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2012 Dakine Rashgaurd & O’Neil Farmer John

By Wendy McDonald

Remember the El Camino? Truck bed in the back, car in the front. I never thought it was a good looking vehicle, but I always admired it for trying to take the best from both rides. I am relying on that dual-purpose concept from Chevy for my fall paddling gear, but unlike the iconic 70’s ride, Dakine and O’Neill got the looks right. Mix and match these two items with your board shorts or wear them solo, it works!

Dakine Neo-Insulator short sleeve rashguard has 1.5mm neoprene all through out the core and back to keep you insulated and dry. They kept the shoulders and sleeves 8 oz.  lycra for breathability.  The Neo Insulator is the perfect combo of warmth for these Pacific Northwest fall days but the freedom of movement you need to stay active above the water. Pair it with board shorts when the temps are a little bit warmer, or layer it over the O’Neill Bahia farmer john, like I did last week on a slightly cooler down-wind run in the Gorge.


The O’Neill Bahia Farmer John 1.5 MM has 100% super stretch neoprene, flatlock seams and Krypto Knee Padz.  It is ideal in water temperatures 66°+.  The farmer john style is perfect for stand up paddling leaving your arms free to move.


I took both the Insulator and the Bahia farmer john out for a test run last week on a stand up downwinder from Home Valley to Stevenson and they didn’t disappoint.  With wind gusts at 30+, water temperatures in the mid 60’s, and the sun coming and going, I really struggled with what to wear. Being relatively new to downinders, I knew I would be wet. I also expected some hard core paddling to catch the bumps that didn’t throw me off my board. Pairing the Neo Insulator with a farmer john turned out to be the perfect combination. My core stayed warm without overheating. The lycra dries fast removing the chill factor once I was out of the water.


The Dakine Neo Insulator has now become my new go to shirt and the O’Neill Bahia Farmer John has moved to the front of the rack for fall.  I expect them to get me through many chilly paddles around Ross Island in the days ahead (hopefully a few more downwinders as well.)  The price is right too, only $42 for the Neo Insulator and $79 for the Bahia Farmer John at Gorge Performance. And for the fellas, the comparable product from Dakine is called the Storm Neo Insulator ($46), and the farmer john is the O’Neill Thinskin John 1.5mm ($89.95).

Roll on down in your El Camino and check out the huge selection of rash guards, wetsuits board shorts to extend your paddling season.



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