If you’ve ever found yourself shivering uncontrollably in the water, you know how crucial a good wetsuit is for kitesurfing. Beyond providing warmth, an ideal wetsuit should offer maximum flexibility and comfort, allowing you to push your boundaries out on the waves. With the recent evolution in wetsuit materials, kitesurfers have been graced with an innovation from the land of the rising sun – the Japanese limestone rubber, known popularly as Yamamoto. This guide dives deep into what makes this rubber stand out and why investing in it can redefine your kitesurfing experience.
- Understanding Limestone Rubber
Limestone rubber represents a significant departure from traditional petroleum-based neoprene. Harvested from limestone found in the mountains of Japan, the processing technique yields a unique cell structure in the rubber. These cells are packed tightly, ensuring minimal water penetration and superior insulation.
Key Features of Yamamoto’s Limestone Rubber:
High Stretch: The rubber’s elasticity ensures that it can stretch up to 480% of its original size. This impressive stretchability provides unmatched freedom of movement, a game-changer in the world of kitesurfing.
Lightweight: Yamamoto rubber is notably light, enhancing buoyancy and reducing the “dragged down” feeling that some wetsuits can produce.
Eco-friendly: Being derived from limestone, Yamamoto rubber has a lower environmental footprint compared to petroleum-based alternatives.
Superior Warmth: Due to its tight cell structure, the rubber provides exceptional warmth, retaining heat efficiently and keeping you comfortable even in colder waters.
- The Game-changing Zip Innovations
One of the most noteworthy contributions of Yamamoto’s high stretch is the evolution in wetsuit zipping systems. Let’s break down these advancements:
Front-Zip Wetsuits: Traditional back-zip systems, while being standard for years, often suffer from cold-water leakage. The water trickles down the back, leading to those dreaded chilly sensations. With the flexibility that Yamamoto rubber offers, front-zip wetsuits have become a reality. These wetsuits are not only easier to get in and out of but also eliminate the issue of water leaking down your spine.
No-Zip Wetsuits: Taking the innovation a notch higher, the stretchiness of Yamamoto rubber has paved the way for no-zip wetsuits. Slide in, and you’re set. These designs reduce potential points of water entry further and provide an unparalleled comfortable fit, enhancing the wetsuit’s efficiency in retaining warmth.
- Making the Investment: Price vs. Performance
Undeniably, Yamamoto rubber wetsuits come with a heftier price tag. But when assessing the investment, it’s essential to consider the spectrum of benefits they bring:
Enhanced Performance: The unmatched stretch ensures you can execute your moves with precision. Whether you’re cutting across the waves or soaring high with your kite, the wetsuit moves seamlessly with you.
Elevated Comfort: Gone are the days of restrictive wetsuits. The flexibility means reduced pressure points and chafing. Plus, the lightweight nature ensures you don’t feel weighed down.
Exceptional Warmth: The superior insulation ensures that you can extend your kitesurfing sessions, braving colder temperatures with ease.
When you weigh the advantages against the price, it becomes evident that the value derived from a Yamamoto rubber wetsuit justifies the cost.
- Making the Right Choice
When purchasing a Yamamoto wetsuit, consider the following:
Thickness: Depending on the water temperature, choose the right thickness. While a 3/2mm suit is suitable for mild conditions, you might need a 5/4mm or thicker for colder waters. We added a 6/5 hooded suit to our wetsuit quiver and rode for over ten months on the Great Lakes, in Canada even!
Fit: Ensure the wetsuit fits snugly without being too tight. The right fit ensures optimal performance and warmth retention. Visiting a local retailer with lots of suits to try on can be a huge bonus to finding a perfect fitting suit.
Seams: Look for glued and blind stitched seams along with taped seams for additional comfort. This ensures minimal water entry and enhanced durability.
Brands: The top kitesurfing wetsuits brands: Mystic, Manera, Ion, and Ride Engine have embraced limestone based neoprene in most of their suits. Mystic and Ride Engine use top of the line #39 and #40 Limestone Neopene produced by Yamamoto in Japan. Manera incorporates the premium Yulex Rubber in their high-end suits, which is reputedly 30% pricier, more eco-friendly, and slightly less flexible. However, that tale is for another time. Do your research and find one that aligns with your requirements, budget, and fits you nicely.
The world of kitesurfing wetsuits has seen a revolution with the introduction of limestone rubber. I personally would rather wrap my body in concrete than go back to riding in stiffer oil based rubber wetsuits. Prioritizing performance, comfort, warmth, and stretch, these wetsuits are worth every penny. Embracing this evolution ensures not only longer, warmer rides but also pushes the envelope in what’s achievable in the water. For those tired of the cold trickles down the back and restrictive movement, it’s time to step into the future of kitesurfing wetsuits. Embrace the revolution!