(The following is a guest post by Lauren Belt, interviewing Nick Lassor of Henderson Wetsuits.)
So, how are wetsuits made?
MATERIALS: Wetsuits are made with neoprene, a synthetic rubber. The rubber is formed into “Buns” and sliced into sheets. The rubber sheets are then laminated to various fabrics. There are many different types of neoprene which are produced for various uses and price-specific situations. For example, surf wetsuits are used on the surface of the water and need to be lightweight and stretchy. This means that the neoprene must have enough stretch so surfers can move freely while wearing the suit. The materials laminated to the neoprene must stretch enough to be comfortable and dry quickly for multiple sessions per day. Where dive wetsuits are used under the surface of the water and must be able to hold their thickness (not significantly compress with the water pressure) over the extended life of the wetsuit. One of the most important aspects of any wetsuit is the thickness, which ranges from 1.5mm all the way to 7mm. The thicker the neoprene is, the warmer the wetsuit will be.
CONSTRUCTION: Once the neoprene, laminated fabrics, and thickness is chosen, the construction of the wetsuit, including patterning, seams and other features, are decided. The pattern, which includes fit, zipper placement, reinforced areas, ankle and wrist cuff closure systems, etc., are all designed with comfort and durability in mind. The most popular seam constructions are GBS and Flatlock. Glued & Blind Stitched (GBS) seams are first glued together down the raw edge of each pattern piece then are stitched using a very specific sewing machine that only stitches about half way through the neoprene and does not puncture through the whole suit. This helps create a more watertight seam. Some of our higher end wetsuits are double blind stitched (internally and externally stitched) and have an added liquid tape to the external seam which protects and fills any potential leaking points on the seams. Flatlock seams are mainly used for price point, rental and warm water wetsuits (3mm, 2mm & 1.5mm). Flatlock seams are very durable but are not watertight.
Does Henderson make the neoprene too?
Today: Henderson’s continued expansion and innovation continues to propel its brands into the future. Henderson, Hyperflex and NeoSport are now part of the Henderson Sport Group. This group of brands remains focused on Thermal protection and innovation and development of neoprene products. The Henderson Sport Group is based in Millville, NJ just a few miles from the original Henderson Boatyard where the company was founded. The company’s brands are distributed worldwide and remains focused on style, performance and product innovation.
What’s up with the Henderson 10 year warranty?
Henderson wetsuits are backed by the most comprehensive consumer warranty in the business. With over 50 years of experience in designing and manufacturing wetsuits, Henderson has earned a superior reputation for quality and performance. Every Henderson wetsuit is originally designed, patterned and “fit proofed” at our USA factory. This process ensures Henderson products will provide the same quality, fit and performance regardless of its origin. Customer experience and customer service are our first priorities. We understand that there are many choices for you to consider, and Henderson wants to make certain that every wetsuit that bears our logo provides the confidence and trust our customer has come to expect from Henderson dive wear.
Henderson neoprene wetsuits that have been registered by their owners at Henderson are warranted for up to 10 years as follows:
- 10 years (zipper)
- 5 years (on all material and workmanship with the exception of damage due to chlorine, sunlight or compression)
- 1 year “Head to Toe” (except for wetsuit that have been lost, stolen or damaged in use)
- This warranty is nontransferable
And there you have it – all the details that answer how are wetsuits made straight from the sources at Henderson!