It’s been a while since we’ve gotten our hands on any new riding apparel that we’ve actually liked wearing. While more hardcore riders don’t find product reviews such as these terribly titillating, the majority of folks looking for the right gear, equipment and accessories to increase their enjoyment out on the water love these kinds of reports. And why shouldn’t they? Some of our best, most popular content has been reviews of useful and brilliantly-engineered products that make a day on the water even more fun. Sure, you might not think a shirt can make that much of a difference, but you’d be wrong.
A regular ol’ cotton T-shirt is certainly comfortable to wear while riding, as it is both light and breathable. Yet, the minute it gets wet, either by splashing, falling off or just wading a little too deep into the water, and BAM! you’ve got a heavy rag clinging to your skin that can rapidly drop your body temperature in a matter of minutes. Add to that little to no protection from UV rays, and the fact that cotton stretches horribly when wet, and you’ve just got yourself a shirt you won’t be wearing again anytime soon. That’s why RIVA Racing, the industry’s biggest name in performance and lifestyle products for the PWC enthusiast, is offering its race-inspired Offshore Rash Guard.
While we opted for the stealthy black-and-charcoal combo, the RIVA Racing Offshore Rash Guard comes in yellow/green, red/white/blue, and blue/white. Every shirt comes with long sleeves and cut in a classic regular fit (although RIVA notes that sizes may run slightly smaller than average). Moreover, each shirt is made from 100-percent polyester with soft, durable flatlock seams (that means no uncomfortable scratchiness). Being polyester, the material is super soft, doesn’t cling uncomfortably when wet and dries insanely quick – whether standing in the sun or at speed on your ski. A major addition that we found to be super useful was RIVA’s inclusion of special super-breathable mesh for the under arms ensuring that sweat and perspiration will dry quickly and won’t discolor lighter colors. Of course, the big feature is the rash guard’s UPF 35 sun protection ensuring that a day on the water won’t end in an evening slathering oneself in aloe vera.
In previous testing, we’ve also found some rash guards to be cluttered with heavy screen printed lettering, which can bunch and distort the shirt after several uses. Not so with the RIVA rash guard. Being a stickler on collar fitment, we were glad the RIVA Racing Offshore Rash Guard didn’t hold too tightly or lay down too flat around the neck; rather, it fit naturally like a new T-shirt. Priced at $35.95 it’s definitely not a budget-priced item but rightly so, as it is easily observed as being both made of superior material and a better cut. Thankfully, RIVA Racing is discounting much of its apparel and accessories up to 40-percent before Memorial Day, so act quickly! Lastly, as is with almost all water shirts and rash guards, the polyester material can be less than flattering for many average-sized folks. Yet, for those on the trimmer side of things, you’ll find it to be very complimentary to your frame that exercise and proper diet has awarded you.