Gear Review: Bluesmiths Kanaha Hydrophobic Paddle Shirt

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Bluesmiths Kanaha Shirt and Sweet Everybody Capris

Here is a photo from their website showing the front and back:

Kanaha Grande

Technical Specs

  • Hydrophobic long sleeve water shirt
  • Ultra-fast drying, lightweight & highly breathable
  • Water repellent – NanoSphere® Technology
  • Sun protective – UPF 40 (Wet or Dry)
  • Tailored fit
  • Pocket with KeyLeash & cable management
  • Built to last with recycled, non-corrosive zipper
This picture shows water beading off:

My Review

In a nutshell: It’s awesome!

The question that people have asked me and that you might ask yourself is “Is this shirt worth $90?” Yes. Yes it is. In fact, I think I’m going to buy myself the short sleeved version.

I used to make fun of bicyclists with all of their fancy clothing until I realized that I do that myself with paddle gear. One time while I was out of town my husband took our dogs in my car to visit a friend. I had left paddle clothes all over the back seat. Which the dogs proceeded to use to make a comfy nest with their little claws. I said “If you knew how much those cost, you would have taken your car.”

It’s important to me to have gear that fits properly and is manufactured out of the right fabrics to get the job done. Paddling is a weird sport in that it is highly aerobic, so you get hot. You need sun protection, as well, though. There’s the possibility that you’ll fall in, and if you do, you don’t want to stay wet and soggy for the remainder of the paddle. You need a shirt that will dry out fast, protect you from the sun, and that breathes. That takes technology and ingenuity. The Kanaha shirt is all that and a bag of tricks.

Did the shirt make me fall in?

That’s the question I’m asking myself. Both times that I wore it I fell in during a flatwater paddle. That does not normally happen. I am thinking that the shirt cosmically made me fall in so that I could wax poetic about its water-repelling capacity. Otherwise, how was I to have the full experience?

The first day I was out with it, it was cold, slightly drizzly, and generally gross out. The temperature was probably around 55 degrees with coolish wind blowing off the ocean through the Masonboro Inlet. I fell in at the south side of Money Island and was completely submerged. Once I climbed out, about 5 minutes later, the shirt was dry. How thankful was I for my shirt when it was cold out? My friend Sandy did not have a hydrophobic shirt, and she was really cold for the rest of the 2 miles we had left.

The second day I wore it for a 9.5 mile paddle on a sunny, warm-ish, windy day last weekend. I was worried about getting too hot, and almost didn’t wear it. I’m glad I did! The temperature was about 60-65 degrees. Heading into the wind, I was glad to have the extra layer on. With the wind at my back, the mesh was enough to keep me vented and cool. Once we got down closer to the inlet and the ocean, I appreciated the shirt to keep the cool ocean breezes off of me. Then I fell in, and was glad that it dried out quickly, again.

As mentioned before, the flat seams are fantastic. I also like the color, and the fit. It isn’t too short or weirdly shaped.

The Butt Pocket

I always wear a camelbak, and keep my snacks and keys and stuff in there. HOWEVER I think I might start keeping my key in the zip pocket on the back of this shirt because I am always afraid the velcro on my camelbak might come open and I’ll lose my keys. There’s a laynard/hook in the zip pocket for a key. You could also put some chomps in there for a snack.

Verdict: Buy this Shirt

I’d be surprised if you don’t love it.

What about others who have this shirt? Do you love it?

Fall in-get out-stay dry