The Sharkskin is a remarkable garment. It’s made of a thin, four-way-stretchy material that is both breathable and windproof, so it’s useful above water on the dive-boat or when you’re walking around the site and looking like the sort of diver who really has his act together.
Getting into the Sharkskin was easy. Open the back-mounted zip, step into the bottom half of the suit, pull on the arms and I was almost there. Unusually, the zip runs diagonally from just above the left hip up to the back of the right shoulder, and it turned out that the angle is perfect for pulling it closed using the dangly ribbon attached to the tab.
Putting on my drysuit over the top was equally straightforward. There are stirrups to stop the legs rucking up, thumb-loops on the ends of the arms to keep the sleeves straight, and the material of the Sharkskin didn’t tend to catch in the suit zip, which was nice.
Once on, the undersuit added no feeling of bulk. I was able to walk around without looking as if I’d dropped a roll of carpet from under each arm, and pulled on my BC and fins and clip-stages without feeling constricted.
It was also comfortable enough to wear for a long day without chafing, and if you do get a bit damp it’s said to wick away the moisture. My wrist-seals always weep a bit, but I didn’t notice this with the Sharkskin in the same way that I do with the Thinsulate
None of which counts for much if you get cold on the dive. Sharkskin says that its suit offers warmth equivalent to that of a 2-3mm neoprene wetsuit. I’ve no idea if that’s true or not, but I managed a 90-minute dive in my current neoprene suit and was cool but not chilled when I climbed out of the water.
In winter or under a membrane suit I’d have needed more insulation, but the Sharkskin is thin and light enough to layer up easily.
I was able to pull my winter undersuit on over the Sharkskin and couldn’t discern any real difference, except that after two minutes I really needed the breathable effect.
The suit is also said to be odour-resistant, which would be nice at the end of a week’s diving trip.