I stumbled across Sharkskin while I was in Australia a few years ago, and have been a firm advocate of the brand ever since. As an underwater photographer, I need to have as much mobility as possible, and have found that the combination of the rash vests and pants serve as freeing alternatives to the stiffness of conventional wetsuits. I like that I can mix and match different pieces together, depending on the water temperature, and that I can also layer with thicker wetsuits in much colder conditions. Having so much gear to lug around, the lightness of Sharkskin frees up a lot of space and weight, which is always a bonus for a photographer. Other underwater photographers and scuba divers are constantly asking me for wetsuit recommendations, and I always tell them to give Sharkskin a go, especially because it is like wearing pajamas underwater
Professional Underwater and Topside Photographer
Global Dive has always prided itself on only stocking the best dive equipment available. High performance exposure wear is no exception. For 3 years we have been amazed at how good the Sharkskin garments have performed, in a huge range of environments and uses. The range has grown and we have been committed to carrying the full range of Sharkskin designs and sizes in-store.
Previously, the only type of performance garment to come close is the Thermocline range by English company Fourth Element. The fleecy material both garments use is mated to a breathable technical membrane layer, which offers wind proofing and water resistance. Finally, a 4 way stretch outer layer is added, giving you sun protection and durability. What this means to you, is by adding a Sharkskin layer, you are adding the equivalent warmth of a 3mm of wetsuit, without the added buoyancy, and you have a windproof layer that reduces the between dive chills. The Sharkskin garment is non chaffing, antimicrobial and itch resistant so can be worn all day long.
However, recently we have been made aware of a couple of new products to hit the market. They claim to be “cheap versions of sharkskin” so we decided to check this out and decide if they are good enough to be compared to Sharkskin.The recently launched “cheap” versions certainly look similar at first glance, but when they are inspected closely, there are many differences. The main differences are; The Chinese manufactured thermal layer has a much more porous fleece allowing greater airflow through the pile. This means less thermal protection. Sharkskin material is much less permeable to air and so stops the convective and evaporative cooling process – so you stay warm. The more porous fleece also allows the garment to sag, (bag out) so the garment doesn’t hold its shape over time. This causes discomfort when worn under wetsuits and added drag when worn by itself – for example for paddling and other watersports activities We spoke to a dealer who had both brands available to him. Initial excitement of having a “cheaper” alternative lead to disappointment when garments were being returned due to sagging, and tearing after short spells in use. He subsequently removed the garments from sale.
Sharkskin were keen to test the other brand so sent both their own garment and the “cheaper copy” to several kayakers and multisport participants. The response was pretty unanimous. The Sharkskin out performed the other garments in every test. The most important feedback was simply that Sharkskin keeps you warmer and lasts longer with superior wear. The wear was evidenced from comparing Sharkskin and the other garment after going through the washing machine multiple times. So, Global Dive will continue to only sell the original Sharkskin garments. The price difference between the warmer garments and the inferior copies is irrelevant in my opinion. Cheap is sometimes good, but in this case not better value. My recommendation is that the best value is in the original garments. The extra dollars buy you a much warmer garment that will last longer and give you more enjoyable dives. We stand by the products we sell and remind our customers that the Sharkskin products all come with a performance guarantee. If the garment does not perform as advertised, bring it back for a full refund.
I’ve noticed a marked difference in how close I can approach certain marine life underwater while wearing the HECS suit – a worthwhile advantage for any cameraman.
Filmmaker, Liquid Action Films
After trying a sample, our entire team has now purchased Sharkskins. We find the product of exceptional quality and perfect for protection from the elements during both patrols and competitions. Whether constantly in the water or in the boat exposed to the surf and wind, Sharkskin have become an essential addition to our team uniform. Not just to win races, but to save lives.
Caves Beach Surf Life Saving Club - Inshore Rescue Boat Team Captain NSW and World IRB Champions
Multisport for me is a year-round obsession. Living in Wanaka I am faced with climatic extremes on an almost daily basis. My competitive advantage often comes from my willingness to train in all conditions. My Sharkskin gear matches my attitude perfectly. Whether it is snowing on Lake Wanaka, blowing a gale on the Clutha River or the sun is roasting me in summer, I know my Sharkskin gear has an answer to every situation. It is simply the most effective paddle gear I have used, and it goes pretty well on the bike too.
Multisport & Adventure Racing Athlete
I am in the New Zealand Team for White Water Canoe Slalom and I have been using this gear for the past year. I have found it to be a very good product to wear as it is comfortable, warm and you still have full movement in it unlike a wetsuit. Sharkskin suits all weather conditions and temperatures, especially on Lake Wakatipu in the South Island of New Zealand. I would defiantly recommend these garments to any person who works in water environments, and needs a top that is versatile in all conditions.
White Water Kayaking
We need a garment that gives us some insulation and dries quickly when wet. The Sharkskin Rapid Dry product is perfect – not as cold as lycra or spandex garments and dries super fast keeping us warm when training or competing.
Bethalls Beach SLNZ Boat Crew
I’ve found the Sharkskin range to be perfect for staying comfortable in even the worst conditions – whether out training for Coast to Coast, an AR race or simply a big mission it is brilliant both as an outer layer and as the insulating layer under a dry top. The most impressive thing is how warm it remains when wet and it’s become a stable part of my kayaking equipment.
Elite Multisport and Adventure athlete and 5 time winner of NZ Coast to Coast event
Early morining winter training on Lake Karapiro by the NZ Canoe Sprint Team, when they were in preparation for the 2010 ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships which were held in Poznan, Europe.
NZ Kayak Team
Competed in the 2010 ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships
After hearing all the positive feedback about the Sharkskin products, I decided it was long overdue to try some clothing that could keep me warm with my Jetskifishing adventures. I have used various wetsuit brands and after the restrictive nature of the other products and rashes I was receiving, keeping warm and comfortable had been an issue…
Since using the Sharkskin range my adventures have been more enjoyable, also sustaining longer periods of fishing, even in extreme conditions, as I am no longer suffering from the cold. I totally recommend any athletes that are subjected to the elements, keep warm and dry, use the Sharkskin range and you to can really enjoy your sport.
Jet Ski Fishing
Stand Up Paddling has you above the water, exposed to the elements and wind chill is always major factor. With Sharkskins products being 100% windproof I find the range boasts extremely comfortable garments that have the same warmth as a full wetsuit, but are more lightweight and offer increased flexibility, a must when competing in National and International Stand Up Paddle events.I choose Sharkskin for this reason and it never gets left behind when packing for my next surf.
Current Australian SUP Champion
Near freezing conditions and up to 40 knot winds on race day mean the only way I’m going anywhere near the water is in my Sharkskins. The fleece lining is super cosy, and the warmth also means I don’t have stiff achy knees and joints anymore! With dusk approaching and fast ferries speeding by the hi-vis orange is also reassuring.