The brutal Queensland sun is a killer; it causes an incredible number of cases of skin cancers.
Protecting my body from the harsh sun is imperative for me. When kayaking I cover my body with a long sleeve rash guard, my head with a wide brim hat and the rest of the exposed skin with SFP 50 sunscreen lotion.
My hands tend to get very wet when paddling since there are no drips rings on my Greenland paddle; sunscreen would wash off too soon and gloves are my best defence against the sun.
In the search for the best gloves for paddling for years I used several brands of sailing gloves.
Some half fingers styles did not work for me where the fabric would bunch under my thumb and cause blisters. I also find sailing gloves too bulky with all that padding in the palm of the hand; they are designed to handle ropes (sheets) where padding is desirable to prevent rope burn.
As most of my sailing gloves started to fall apart after a year of regular paddling, I really wanted thin gloves, with no padding, that were durable.
Then I stumbled upon a different offering from a company famous for their head/face scarfs: Buff.
silicon texture detail on the palm
In their line they have a glove mainly designed for fishing where protection from the sun is the key.
I ordered a pair a year ago and initially I was dubious about the durability of the product; the thick Lycra style fabric was not convincing me as I thought that they would not last long, similarly to my cycling gloves.
Surprisingly however the gloves are outstanding.
The lack of bulk allows me to grip my paddle easier with no bunching-up in the palm of the hand.
Furthermore the palm has a grid of textured silicon that gently grips the paddle. Without gloves some of my carbon Greenland paddles would occasionally slip forcing me to have a dead grip to keep them in my hand. With the Buff gloves the paddle feels more secure and after a year the silicon is still in place and doing its job.
The very long cuff allows me to create a decent overlap at my wrist between glove and rashie, something that the sailing glove did not. I no longer have funny looking sun-burned strips around my wrists that I am sure some folk thought were caused by some "kinky" bedroom games :-)
The stitching is superb and nothing has failed after a year of paddling.
Where occasionally I used to stitch-up my other gloves on the sewing machine, the Buff gloves have not failed.
Originally I ordered a size L-XL for my hands but I always felt that the gloves were just a bit too loose, so I got myself a Xmas present and ordered some "safety" orange new ones in M-L that fit me like a, ... doh, glove.
This product review is independent, unsolicited and unrenumerated. No swag, no perks, no glory.
Bought the gloves on eBay from Utah, USA.