In 2009, Seventhwave was contacted by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). Another wetsuit manufacturer in Auckland had complained that our Radio advertisement — which included the line, "made in New Zealand using Yamamoto rubber which lasts twice as long, is super stretchy and, on average, is 30% warmer" — was wrong:
"The advertisement is claiming that the brand has these properties. This is not true. The implication is that the brand is superior because of these properties. This also is not true. I object to the company making claims that are false, and promoting their products on that basis.”
Now we feel we know our stuff here at Seventhwave, so we took this complaint seriously. Fingers furiously typed a reply, with the aim of educating the complainant and the ASA about the amazing thermal properties of our Yamamoto Neoprene:
"None of the claims we have made are false. If anything they are understated.
We have been manufacturing wetsuits and neoprene products in New Zealand for the last 21 years. Our wetsuits are made from Yamamoto neoprene which we import from Yamamoto Corporation of Osaka, Japan. http://www.yamamoto-bio.com/yamamoto_e/index.html
Most wetsuits available around the world are made in China, Taiwan, Thailand or Mexico. These are all made from neoprene sourced from China. The main company being Sheico in Taiwan. Chinese neoprene is petroleum based and is characterised by its heavy weight and that it gets heavier once wet. Also its lower closed cell content which means there is less air and more rubber in the neoprene. You can immediately feel the difference in weight if you hold up one of each type of suit in your arms. Chinese neoprene also takes a lot longer to dry out. Some customers tell me they can take 2/3 days and they are still wet on the inside.
Yamamoto's Closed Cell Foams are all produced from 100% CR — Chloroprene Rubber commonly know as Neoprene ® (DuPont Trade Mark). Yamamoto's rubber is made from LIMESTONE — over 99.7% calcium carbonate. The function and quality of all technical foam rubber is decided not only by the purity of the raw materials — the limestone that goes into Yamamoto's technical foam rubbers comes from one source — but also by the independent closed microcell structure.
This 'perfect uniform independent closed microcell structure' has been achieved by employing a special polymer derived from limestone along with the most advanced manufacturing techniques — all developed by Yamamoto Corporation.
The individual foam cells do not absorb water, and each independent closed cell is filled with Nitrogen Gas, creating an excellent thermal insulation with optimum heat retaining properties.
As a result of its special properties and virtually no water absorption, the weight of our material in dry or wet conditions remains almost the same and therefore wetsuits and other products made of this material do not become saturated with moisture or get heavy when submerged in water.
The closed cell content of Yamamoto Chloroprene is more than 93%, 22-33% higher than any competitor's materials, whose closed cell content is typically in the 60-70% range.
In other words, Yamamoto Neoprene guarantee the assurance of...
- Uniform Closed Cell Structure
The ratio of closed cells of our neoprene is over 93%. The uniform microcell structure ensures that if any part of the material surface is defaced or scarred, new independent concave microcells are exposed insuring continued functionality.
- High Heat Insulation & Warmth
The Nitrogen Gas enclosed in all the individual closed cells result in exceptional heat retention and efficiency.
- Lightweight & Low Water Absorption
The high closed cell ratio ensures ultra low water absorption, creating lightweight and a lower specific gravity foams with good strength and cell memory, essential qualities for wetsuits and swimwear.
- Super Low Modulus Stretch with Optimum Cell Recovery
Yamamoto's highest elongation with good recovery (cell memory) is 480-580% compared to that of the human skin's maximum elongation of 60-70% available at the underarm (armpit).
At the end of the day you get what you pay for. Our wetsuits are more expensive but are definitely warmer and stretchier and with the right care will last twice or 3 times as long as most other wetsuits. We have seen this repeatedly over the years with many of our customers. We trade in kid's sizes of Seventhwave wetsuits regularly as they grow because they don't wear out and some we have even sold 5 or 6 times over the years. Our customers are predominantly high end users (super keen daily surfers) who still wear out a good suit but do get a high mileage from it and enjoy the superb comfort and performance from their Seventhwave wetsuit."
After a short wait, we got a reply from the ASA:
"In terms of durability and lasting, the Complaints Board was satisfied with Seventhwave’s explanation where it said that the products treated 'with the right care will last twice or 3 times as long as most other wetsuits.'
Accordingly, the Complaints Board was assured that Seventhwave wetsuits were made from specialised and better quality material than other similar products, and based on the information before it, the product performance claims made in the advertisement were not misleading. As such, the Complaints Board ruled that the advertisement was not in breach of Rule 2 of the Code of Ethics.
The Complaints Board ruled to not uphold the complaint."
The moral of the story? When we say our rubber is thinner, warmer, and lighter than petro-chemical neoprene, we mean it!