Tried, tested and built to last, we set out to make the best wetsuits possible. Follow our journey of discovery and innovation.
The Nieuwland Works Wetsuit Programme
4 min read
Written by Chris Betty
Image by Maeva Cushla
Tested by the people we designed it for
Six years ago, we set out to make our first wetsuit. We knew it had to be the best suit it could possibly be; we’d have you, and ourselves, to answer to. That’s why we asked you to test it. Our pioneering Wetsuit Tester Programme of 2014 saw 100 committed surfers put our tester suits through their paces over the winter of ’14/'15. The result is the Nieuwland Works collection we offer today; each season, refined a little further through the feedback of our team and community.
Performance Without Compromise: The Nieuwland 3e
Upholding our commitments to product, environment and people, our aim was always to make our suits as sustainable as possible. At the time we made our first suits, biorubbers were in their infancy; unwieldy and untested. Through committed research and development, we focussed on durability; making our suits last as long as they could, without sacrificing warmth or performance. Our original tester suits are still going strong, but we didn’t stop there. The sheer amount of waste created by the thing we love was always at the back of our minds. In the UK alone, it’s estimated that surfers discard about 400 tonnes of wetsuits each and every year. Something had to be done. If we’re not part of the solution, we’re part of the problem. Since launching our first suits, we’ve added the Nieuwland 3e to our range; a Yulex summersuit, tailored for British waters, but we continue to look for a better way.
Women's Wetsuit Tester Programme
In winter 2018, we were proud to launch our first women’s wetsuit; the hooded Nieuwland 4. Whilst it took us some time to bring this to market, for a small company committed to quality, we knew it couldn't be rushed. Given the success of our original Wetsuit Tester Programme, we enlisted our community of Women of the Sea to put the suit through its paces. The ‘17/’18 winter of testing crescendoed with our first ever Wetsuit Tester Camp, hosted here at Wheal Kitty with the support of ambassador Easkey Britton, and wetsuit maestro Mat D’Ascoli. The weekend saw nearly half of our global community of 100 testers descend upon the workshop for two days of surfing, cook-ups, music and feedback. In the words of Mat, “The tester program opened up a very good conversation; the suit was effectively designed by these women. My experience and expertise only fed into the construction of the suit, not the design.” The result is something we can all be proud of.
The Future: Making Wetsuits from Wetsuits
“There have been great advances in eco wetsuits and the search for alternatives to petroleum-based neoprene, but the real elephant in the room for the watersports industry is what to do with a wetsuit at the end of its functional life. It’s a massive, global problem that we need to address; in this day and age there has to be a solution, and this is what we’re committed to finding.”
Tom Kay, Finisterre Founder
Our journey towards a more sustainable industry saw us create a role for the world’s first full-time Wetsuit Recycler; a specialist in circular manufacturing, and working in close collaboration with Exeter University’s Centre of Excellence for Material Reengineering. The aim; to make wetsuits from wetsuits, with the potential to bring positive change on a massive scale. To find out more and follow our journey towards #WetsuitsFromWetsuits, check out the Broadcast.