material derived from limestone. According to the manufacturers, limestone suits are warmer, stretchy and have a longer lifespan. Japan based Yamamoto Corporation is on the forefront of developing the wetsuit materials. You can read more about their products at:

So far we have not had the opportunity to personally test any of the limestone-based suits. However, many folks out there are using them and it seems like the new material is here to stay. The three most visible companies at the moment are Patagonia, Matuse and Body Glove. Patagonia suits have received great reviews. The only downside is that they are not easy to find as they are only sold in their West Coast stores. Matuse suits are sleek and can be found at several retail outlets and online. Body Glove’s Eco suit is quite new on the market and we really don’t know much about them but it’s likely that the suit will be available at the usual Body Glove dealers.

If you’ve had a chance to try any of the above suits, or know of any other alternatives please leave a comment below or drop us a line at Our readers would be stoked for more objective views. Hope you all get some phatty winter waves.

• Category: environment

9 Responses »

  1. Actually, one of the real head-scratchers for me is why these suits don’t come in thicknesses closer to 5mm. And more importantly, why don’t they make these any with hoods? I’m very anti-bonnet, because I only like to wear the hood while paddling out… How else am I going to hear the hoots?

  2. Chum-
    I hear ya on the thickness issue. Perhaps even more frustrating is that the Matuse website has a quote from Jamie Sterling talking about surfing Ireland in his 5/4/3, but then fails to carry said suit! On the same front I have seen advert photos of the Malloys rockin’ Patagonia suits with built in hoods!! I guess sponsorship has its perks.

  3. I visited the matuse website and found an email contact. I wrote them on the exact topic you are talking about. It seems they do have plans in releasing a 5/4/3 with integrated hood for next winter. So that will be great. Daniel I also read the quote from Jamie Sterling. I assume he does get things earlier as being sponsored has advantages. Testing would be the most likely reason. Although his quote says he wore the 4/3/2 the whole time. I imagine the wetsuit must really be warm to keep him warm in Ireland in February. I will definitely look to pick one up next winter.

  4. I have been using the Matuse 2mm Short Sleeve full for the last 6 weeks. I have been feeling like it’s a pretty good suit, but didn’t realize how good it really is until I put my Rip Curl fullsuit on today for the first time this winter. Granted the Matuse is a 2mm Short Sleeve Full, but man is it light in comparison. The Geoprene Rubber really doesn’t absorb much water. Actually I could have easily worn the Matuse today, just wanted to do a little comparison. So, yea, I’m gonna go ahead and get the 4/3/2 Fullsuit. I think it will be worth the money. I actually wish Matuse made an all 2mm fullsuit. On the other side of the coin, My wife just got a 2mm Patagonia Fullsuit. She thinks its going to be her best suit ever. Don’t go overboard with the thickness. The Yamamoto rubber is warmer. I think a good general rule is to go at least 1mm thinner than you normally would in a petroleum rubber. 3 of my friends had 3mm Patagonia fullsuits in San Diego last winter and none of them wore them all winter because they were too warm.

  5. Um this whole wetsuit from crushed limestone is BS. They make it sound like they take some rock, crush them up and proof it’s a wetsuit! The process of creating this suit is just as toxic as standard neoprene, creating the same hydrocarbons. On top of that they use hydroelectric power which may be good for the alleged eels but for the environment…. not so much.

    Come on Patagonia, don’t pull the wool over our eyes. Just be honest. Do your best without the creepy green washing please.

    Much love, Samantha

  6. Hey guys, You should definitely check out the new suits from WEST SURFING if you’re looking for a limestone suit.It’s a brand from Australia now distributed in Canada. They do a new very affordable limestone suit made of Yamamoto rubber. They also have a winter suit with the built-in hood. The suit model is THE LOTUS.

    Their web-site is but the site haven’t been updated yet with the new LOTUS. Perhaps, It’s in the new Surfer mag with the wetsuit buyer’s guide.

    The difference is impressive, way lighter, more flexible & they feel like they’re a 1mm less. I don’t want to surf in anything else now.

    Hope that info will be useful ;)

    pAt @ Poplandz

  7. I have owned a matuse 4/3/2 for almost 2 years. I surf Monterey Bay where the water is
    in the low 50’s. The suit is flexible and seems to hold less water (lighter),but is not as
    warm as a 5/3 that I also use . I will be looking at the new 5/4/3 LOTUS.

  8. My 4/3/2 Matuse Hoplite suit is a total joke. I was stoked on it at first, and felt justified as for the $500 I had to fork out for it. Its now 3 months later and the limestone neoprene had major wear under the arm, to the point of it being unusable need a MAJOR repair. Under the arm? I guess surfing in it and paddling is just too much for it to handle. Now i get to deal with a constant headache instead of a good suit. Lame.

  9. I have a hoplite 4/3/2 it needed 2 different repairs on 2 different occasions! I was pissed bc I paid a lot of money for this “new technology”…the first repair took 3 months to get back to me, the second repair was back in 2 weeks…I asked around, and as it turns out, because they make these overseas like a lot of the big companies, they can’t repair them fast enough and so now somehow they talked aleeda wetsuits into repairing the suits and so now I guess aleeda must be making a boat load of money off matuse lol. Since aleeda fixed my suit, i havent had any problems so I’m going to buy aleeda next time, there are environmental reasons to buy matuse but I decided I’d rather buy a USA brand.