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.