I first discovered Sharkskin when I was working as a Dive Master on the Great Barrier Reef and instantly fell in love with my top. It was perfect to wear under my wetsuit and also provided protection when the water temperatures were not quite cold enough to wear a wetsuit. I always pack mine when travelling as you never know when you may end up in the water! I introduced Sharkskin to the Sea Shepherd boat M/Y Bob Barker where my role was Primary Diver and Rescue Swimmer for Operation Divine Wind in 2011/12. Sharkskin was also perfect for the Small Boat Crew to wear when they were out on boat mission’s to save whales. We love Sharkskin!
Primary Diver and Rescue Swimmer aboard the Sea Shepherd
My twin brother Shaun and I have been using Sharkskin gear for around 6 months now and we are loving it! We train on either our skis or kayaks everyday and have experienced extreme weather conditions. Sharkskin offers something perfect to wear in all areas, from freezing winter mornings with icy winds to the hottest summer days. The gear provides great mobility, especially around the armpit region, which is perfect for paddling and it always keeps us warm without making us hot. We used to have problems with rash and chaffing but have never experienced this while using Sharkskin gear. The Sharkskin garments are not only good for paddling; they are perfect to throw under a wetsuit while surfing or to keep you warm from the wind while kite surfing. We highly recommend Sharkskin gear to any athlete; they definitely supply the best paddling gear we have ever used.
Kayak & Ski Paddler
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
My philosophy for adventure is simple, “No boundaries, No limits”. From high altitudes to extreme depths, whenever I prepare for action I find my Rapid Dry is one of the first things I pack!
Record Holding Freediver, SSI Instructor, Pro Adventure Athlete
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.
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
Even on the coldest mornings all I need is a long sleeve thermal and my sharkskin. It have found it allows me to keep warm in a variety of conditions and the rain is no issue. It can really dump it down and you are no colder when wearing the Sharkskin. I’ve also been using it on the surf ski and it’s brilliant. I’ve hopped off into the water just to test it out and found that it really keeps me warm even when wet. I also use a very thin neoprene type top and when this gets wet when combined with the breeze it can be really cool…the Sharkskin is significantly warmer than the new titanium neoprene type garments out these days.
International Multisport athlete and 3 time winner of NZ Coast to Coast event
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
“Chill Factor Zero” the ad claims. Our readers confirm this! All over the Country the Sharkskin brand of thermal wear is flowing off the shelves. Its fleecy lining makes it the most comfortable paddling wear available.
Tony Barrett of Hamilton C&K told me “I was on the Mohaka River in May, wearing just a Sharkskin and dry top. Although I was wet all day, I never felt the cold. When I took it off, it felt as if there had been no water in it. The water vanished very quickly.” There’s no need for anyone to put up with the cold any more.
Canoe & Kayak Magazine
I have been using the Sharkskin Rapid Dry top a lot both on and off the water and I’m loving it. It’s perfect for the slightly colder conditions too as it’s like a splash guard when it is drizzling but you don’t overheat.
NZ World Champion - Sprint/Marathon/Surf Ski Paddler
Over the last few months I’ve taken a huge liking to my Sharkskin Long sleeve top.
For spring white water creeking / scouting missions the Sharkskin long sleeve top has become my absolute go to. It’s comfort and warmth has made the need for multiple smelly poly pro’s redundant.
In an early spring descent of the snow fed central Otago Nevis river I was more than comfortable wearing only my sharkskin under my dry top. Normally this type of descent would demand at least 3 poly pro’s which restricts your range of motion in this class V kayaking environment.
I would recommend the Sharkskin long sleeve top to any kayaker who is keen to have one do it all garment under their dry top. It is warm on even the coldest days and reduces the need for multiple layers.
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.