When you purchase gear through links on our site, we may earn a small commission. Here’s why you can trust our tests and our affiliate partner.


Ion Hybrid Glove

The pain… It’s not right. It can make a grown man cry. In fact, it’s as close to simultaneously crying and vomiting as I have been. Frequently. Allowing your digits to get so cold you can’t move them and think they will literally snap off is a weird measure of how much we love our water sports. For some reason the lure of getting on the water on those extra cold days, typically the sub-zero windchill factor that the offshore easterlies in the UK bring, seems enough to warrant risking such pain. And then there’s the potential arthritic long-term suffering we may be putting our fingers under.

The cure? Weirdly, gloves have not typically been the answer, as most people using them for winging, kiting or windsurfing then get the dreaded ‘claw hand’ – a shooting pain in the forearms from over tightening their palms on a boom or handles. Washing-up gloves can give some extra time in the water, as they keep off wind chill while allowing freedom of movement, but offer no warmth and a questionable aesthetic. Thankfully an innovative German brand has got its eye-on (ahem…) this subject and is trying to help with a full range of gloves. ION’s pre-shaped Claw model was a revelation. And now follow these Hybrids which, as their name suggests, offer you the choice of how much warmth and feeling you go for – a seafaring version of the convertible fingerless knitted gloves of yesteryear then.

These full-finger 1mm water-resistant gloves provide the option of pulling an extra 2.5mm of neoprene over the ends of your fingers. These covers can be tucked away into elastic pockets when not in use, but to prevent them popping out when you least expect it, care needs to be employed when you stow them away and a rolling method seemed most effective to avoid any irritation. They proved lightweight in use and absorbed a minimum of water, feeling more like wearing a driving or gardening glove than the typical more constrictive neoprene alternatives, and so allowing your fingers decent freedom of movement. We used the covers whilst walking from van to water and carrying our gear, and then whipped our fingers out for more technical rigging and valve play. Riding with them in flaps-off mode offered some thermal protection, but flaps up certainly kept the wind off and circulation steady.

For those after pure warmth, the ION Neo Claw 3/2 gloves might make a better solution as they are pre-curved for better grip and less fatigue. Or for the real winter nutters, its 5mm Arctic gloves offer the full five-star spa treatment for your hands. But for those who want the choice of some windchill protection while allowing a good measure of feeling when gripping the sail’s boom or handles, these Hybrids could be your solution. If they prevent even some of that inhumane pain from chill or forearm burn, surely, it’s difficult to quantify the joy they could bring.

Visit Website