While deciding exactly what material we wanted to use, we discovered that many brands out there have a dirty secret, and it’s literally covering their product. In one form or another, many brands integrate hydrophobic coatings into their suits. This coating essentially helps repel water so suits stay drier and lighter while in use and dry faster afterwards.
The dirty secret- and it’s pretty scary when you stop and think about it- is that the hydrophobic coatings used are toxic chemicals, and these chemicals are not permanently engrained into the material. The coatings, usually perfluorinated compound (PFC) or Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), wear off over time, and guess where they go?
We looked into several options (C8, C6 and C4 compounds, for example) of hydrophobic coatings for Ride Engine suits, and the more research we did the more uncomfortable we felt about using any of the options. We did our due diligence, and in the end the decision was simple: for our brand story, and our personal convictions, putting a chemical coating on our suits that we know will leech into the water over time was simply not an option.
We quickly realized that, although effective in the short term, these chemicals were not necessary in creating a truly top-notch wetsuit. There is no substitute for genuine quality and good design.
Rather than adding a toxic “sugar coating” to our final product, we focused our efforts on the details that truly do make a great suit, like high-end and tightly-woven materials that naturally reduce water absorption, proper ergonomic design for comfort and mobility, bomber seam technology to seal out water, fleece-lined interiors (when needed) for added warmth and comfort and flush-resistant zippers, to name a few.