June 10, 2021 13 min read
SHARKSKIN develops and manufactures technical alternatives to traditional watersports fabrics like neoprene or lycra that have traditionally been the go to for watersports thermal protection. Our goal is to provide technically superior fabrics that enable more comfort and better performance to the user both above or below the water.
Our primary thermal fabric is called CHILLPROOF which provides a 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.
Chillproof by Sharkskin is the smart skin that replaces a 3mm wetsuit with a revolutionary high tech tri-laminate that will keep you cool when it’s hot and warm when your cold - in, on and under the water
How does it work?
When submerged the hollow fibre fleece is designed to absorb and hold water and prevent water flushing through the suit. Your body heats the water which provides a barrier against the cold water outside of the suit.
On the surface Chillproof provides a windproof and water resistant barrier to the elements. The high loft hollow fleece holds air which your body heats to keep you warm with minimal bulk. Any moisture is quickly wicked away and excess heat or water vapour will pass through the one way semi permeable membrane to prevent over heating.
So Sharkskin keeps cool when it’s hot, and warm when it’s cold. Additionally it's neutrally buoyant, flexible, odour resistant and super comfortable.
Sharkskin Chillproof is ideal for all water sports including diving, snorkelling, jet skiing, all paddle watersports including SUP, surfski and outrigger, wind surf and kite boarding, sailing and also as a second layer under wetsuits for surfers and ocean swimmers.
Sharkskin Chillproof is the ideal water sports apparel to replace a 3mm wetsuit in, on or under the water! It can be used as an extra layer to add extra warmth under a wetsuit or Drysuit, or can be used on its own as the perfect single layer garment to keep you warm and comfortable in almost any situation from using on a boat or a night on the town.
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™ 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.
Rapid Dry has re invented the traditional rash guard. Rapid Dry is warmer, dries fast and lasts for years even in chlorine. Relaxed fit looks great in or out of the water.
Sharkskin Rapid Dry has addressed many of the drawbacks of a traditional rash guard while enhancing the benefits. First while close fitting and very flexible the more relaxed fit looks great and can be worn all day. Users often comment that they “live” in their Rapid Dry, wearing it in the ocean, around the pool and to the bar after a day of fun in the sun.
Rapid Dry is a lightweight fast-drying fabric in which the material is “infused” and then “heat set” with a water resistant treatment (WRT). The result is a fabric that is vastly superior in water shedding and lasts much longer than traditional treatments.
Rapid Dry fabric is warmer and many times more durable than traditional lycra rash guards. It is highly resistant to sun, salt, 100% chlorine proof, holds its shape extremely well and is UPF 50+ for the ultimate protection from the sun.
New styles and colours look great and the new collar option provides additional sun protection for the neck. Rapid Dry is the rash guard reinvented for use in, on and underwater.
Titanium Chillproof garments are unique. They feel the same as standard SHARKSKIN Chillproof fabric in that they have the same thickness, are neutrally buoyant, non-compressible and totally block wind on the surface.
They are also extremely comfortable to don and doff compared to neoprene, dry very fast and can be washed in a washing machine like normal clothing. Compared to standard Chillproof however, Titanium Chillproof benefits from Titanium Far Infrared (TiFIR) that is incorporated into the fabric.
Far Infrared (FIR) is most commonly associated as the heat energy generated by the sun and when absorbed by our bodies, infrared radiation causes a rise in body temperature. Far Infrared (FIR) however is also generated from our own bodies, in fact all mammals generate Far Infrared Heat Energy and approximately 50% of the energy generated by your own body is in the form of Far Infrared rays.
Titanium Chillproof has FIR reflective technology that reflects and retains the Far Infrared Heat Energy from our bodies back into our bodies subsequently causing a rise in temperature, increased blood flow and improved metabolic function – i.e. we will be warmer. Without this layer, the Far Infrared Heat Energy generated by our body is lost into the environment.
Our test have shown that Titanium Chillproof has equivalent thermal protection to a 4.5mm to 5mm neoprene wetsuit so you can wear it in place of a wetsuit in temperate waters between 20-26 degree c.
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. Wetsuit 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Sharkskin ‘technical watersports protection’ apparel range is designed and manufactured by a passionate and dedicated team in our factory in Newcastle, Australia. Sharkskin brand bags, gloves and caps are designed in-house and manufactured in offshore factories with strict quality control procedures.
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