It’s no secret that in the world of paddling, females are the minority. Therefore it is very hard for us to find comfort in most paddling kits, as they are generally tailored to a male figure. I’m sure many ladies will agree with me that finding a snug fitting yet practical drysuit is probably one of the most challenging parts of being a paddler. But as the female paddling community continues to grow, the increase in women’s kit means a huge improvement in the overall experience for us all.
When I first began kayaking, I was 13 years-old and strongly against cold weather paddling. It only took a couple of winter club trips to persuade my Dad that a wetsuit just didn’t cut it. When choosing my first suit, I felt DamX was the best option, as their suits are made to measure. I loved my suit, but as I progressed, I found it to be restricting, mainly due to its weight.
Over time I reverted back to the fitted wetsuit, and in the last 6 years, I have been happily rocking the half wetsuit, half drysuit look. Fortunately, I’ve been lucky enough to not spend too much time in the water! But with the Adidas Sickline rapidly approaching and plans for a season out in South America, I needed a new suit fast!
Immersion Research was my first choice. After having my Arch Rival dry top for two years and loving its quality even now, I felt I needed to try out IR’s new women’s drysuit, the Shawty. The first time I wore my Shawty was in Austria, which translates to cold water and short runs. By the end of my first run, I was completely unaware that I wasn’t in my usual leggings and drytop attire. Which brings me to my favourite feature of the suit; it’s super light! Only 220 grams per square meter. The difference in manouverabilty from my old suit is huge.
There are so many amazing features to this suit. I’ve worn it almost every day in the glacial waters of Chile and don’t know what I would have done without it. Here, a drysuit is essential because the water is so cold while the air temperature so high. The breathability of 4000 grams a square meter per 24 hours has a big advantage.
When kayaking or walking back up for laps, I know I’m sweating…a lot. But when I take my Shawty off, it’s always completely dry inside. Nothing like my old suit.
I’m also a big fan of the suit’s overall fit. Even the process of getting into it is so much easier than my old one! It is hard to find a suit that has enough excess material to make manoeuvring comfortable without it being too baggy. But the use of the belt, ankle and wrist cuffs on the Shawty make it a great fit!
The belt is a perfect feature for when you wish to walk around in just the suit trousers, as it’s tight enough at the waist to support the top half of the suit hanging while walking with ease.
The wrist and ankle cuffs have Velcro adjustments that also prevent any excess material getting in the way of walking or paddling.
I cannot give my Shawty drysuit enough praise. I haven’t found a fault from continuous use after 3 months, and I doubt I will.
Hope this helps ladies,
Words & Pictures: Molly-May Coull