There’s a bit of a vacuum in our industry when it comes to establishing an apparel brand for the mainstream customer that a few have stepped in to try to fill. For the most part, JetPilot was the premier brand to provide both quality riding gear and casual apparel for the jet ski enthusiast for the longest time – and for many diehards, JetPilot remains in that position. Unfortunately, for the mainstream, companies like JetPilot and others – Slippery and Jettribe to a lesser degree – are either geared towards a younger audience or that of strictly hardcore racers – none appeal to the core PWC buyer who trends in their upper 40’s all the way into the mid-60s.
A few months back, industry leader SBT, Inc. announced its own line of apparel and riding gear. The selection consisting of a neoprene tour coat, slip-on laceless riding booties, and a long sleeve rashguard, provided an abbreviated offering of quality, entry-level and budget-friendly items. We got our hands on the whole selection and opted to review each item individually, beginning with the rashguard. Priced at $19.95, the long sleeve rashguard is lowest-priced item in the selection. Wielding the benefits of both a watershirt and a sunshirt, the SBT Racing rash guard protects from damaging UV rays and wicks away water to help keep you warm.
Equally, the rashguard earns its name by providing protection from chafing from a life jacket. The white with navy blue and gray Lycra construction is durable but we found the white difficult to clean when worn in the ocher-red lakes of northern Georgia or the muddy banks of Tennessee (thankfully, we shot these images before testing began). When wet, the white does appear somewhat translucent, which might be a turn-off for many. In light of the unisex sizing (S-XL), it clings rather tightly when wet, despite the shirt’s suitable stretchiness. Thankfully, its water-wicking properties means it dries rather quickly, particularly in the sun.
Stylistically, the pattern and color selection looks good – except for the awkward “racing” script running down the right arm. Many commented on it stating it looked “tacked on” or “last minute.” Our suggestion is that if SBT is looking to launch “SBT Racing” as its own brand, the “racing” ought to be incorporated into the SBT logo itself. As stated earlier, the white can tend to be embarrassingly revealing when sopping wet, so maybe a darker color is in order. With more and more enthusiasts choosing to protect themselves using modern swim shirts (instead of caking on layers of sunscreen), a proper rashguard might be just what you’ve been needing – and SBT’s new long sleeve rashguard might be just the right fit for you.