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Are you getting ready to go surfing, jet skiing, paddleboarding or kayaking this summer? Remember to bring neoprene gear. This synthetic foam rubber is commonly used to make wetsuits, fishing waders, knee pads, flotation devices, seat covers and many other items that are needed on the water.

Here are 10 reasons why neoprene is great for watersports and many other marine activities. If you don’t already have neoprene watersports equipment, you can make your own using DIY neoprene sheets and accessories from

1. Neoprene is Waterproof

The closed-cell structure doesn’t let water penetrate the surface. Instead, it just rolls off so anything underneath it stays dry. Water doesn’t get trapped inside, either, so mold and mildew don’t form.

2. Neoprene is Resilient

This material is resistant to UV rays, salt, ozone and many other environmental factors. It also is impervious to common chemicals encountered during watersports such as petroleum, oil and solvents.

3. Neoprene has Excellent Insulation

When you wear a neoprene wetsuit, it traps a thin layer of water against your skin. Your body heat then warms this layer, helping you stay warm. This lets you be in the water longer even on cooler days.

A person in a yellow rain boot stepping in water

4. Neoprene is Breathable

When you’re working and playing hard, overheating is always a concern. Despite the closed-cell design, neoprene is breathable to help release excess heat. Combined with its insulating properties, neoprene is great for body temperature regulation.

5. Neoprene is Thermally Stable

No matter the temperature outside, neoprene will handle it. You can use neoprene at temperatures as low as -40 degrees Fahrenheit or as high as 248 degrees — hotter than boiling water — without its properties changing.

6. Neoprene is Rugged

As one of the most durable foams around, neoprene has excellent abrasion resistance, good tear resistance and a tensile strength of more than 3,000 PSI. You won’t have to worry about bumps or minor impacts damaging your neoprene gear. It can even prevent jellyfish stings!

7. Neoprene Dries Fast

Even after a full day in the water, neoprene can air dry in as little as six hours. It’s also easy to care for — soaking neoprene items in warm water and mild soap for 20 minutes is usually enough to release dirt and grime.

8. Neoprene is Safe to Wear

The material is chemically stable, BPA-free and widely considered nontoxic. Although a few people have neoprene allergies and skin sensitivities, they are rare. Neoprene is also completely non flammable.

A person wearing a neoprene wetsuit stretching his arm

9. Neoprene is Lightweight and Flexible

Perhaps most importantly, neoprene is comfortable to wear on the water. It can stretch to twice its normal dimensions, is much lighter than other foams and is low friction. This means you retain freedom of movement and won’t tire out easily when wearing it.

10. Neoprene is Formable

The same properties that make it great to wear also make neoprene easy to work with. You can cut it, bend it and sew it into whatever shape you need for your water sports gear.

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