Sustainable Swimwear: Manakai Swimwear

sustainable swimwear, Keep it Green, Rebecca Parsons, SUP Examiner, Sustainability, sustainable manufacturing, Dana Point, Doheny State Beach, manakai swimwear
Photo: Brenna Devlin

Sustainable Swimwear: More than just a trendy tagline

If you’re anything like me, you live in your swimsuit. While some girls are obsessed with shoes, I’m obsessed with bikinis. And rightly so, as I spend most of my time on the water. Unfortunately, each year 70 million barrels of crude oil are used to produce virgin stretch fabric, the material most bikinis are made from. Why use such harsh and environmentally destructive products when there are alternatives?

At SUP Examiner, we value the environment. Through this ongoing series, we plan to explore swimwear and paddle gear made from responsibly sourced fabrics so you can feel as good as you look.

Keep it Green, Rebecca Parsons, SUP Examiner, Sustainability, sustainable manufacturing, Dana Point, Doheny State Beach, manakai swimwear
Courtesy of Manakai Swimwear

The folks at Manakai Swimwear have got it right. Owners Kelley Chapman and Anna Lieding are long-time ocean lovers and both are passionate about leading the high-end swimwear industry to more sustainable practices.

The Maui based company uses sustainable techno-fabric created from regenerated nylon—they’ve partnered with Carvico and Econyl to ensure their materials are top-notch. Econyl creates the yarn from 100% regenerated nylon fibre from fishnets and other nylon waste and Carvico weaves the yarn into soft swimwear fabric. When compared with traditional fabrics, Econyl yarns use 2/3 less energy, less water, reduces global crude oil extraction, reduces air, water, and soil contamination, and recovers nylon waste from around the world.

While the suits sound good on paper, you may be wondering how they hold up on the water. We are happy to announce they pass our exam with flying colors.

Manakai offers multiple swimsuit styles, so we tested out the Rose top and Juniper bottoms in hopes of finding a good SUP surf suit. This bikini proved to be great for flatwater paddling and racing, but more importantly, it held up in heavy surf. This set is one of the best we’ve come by and stays firmly in place even after a trip through the washing machine. The fabric is not as stretchy as traditional suits (helping it stay in place), so we’d recommend taking your measurements to ensure that the suit fits properly.

Sustainable swimwear is on the rise and the folks at Manakai hope to see it continue to grow. They’re always trying to improve their products and hope in the near feature to manufacture their suits entirely from washed up nets on Maui. While the future for our environment may sometimes look grim, the folks at Manakai help make it look brighter.

Learn more at: manakaiswimwear.com

Rebecca Parsons
About Rebecca Parsons 46 Articles
Rebecca is a seasoned writer and longtime ocean lover. A resident of Orange County, CA, she can be seen paddling and surfing at many of Southern California's most scenic coastal locations. Rebecca is interested in sustainability and environmentally friendly initiatives and heads up "Keep it Green", our column on the environment.

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