What is Sharkskin made of?
Sharkskin is made from the most advanced technical fabrics available for watersports. At Sharkskin we are constantly seeking out the best new fabric technologies to keep you warm while participating in your favourite watersports.
Sharkskin Chillproof – how does it work?
The comfortable ‘hollow yarn’ fleece layer is next to the skin and ‘wicks’ moisture and sweat away from the body to help keep you dry. The second middle ‘technical’ layer is 100% windproof yet breathes to regulate body temperature while stopping windchill. The third outer layer is a nylon/lycra blend for abrasion resistance and 4 way stretch. It is also UV resistant for sun protection and has a durable water repellent finish (DWR) to provide a protective shell that ‘sheds’ water.
Sharkskin Performance – how does it work?
The Performance range has been created with the help of competition athletes. The designs use Chillproof material for full protection from the elements, flexible compression material to allow for maximum manoeuvrability during intense sport and neoprene for stretch and comfort. The different designs use heavy-duty zippers to control heat retention and mesh panels for ventilation to allow for maximum performance as weather conditions change or as your heart rate climbs.
Sharkskin R-Series Compression – how does it work?
Sharkskin is a technical apparel range that includes a unique performance compression range suited to the harshest of environments – on land and in the water.
The Sharkskin R-Series Compression range not only uses ‘form fitting’ design to help increase blood circulation and provide extra support and efficiency to muscles but has the unique addition of Liquid Titanium technology. This innovation is a result of titanium nano-particles being permanently infused into the fabric’s actual thread. The technology creates the ability to produce ‘far-infrared’ (FIR) radiation from the athletes own body heat. The result is a ‘double-up’ of benefits – compression plus FIR radiation, for an extra boost in performance and an increase in muscle recovery far beyond what normal compression garments can offer.
The Sharkskin R-Series Compression range’s design and fit has evolved over the last three years with the assistance of the Cronulla Sharks NRL team, Sharkskin ambassadors (all leaders in their respective fields), and one of the most extreme athletes in the world – Damien Rider.
Sharkskin R-Series Compression wear is one of the most comfortable, quick drying, robust and performance enhancing compression ranges available on the market. It is suitable for a wide range of uses – including daily gym sessions and fitness activities, underneath a wetsuit for performance and added warmth, or for the rigours of Obstacle Course Racing (OCR) and other extreme activities.
Sharkskin Rapid Dry – how does it work?
Rapid Dry is a lightweight, fast drying fabric in which the unwoven yarn is infused with a water repellent treatment (WRT). This method achieves a finish that is vastly more effective at shedding water and lasts much longer than traditional fabric treatments. The Rapid Dry fabric is warmer than cotton and nylon/lycra synthetic fabrics when wet. It has an SPF50+ rating for full sun protection, is lightweight and breathable and is chlorine resistant.
Sharkskin Covert – how does it work?
The built-in concealment technology in the Covert range is designed to improve your dive experience. The material is woven with conductive carbon fibers that trap and mask your naturally occurring electric signal output that many marine animals can detect and react to, enhancing your ability to get closer to marine life underwater.
SHARKSKIN COVERT WORKS BY COMBINING 3 SCIENTIFIC PRINCIPLES:
1. All living things emit a faint electric signal.
2. Some marine species can detect faint electric signals.
3. A conductive screen operating as a ‘Faraday’ shield can block electric signals.
How do you wash Sharkskin?
This depends on your use – if worn under a wetsuit to keep you warm then a rinse in fresh water in a dive tub or on a hanger with the garden hose is perfect.
If you wear Sharkskin in high heart rate, intense watersports where you will be sweating a lot then you can also schedule a rinse using a mild anti-bacterial agent like commercially available ‘wetsuit wash’ every so often. WetWetsuit wash is available in most dive, surf and watersports and is not as aggressive as most detergents and is formulated especially to rejuvenate fabrics.
If you are using sharkskin where it will get especially dirty – fish residues while kayak fishing or dirt and mud during multisports or obstacle course racing (OCR) for example, then you may need to use a gentle-cycle cold-water machine wash with a gentle detergent.
Make sure you dry your Sharkskin garments in the shade and out of the direct sun if possible. This will prolong the life of your Sharkskin garments.
Does Sharkskin need to be tight or loose?
This really depends on what your favourite watersport is.
If you are wearing Sharkskin underneath a wetsuit then you will need to make sure your Sharkskin garment is ‘fitted’ so that it is comfortable and does not bunch underneath your wetsuit.
If you are wearing Sharkskin as a standalone garment (not under a wetsuit) and in and out of the water (EG – SUP, surfing, surf ski, kiteboarding, windsurfing, skiff sailing, etc) then it is best to make sure your Sharkskin garment is more ‘fitted’ than loose. Chillproof material absorbs water when fully immersed and so if the garment is too large it can become uncomfortable with the extra weight of the absorbed water.
If you are wearing Sharkskin as a standalone garment out of the water 100% of the time (EG – recreational kayaking, as thermal wear for mountain biking, skiing, etc) then you may be more comfortable with a slightly looser fit.
Of course the best idea is to find your nearest Sharkskin stockist and try on the design best suited to your favourite watersport(s). Most watersport enthusiasts have a wardrobe full of Sharkskin to match different seasons, conditions and watersport activities.
The exception to wearing Sharkskin ‘fitted’ is the Rapid Dry range. Rapid Dry is designed to be worn slightly loose like your favourite T shirt.
What is the difference between the various Sharkskin Chillproof tops?
The Chillproof top and Climate Control top are both 100% made from the Chillproof fleece material (nylon abrasion resistant outer layer / windchill proof, breathable technical middle layer / hollow yarn fleece inner layer). The Chillproof top has a 3mm neoprene neck gasket designed for wearing under a wetsuit or for whitewater paddling where you don’t want water entering the neck area. The Climate Control top has a 1/2 zipper (instead of a neoprene gasket) designed mainly for above water watersports, (kayaking, multisport, SUP paddling, kiteboarding, windsurfing, jetski, etc), where you may need to vent via the zipper should you get too hot. The zipper design would be uncomfortable under a wetsuit.
Which Sharkskin garments are better for keeping you warm while diving?
Wearing Sharkskin under a wetsuit not only keeps you warm during the dive but protects against windchill in between dives.
The chest vest keeps your core warm in and out of the water. The chest vest with hood gives you that extra warmth that you need for cold water. You lose a lot of heat through your head so you can even double up by adding a neoprene hood over the sharkskin hood in really cold water for extra warmth.
The Shortsleeve Chillproof top adds more warmth than the chest vest by enclosing your armpit area. The Longsleeve Chillproof top is for even colder water diving provided your wetsuit has enough room in the arms for the longsleeve top underneath it. Most go for the shortsleeve top – but if you get very cold and your suit has enough room in the arms then go for the longsleeve top.
What is the difference between Sharkskin Chillproof and a wetsuit?
Wetsuits are made from a rubber compound called neoprene which is impregnated with tiny bubbles of gas and typically sandwiched between two linings of nylon. Whether for snorkelling, diving or general watersports wetsuits are worn skin tight to minimise water flow and provide insulation. The thicker the wetsuit the warmer you are.
As an insulating material neoprene has some drawbacks – it is bulky and restrictive particularly on thicker suits, it offers minimal wind resistance so provides little protection from wind chill, it does not breathe so you can overheat when out of the water, it is positively buoyant so divers need to carry lead-weight (the thicker the suit the more weight is needed), the gas bubbles in neoprene break down over time so it loses its insulation properties.
Sharkskin Chillproof is a 3-layer technical material (see FAQ “Sharkskin Chillproof – how does it work?”) made up of a comfortable ‘hollow yarn’ fleece layer that is next to the skin and ‘wicks’ moisture and sweat away from the body to help keep you dry, a second middle ‘technical’ layer that is 100% windproof yet breathes to regulate body temperature while stopping windchill, and a third outer layer that is a nylon/lycra blend for abrasion resistance and 4 way stretch. It is also UV resistant for sun protection and has a durable water repellent finish (DWR) to provide a protective shell that ‘sheds’ water.
As an insulating material Sharkskin Chillproof has many benefits over neoprene – it is a truly technical fabric that provides exceptional wind resistance to avoid wind chill, it breathes to prevent overheating and is far more comfortable to wear so users will often keep their Sharkskin garment on all day, it is far less bulky, it is not buoyant so you do not need to add weight for diving, it does not compress at depth so there is no change in buoyancy at depth, it is extremely durable and retains its insulation by not having any gas bubbles in it (like neoprene) to break down over time, it is anti-microbial so does not ‘smell’ with repeated use.
For snorkelling, diving and general watersports in temperate and cold water you can layer Sharkskin Chillproof garments underneath a wetsuit. This gives you the best of both worlds by providing a comfortable wind chill proof layer next to your skin with an outer ‘shell’ of neoprene for additional insulation and to streamline your body in the water. By layering in this way you it is possible to use a thinner more flexible wetsuit than you would normally use.
If you are very sensitive to the cold, or during Winter when the water temperature drops, you can ‘add’ a Sharkskin Chillproof garment underneath your normal thickness wetsuit to make sure you stay extra warm in the water and on land when wind chill can lower your bodies temperature quickly.
In summary – Sharkskin Chillproof provides the equivalent insulation of 3mm neoprene in water but is more comfortable, is not bulky or restrictive, and protects you far better from wind chill than a wetsuit does.
What is the difference between the fullsuit designs?
The main difference between the 2 fullsuits is the position of the zipper. The rear zip Chillproof fullsuit has a neoprene gasket neck seal while the front zip Chillproof undergarment has a standard neck with no neoprene in its design. While both designs keep you warm in the water and on the surface the frontzip design (undergarment) is more comfortable for under a drysuit while the rearzip design is more typically used for warmer water snorkelling and diving or for people who have an allergy or hypersensitivity to rubber or latex.
Can you layer Sharkskin with other garments?
Layering Sharkskin gives you the flexibility of adding or removing garments to handle changing weather conditions. Each category of Sharkskin apparel has its own unique benefits – so by combining 2 or more garments you can achieve a ‘layering’ system that will allow you to face the weathers extremes – both cold and hot.
Chillproof is designed to be worn fitted and the Rapid Dry top is designed to be worn loose like a T-shirt, so you can pull a shortsleeve or longsleeve Rapid Dry top on over a Chillproof ‘next to skin’ layer anytime.
A great combination for winter watersports is a Chillproof garment (chest vest, short or longsleeve top) to keep your core nice and warm with a Rapid Dry longsleeve worn on top to handle sea spray and for sun protection on your shoulders and arms should you be wearing the chest vest.
For active watersports wear the chillproof chest vest with rapid dry as a top layer. For less active watersports choose either the chillproof shortsleeve or longsleeve top (with or without zipper) with rapid dry as the top layer.
The Rapid Dry tops also work well over Performance tops. The compression material in the performance garments draws blood to the muscles in your shoulders and arms to help with endurance and recovery, but because of the extra sensitivity with increased blood flow you can get cold more quickly. Wearing a Rapid Dry top over the performance top adds an insulation layer to ward off windchill and is thin enough to keep you from overheating.
You can also layer Sharkskin with your wetsuit. By adding a garment from the Chillproof range underneath your wetsuit you can add the equivalent warmth of a 3mm wetsuit without the additional bouyancy. The Chillproof garment not only ensures that you stay warm during a dive or other watersports activity but also stops windchill when you are above the water in-between sessions.
Can Sharkskin Chillproof garments be used by those with allergies to rubber or latex?
Answer from a Physician based in USA with severe type 4 hypersensitivity contact dermatitis.
“I am a physician who was diagnosed a number of years ago with a severe type 4 hypersensitivity to latex and non-latex glove materials. This necessitated a major adjustment to my career and the strict avoidance of contact with these type of substances.
Varied dive websites referred to individuals with more mild forms of sensitivity and what precautions they took to avoid problems. The only serious advice seemed to point to the use of the Sharkskin product line as either the sole garment worn or as an undergarment to a wetsuit.
Avoiding neoprene contact directly to my skin was an absolute necessity so I purchased a full set of the Sharkskin Chillproof undergarments – the Chillproof front zip suit, (without the neoprene collar that the back zip full suit has), and a Chillproof hood, socks and gloves.
I was hoping to avoid a wetsuit altogether but the water temperature where I was diving in Australia was too cold to allow for this. Therefore, throughout my three days of training and open water diving I wore the Sharkskin undergarment and accessories underneath a wetsuit for a total of 18 hours.
After all of my dives I checked for any irritation of my skin with regard to my contact dermatitis condition. After the diving and certification was complete I watched a full further week, (type 4 hypersensitivity contact dermatitis can show a delayed effect after exposure), to see if any irritation occurred. It has now been a full 17 days since I finished diving and at no time whatsoever has my skin shown any signs of irritation or problems.
Although a relatively short experience, the nature of my skin sensitivity suggests that the Sharkskin was very effective in completely reducing my exposure directly to the wetsuit material. I highly endorse the Sharkskin product for the subset of users with conditions similar to mine.
When you purchase yours, make sure that the glove length extends beneath the sleeves of the front zip suit to eliminate any exposure points.”
Note from Sharkskin – If you need a custom fit to ensure 100% skin cover with Sharkskin Chillproof, please enquire through your local Sharkskin stockist.