Thursday, 11 July 2013

Sharkskin

Introduction:


A dive mentor of mine once said: 


"...if you dive the same conditions over and over, 
then you are likely to have only re-occurring dive experiences."

That is, if you only dive in shallow, crystal-clear and warm tropical waters, then you are limiting yourself from diving with marine life that do not favor these conditions and you cut out a large percentage of possible dive locations. This is why I, as the owner of Dive Flag App and an adventure diver, make an effort to dive both day and night, travel the world and permanently seek new dive activities and experiences. This is also why I started planning my first cold-water dive trip to Melbourne, Australia.



Good diving practice is to speak with locally based divers to find out what the dive conditions are like. Melbourne based divers were quick to notify me that water temperatures can be expected to drop as low as 14 degrees Celsius. Furthermore, they recommended diving in a dry-suit. However, I found it difficult to justify the price of a dry-suit for the occasional cold-water dive. After speaking with more divers a friend introduced me to Sharkskin.



Sharkskin is an Australian based manufacturer of a technical water sports apparel that includes 100% Chillproof garments which provide warmth and wind protection. They also manufacture performance garments which include compression technology to aid in muscle recovery and rapid dry garments which are perfect for summer or layering on top of other Sharkskin garments for extra warmth and sun protection.

Sharkskin claim to be ideally suited to active water sports, such as; scuba diving, snorkeling, kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, yachting, surfing, jet skiing, water skiing and river rafting.

As most divers would be aware, being cold underwater is far from preferable and in some cases can be very dangerous. So, I put Sharkskin to the test and the results surprised me!

The Sharkskin Range:

The Sharkskin range is comprehensive and allows for cross matching garments depending on the activity you engage in. Their four product ranges include:



Sharkskin's product range claim the following key performance features:

SPLASHPROOF: Durable water repellent outer layer to provide a protective shell that ‘sheds’ water.
CHILLPROOF: High quality next-to-skin fleece to wick moisture and keep you warm and dry
SUNPROOF: Sharkskin garments range between SPF30+ / 50+ for protection from UV rays.
WINDPROOF: ‘Technical’ membrane layer which is 100% windproof to stop windchill.
PRO: Compression material for maximum maneuverability, endurance and recovery.

The above information got me excited to test their products. I decided to start by testing their cornerstone range, Chillproof, which includes a thermal insulation layer which can be used as a stinger-suit or an added layer of insulation under your existing wet-suit. This range has a purposeful 3-layer composite material designed to keep you warm during cold-water dives. I have outlined my first Sharkskin experience below.


My Sharkskin Experience:


I had the opportunity to trial the product on one of my recent excursions. The water temperature was 21 degrees Celsius. Diving for 45 minutes at this temperature can feel quite cold because you lose your body heat up to 25 times faster underwater than you would above water. I did not wear any Sharkskin product on my first dive. This allowed me to confirm that my regular wet-suit was not enough to keep me warm under these conditions. After an uncomfortably cold dive, I put on the long sleeve Chillproof top (pictured below). I found the product very easy to slip on. The thumb loops allowed me to keep the Sharkskin product in place when sliding my wet-suit on over the top. Once on, I removed my thumbs from these loops. 




After re-entering the water it took about 5 minutes for the water to fully penetrate the Sharkskin layers - after which, my body heat had accumulated and increased once again to a comfortable level. This allowed me to be more comfortable and relaxed on the dive. Furthermore, as I was taking photographs on the dive, it allowed me to steady my hands and take photographs with greater accuracy. I also found myself concentrating on the fun aspects of diving rather than being reminded of how cold I am. 



Once we emerged from the water other divers were shivering and talking about how cold they were, rather than the typical topics of discussion, including; what we saw and how awesome the dive was. Once I removed my scuba equipment and placed it aside I could actually feel warm water trickle from around the ends of my sleeves and down my fingers. On the day this feeling was especially obvious. I couldn't help but chuckle to myself over the fact that I have suffered unnecessarily on cold dives so much in the past.

After I removed my wet-suit I was interested in testing the Sharkskin product as a wind breaker. On our return trip the vessel was travelling at 20 knots. With the rapid drying of Sharkskin products I was dry in no time. Furthermore, with its three layer system no winds penetrated the garment.


Dive Flag App's Overall Review:


Sharkskin is an absolute must for every diver. The flexibility of their garments (combinations in which they can be worn) and the activities for which they are suitable - make them fantastic value for money. 

Advantages I observed of Sharkskin from my trial: 

1) It allows you to convert your standard wet-suit into one more suitable for cold waters. 
2) The product appears to be made of high quality materials and long lasting stitching. 
3) The material is flexible and comfortable enough to be used as a 'stinger-suit'.
4) Sharkskin garments dry much faster than conventional wet-suits.
5) The product is light and flexible making it easy to travel with.
6) It provides a smooth layer, making it easier for slipping on your wet-suit.

I found all the following, before mentioned product performance features, accurate:

SPLASHPROOF: The product is quick drying and lets very little water in.
CHILLPROOF: The garment kept me warm and dry with only small amounts of water trickling out at the end of the dive.
SUNPROOF: The garment is suitable for wear above the water keeping me out of direct sunlight and the sometimes harsh Australian sun-rays.
WINDPROOF: The garment prevented the cool winds from penetrating to the skin.
PRO: The garment was very flexible and did not limit any movement.



This is no wonder why so many ambassadors have put their name forward in support of the product:



There are so many applications for Sharkskin apparel that the possibilities are endless. Whether you're male or female, after long or short wear garments, or just plain wanting to look good - then this is the product for you. I found it comfortable to wear and that it met its marketing promises.

Over score: 10/10


If you would like more information regarding this experience or the product, please feel free to contact me ( info@diveflagapp.com ). I would be more than happy to answer your questions. 

For more product and stockist information please visit the Sharkskin website. 

Frank Vorster
Dive Flag App
Owner
info@diveflagapp.com 

3 comments:

  1. Diving can be a good experience but only when u will take proper saftey and costumes.

    ReplyDelete
  2. The website is looking bit flashy and it catches the visitors eyes. Design is pretty simple and a good user friendly interface.
    10etext

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi. What air temp is the chillproof good in? Miami in the summer?

    ReplyDelete