Gear Review: HiHo SunTek Shirts

HiHo SunTek Shirts

HiHo SunTek Shirts

Sunblock clothes are easy to find these days…but it’s rare when you find a good piece of technical kit suitable for all kinds of paddling scenarios. I was blessed with fair, Anglo-Irish skin and more often than not, nowadays I need a long sleeved jersey or shirt to race, surf and teach in. But in the humid, hot climate of North Carolina, that’s not always comfortable. I have to weigh a sunburn and possible skin cancer with heat stroke. Not great options. While we have long sung the praises of the Bluesmiths Kanaha shirt – which is my go to when I know there’s wind – sometimes, in the stifling, thick air around Falls Lake, the long sleeved version is too much. The short sleeved is perfect, but them I am back to the skin cancer debate.

Just before the start of the season, I was given a long sleeved race jersey from the 2017 Painkiller Cup by the Mullet, who raved about the lightweight way it feels. I was dubious, as I often am, about these things. Then I wore it. I now find that when conditions are just too hot for my beloved Bluesmiths, this shirt by HiHo is my go-to.

HiHo is a casual clothing maker based in the British Virgin Islands. They make a wide variety of Caribbean/tropical influenced clothing, including bathing suits and board shorts. But it’s the SunTek line of shirts that put them on the map, as far as I am concerned.

Perfect for hot, humid, windless days

Made from 95% polyester and 5% spandex, HIHO Suntek offers SPF 50 protection. The fabric has a light weave in it, which helps promote air flow and breathability. While it seems shear, my shirt is granite blue-gray color, it is not see through. When completely wet, it is a tad bit clingy, but not annoyingly so. And while it is not nearly as hydrophobic as Bluesmiths, it does dry quickly. As for durability, I have been wearing it consistently for a month or so and so far, no runs or pills.

On a a recent camping trip when temperatures dropped below what I was prepared for, I just happened to have my HiHo shirt with me and I used it as a baselayer. It helped keep me warm in my hammock. And it was great to paddle in on the cool morning that followed. So, it’s multifunctional as well. When you invest in a good piece of technical paddling clothing, it’s a big bonus to know that it will stand up in different scenarios for different uses and applications.

So if you are looking for a good, SPF 50 long sleeved paddle shirt that will stand up to hot climates and look good, definitely check out HiHo. And if you do, let us know what you think.

Paddle Monster Newsletter Signup