The Importance of Wearing a Rash Shirt during Water Sports

September 06, 2021

The Importance of Wearing a Rash Shirt during Water Sports

With over 1 million non-melanoma skin cancer diagnoses worldwide in 2018, it's hard to dismiss the importance of wearing a Rash Shirt during Water Sports. Forearms, the back and shoulders are highly susceptible to sunburn and sun damage unless we cover up with a shirt or watersports top. Here's a bit more info about why a rash shirt should be at the top of your wardrobe list for water sports of all kinds:


What do rash guard shirts do?

A rash shirt, dubbed “rashie” by many around the world, is the most effective way to protect the skin from damaging UV sun rays and rashes caused by excessive or abrasive contact with watercraft. They are also an effective way to maintain thermal control across all seasons during performance water sports. 

Is a rash guard for swimming?

Yes! Most rash guards and swim shirts are designed with rapid dry technology to maximise user comfort. Unlike wearing a cotton tee-shirt, wearing a rashie won’t make you feel like you’re carrying around a cold, wet blanket. Ensure the fit of your rashie is close to the body, not loose. Vaikobi rashies have strategically placed panel lines to fit close to the body even when swimming. For our sailors and kayakers out there, a good rashie is like a second skin and won’t impact your performance should a drenching occur.

If you want to wear a rashie in a chlorine pool, consider a chlorine-resistant rash guard to prevent gradual disintegration.

UV Rash Guard Men’s & Women’s 

Approximately 2 in 3 Australians (men and women) will be diagnosed with some form of skin cancer before the age of 70. As people who are on the water for extended periods, our exposure to reflected ultraviolet rays increases the risk of sunburn exponentially. The best thing we can do is prevent and reduce melanoma chances by covering skin up with rash guards or swim shirts.

Wearing a long-sleeved top during performance sports, such as kayaking or sailing, also offers an added layer of abrasion protection for the arms. Anyone who has spent time in a performance boat knows that you can scrape yourself on plenty of different fittings or equipment, in a high adrenaline environment. High coverage clothing protects against cuts, chafing, and bruising. They also prevent friction between a lifejacket (or trapeze harness) and bare skin caused by rigorous movement.

Vaikobi’s unisex rashie collection has a UV 50+ rating to offer the highest sun protection possible for men and women. These women’s and men’s rash shirts are so versatile that they’re suitable for kayaking, sailing, foiling, swimming, stand-up paddle-boarding, and even surfing.

High-Necked Rash Shirt Women’s & Men’s 

The classic Long Sleeve Rash Top is a perfect choice for ultimate sun protection. The design features a higher neck for reduced exposure to rays while regulating body temperature to protect athlete performance. This garment is available in both kids and adult sizing, offering the best protective (and, let’s face it, best looking) choice for your summer adventures. 

Fitted Rash Guards 

The VOCEAN L/S UV Top features our VLight fabrication with an incredibly soft feel for maximum comfort while racing and training. While more fitted for a sleek look, these rash shirts are non-restrictive and ergonomically constructed to perform with all body types.  

Our flatlock stitch is durable and flexible, meaning there are no bulky or scratchy seams to chafe or cause discomfort to the wearer. This design comes in various colours, with both Fluro orange and cyan sleeves available for wearers who prefer increased visibility.  

Looser Rash Shirts

If you like to opt for a looser garment, the L/S Relaxed Fit UV Top is an ultra-lightweight and breathable top. The cut is excellent for men and women participating in paddle sports and will keep you cool, light, and breezy while elevated above the water. 

Chlorine Resistant Rash Guards and Swim Shirts  

Chlorine-resistant rash guards are also available to those who train or swim in a chemically treated pool. These kinds of rashies are made from polyester, as opposed to nylon and spandex. They are usually anti-stretch and anti-fade, making for a great investment in a durable option. 

Wearing a rashie can only improve your experience out on the water, offering the best protection where pure sunscreen can’t compete.

While we are grateful for the sun protection that the old-school, sun-faded, overstretched rashies provided in our youth - at least now, with performance fabrication and smart design, we can stay sun safe in style!


Shop for a rashie, or read more about Vaikobi rashies here.

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XXS   161 167  54 58 76 81 62 66 78 82
XS   165 172  56 63 82 87 66 70 82 89
S   169  176  61 68 88 96 71 76 90 96
M   174 181  66 73 97 104 77 85 97 102
L   178  185  76 85 106 114 86 95 103 108
XL   183  190  86 95 116 122 96 105 109 115
XXL   187  194  96 105 124 132 106 114 116 122


Size HEIGHT (Feet + Inches) WEIGHT (Pounds) CHEST (Inches) WAIST (Inches) HIPS (Inches)
XXS   5'3"  5'6"  119 128 30 32 24.5 26 30.5 32.5
XS   5'5"  5'8"  123 139 32 34.5 26 27.5 32.5 35
S   5'7"  5'9"  135 150 34.5 38 28 30 35.5 38
M   5'9"  5'11"  146 161 38 41 30 33.5 38 40
L 5'10"  6'8"  168 187 41.5 45 34 37.5 40.5 42.5
XL 6'  6'3"  190 209 45.5 48 38 41.5 43 45.5
XXL 6'2"  6'4"  121 232 49 52 41.5 55 45.5 48




Y-S 132 139 30 34 60 65 56 61 68 72
Y-M 140 148  33 39 65 71 61 68 72 78
Y-L 147 155  40 47 70 76 67 73 77 84
Y-XL 152 162 47 54 75 82 72 79 83 89







    HIPS     (IN)
Y-S 4'3" 4'8" 66 75 24 26 24 26 27 28


4'8"  73 86 26 28 26 28 28 31


5'  88 104 28 30 28 30 30 33
Y-XL 5' 5'4" 104 119 30 32 30 32 33 35

Fit Tips

If one of your body measurements is in between two sizes, order the smaller size for a tighter fit or the larger size for a looser fit. If your body measurements for hips and waist correspond to two different suggested sizes, order the one indicated by your hip measurement.

How To Measure

WAIST: Measure around the narrowest part (typically where your body bends side to side), keeping the tape horizontal.
HIPS: Measure around the widest part of your hips, keeping the tape horizontal.
CHEST: Measure the fullest area of your chest. Stand up straight and breath normally.



Vaikobi size guide