A look at the Vaikobi V Ocean paddle shorts and top
I picked up a pair of Vaikobi V Ocean paddle shorts and a top around the beginning of the year. The middle of the winter, even by Southern California standards, is not a typical time to get new warm weather gear. Since I’ve lived in Los Angeles, however, there has been a regular mid-day temperature warm up in January that brings summer like conditions. At least as far as the air temperature is concerned. The water is a whole another story.
Towards the end of January is the annual Hanohano Ocean Challenge. The event has been held for decades and boasts a claim to be one of the longest continually running paddlesports event in California, perhaps even the entire West Coast. I have taken part in the event on a SUP in the past, but elected to compete in the 4.5 mile short course on an OC-1 this year.
I’ve been paddling OC-6 for a few seasons and began training on one of my club’s OC-1s last summer. I got hooked and my OC-6 skills have seen a significant improvement as a result. One thing I quickly learned from paddling both craft is the need for gear which doesn’t chafe. The board shorts I had been wearing for SUP were thin and it wasn’t long before I recognized a need for something different when paddling from a seated position for hours at a time.
I already had some Vaikobi cold weather gear and was impressed with its comfort and performance. Due to my familiarity with their products, I returned to the brand when seeking out my warm weather paddling gear and selected a pair of V Ocean paddling shorts and a long-sleeved UV paddle top.
One of the great aspects of the Vaikobi range is that they make performance gear designed specifically to be worn by paddlers. The race was scheduled for late morning and as if on cue, the weather dialed up a warm sunny day. My coach, a little known guy named Danny Ching, loaned me his Puakea Kahe Kai for what was my first OC-1 race and away I went to a surprise third place finish in the Masters division.
The weather turned cold not long after and I had to shelve the warm weather shorts and top for my Vaikobi cold weather gear.
Fortunately, OC-6 season is now in full swing and while weekday practices are in the evening, e.g. not a warm time of day, the middle of the day is quite nice and I’ve been able to get in some more reps wearing the V Ocean gear at events and weekend training sessions. One of the things I noticed the first time I wore the shorts back at Hanohano was the extreme comfort of the Vaikobi air pad in the seat panel of the paddle shorts. They have performed well in a few OC-6 races and I’m sold on the product. Once you try these shorts, you will never paddle outrigger in board shorts again. Ever.
The UV paddle shirt is equally impressive. I have a healthy addiction to the color orange and have learned to appreciate the benefit of long-sleeved apparel in late summer 9-man outrigger races and channel crossings. Since it is still spring, I’ve only had a few opportunities to wear the paddle shirt. The Vaikobi shirt is designed with a tight, athletic fit in mind. The size guidelines from Vaikobi recommend selecting a shirt one size larger than you normally would wear. I adhered to their recommendation and received a shirt that is a perfect fit. Super light, it is as soft as silk and I like the hi-vis orange stripes. If bright orange isn’t for you, there are also gray and blue options available to choose from. This is a shirt designed to be paddled in and it has exceeded my expectations.
To learn more, visit Vaikobi.com