Compression Gear for paddling

Anyone like or dislike compression Gear? 2xu pants to be more specific. I've noticed a lot of guys wearing them during one man races. Do they really help? Any feedback would be greatly appreciated :)


Submitted by ironchefhawaii@... on Wed, 12/02/2015 - 9:50am

I was one of the first to start using compression after travis grant introduced them to me several years back. I truly noticed a difference in my performance. Its seemed to become somewhat popular. I have tested many types of brands and currently use the Virus International pants which I find are more comfortable. Also been playing with wearing the upper body version which i find helps a lot with recovery. just my thoughts. Not for everyone. You don't look "Cool" but i am all about performance.

#1 Wed, 12/02/2015 - 8:21pm

Mahalo Aukina. I've never heard of virus before. They look solid. I looked to see if there were any stores on oahu that carried there Gear but I couldn't find any. How's the material/"compressivness"? I've noticed that the under armour and Nike compression Gear is not as " compressive" as the 2xu and mcdavid compression Gear when comparing them at sports authority. Under Armour and Nike look like there made with Rash guard material. Sorry for all the questions. There expensive so I want to make sure I make a well informed purchase :)

#2 Wed, 12/02/2015 - 9:56pm

@ironchefhawaii....I've been using compression pants for years. I've gone through various brands owned at least 6 pair and found the brand with the thickest and most durable compression that I've used is a brand called CWX or CW-X. Do a google search. I've had several 2xU but they were a lot thinner, didn't hold up as well. Yes, they can be spendy so do your homework. There are several "levels" of compression. Some are meant for after sport(more or less recovery focus) and some are meant for use during sport( do your research though, I was never quite sure if this was just to get you to buy 2 pairs) .If you get confused its best to buy the ones designated for use during sport. Fit is a big factor....they are TIGHT but meant to be. Don't get roped in by brand names, often they don't deliver. No apologies needed, questions are what this column is for. P.S. hard to find a lot of choices in'll have to go online.

#3 Thu, 12/03/2015 - 5:45am

I've never used Compression gear, so does anyone have info on what sort of difference is there with the Compression pant "tightness" versus that of a fitted wetsuit pant?

#4 Thu, 12/03/2015 - 8:17am

before you spend your hard earned pesos do a little reading. basically you get a nice placebo affect if wearing the stuff during exercise. so if you think you feel better, you do better. to me the biggest benefit could be no sunburned cankles and thighs. someone should do a cost comparison between sunscreen and pants. pants might be totally worth it if they last long enough to outlast a few bottles of high quality sunscreen.

the one thing the that was shown in ONE single study out of all the independent studies i found is that the tights help with post workout recovery. so wearing them while paddling does nothing for you from a performance standpoint. here's a quote from that study (link below) "On the second-day rides, cyclists went 1.2 percent faster when they wore compressing gear during recovery as opposed to spandex."

if you are doing multi stage races like Super Aito, Hawaiki Nui, Koa Nui, or the RATH then it could be worth your while to wear the pants as soon as you finish a stage of the race. if you're peaking for a long marathon effort then i doubt you'll be recovering from a taxing effort in the few days leading up to your goal race. if you need to recover between bouts of training, then again, the biggest benefit (according to one study out of dozens) seems to be derived from wearing the clothes after you train not while you train.

to answer your question TI, one study used all kinds of tight clothes with no differences detected. another used varying degrees of tightness and detected no differences.

but again, like jimmy says, if he believes he feels better then he might paddle better. so to him it's worth a try.

an author's review from one publication that mentions some research.

here's the 1.2% study.

EDIT: if you really believe a 1.2% gain is possible by wearing trousers, then you could say Steeve won last year's solo by the seat of his pants. a 1.2% faster time in the four hour solo is about 3.66 minutes. Or just about Steeve's margin of victory. Although it looks like danny and jimmy were wearing the trousers too so it all cancels out. maybe with a shirt and pants you could make a 2.4% gain? put on gloves, booties, and a hood and you might be able to push that to 5%. see how crazy that sounds?

#5 Thu, 12/03/2015 - 8:59am

The truth of the matter is that medical experts have been using compression materials for years to control swelling thus continuing normal blood circulation. The basic idea when applied in athletic endeavors is that if you can maintain normal blood flow to key muscle groups that you can keep normal muscle function. When swelling in even the slightest begins it reduces the ability for blood to circulate efficiently and muscle function will start to decline. The fact that the base studies are inconclusive are due to the relative sort period that compression gear has been used widely throughout sport and the base knowledge of a wide range of individual data gathered on circulatory abilities before during and after. This aside, the medical aspects have been proven over and should translate with further and more comprehensive studies.
Plus no one said how nice it is not to deal with chaffing all the way across the kaiwi

#6 Thu, 12/03/2015 - 9:35pm

if they're comfortable, thats great. that'll help you.

in a world with athletes making hundreds of millions of dollars and sports leagues making billions, how come no one really uses the stuff? we should see football, soccer, basketball, and hockey players everywhere covered in the stuff. there are a couple paid endorsers out there i'm sure. but in a world where everyone has millions of dollars hinging on fractions of a foot or seconds, you'd think EVERYONE would use it. what do they know that we don't?

but like i said, if they work for you, awesome. maybe the countless minions will hop on the wagon any minute now. in the mean time i'll wait for this stuff to go the way of phiten necklaces and copper healing dots.

i'm not a doctor, but i've seen compression socks quite a bit being used for varicose veins and pedal edema. in both these cases the socks are used for swelling that has resulted from either chronic health issues or age and gravity. not exercise induced swelling.

#7 Thu, 12/03/2015 - 10:06pm

This is so typical coming from someone that races and trains at a high level like jc9. He is the biggest expert on here. If you do your research correctly there are lots of football players that use compression, along with many other professional athletes. I find for me the pants help my body not cramp in long races. Also doing training back to back days recovery time is shortened. Also I don't get tired as quickly, and of course less sunburn. It's not for everyone, but it's worth trying. is the website. I too have owned and tried many different types of compression from 2xu, skins, adidas,under armor, some aren't tight enough, some are to thick and you sweat to much, and some are just uncomfortable. For me virus seems to work best for the sports I do.

#8 Fri, 12/04/2015 - 9:00am

The use in professional sports is all over the place during practice and in the weight room, the nba outlawed the use during games because of the conflict with main apparel sponsorships. Hockey still varies but the younger athletes wear under their pads, nfl you get fined 5k for not pulling up your socks. Top triathletes train and compete in compression gear. Just because something does or doesn't hit mainstream doesn't denote the benefits of a certain product. If that were true every one would be wearing hoka as opposed to Nike. Professional sports are run by sponsorship dollars not by the best product available. I do agree completely that bennifits vary and that wearing something is not going to make me an amazing paddler, but if you're a sports geek and like innovation you can't write of progressive thinking, especially due to an article from a magazine that put scott Disick on the cover.

#9 Fri, 12/04/2015 - 9:03am

my first post supports your claim of enhanced recovery, Jimmy. That's where the 1.2% gain was made. Recovery from one day to the next. if it works for you, it works! That's the bottom line.

I can only speak from what I've seen in my work of helping chronically ill patients. That's why I prefaced my remarks with saying "I'm not a doctor" Same way I'd never tell a pilot how a plane flies.

probinson, guilty as charged! I'm the biggest geek around. Although I'm sure other's use way more colorful language to describe me. At this point in my life I'm stoked to be alive and able to read and talk about the sport I love. I wasn't aware of the basketball legalities. Good point.

You bring up a good point, Jimmy. Me being a shitty paddler invalidates anything I could say or contribute to paddling. I'll stick to talking about drinking coffee and watching paddling on the interblags.

#10 Fri, 12/04/2015 - 11:04am

Nice-Christmas Sprit alive and kicking on OcPaddler.

My scientific study says 2 Red Bull and Zippy's plate lunch = 2% increase in paddling ability.

I put compression sleeve on my Makana Ali'i paddle and increased paddling ability by 4%. That is next level and already banned by OHRCA and PAA.

#11 Fri, 12/04/2015 - 3:35pm

Nice Paddle Hack!

I Wish we had Zippys on Kauai...I could use that 2%

The best guys in the world are using the pants, im sure they serve a purpose.

I do know that fighter pilots use compression to keep blood circulation to the heart and head so that they can handle the increased stress of G's.

#12 Sun, 12/06/2015 - 9:33am

Board shorts give me 8.2% increase in air flow and studies still non conclusive on the performance factor. I prefer Quicksilver but only on sale, otherwise Billabong.

#13 Tue, 12/08/2015 - 11:37am

Zippy's on every island = game changer.

I own some compression gear from different companies - socks, pants, jerseys - and sometimes I wear them for that super smooth and sexy look in the mirror before I go workout. The drawback is that besides accentuating my muffin-top in the usual muffin-top place, now I get muffin-tops on my calves, wrists, and neck too. So in the end it all balances out and I figure might as well just wear whatevers.

#14 Mon, 12/07/2015 - 8:02am

Sponsored paddlers say the darndest things. What can we believe?

Best way to find out is to experiment and test out your hypothesis. Which works better. Simple science.

But I'd say 2 spam musubis and a monster before a race boost performance 5%. If you add in the taquittos and pork hash from 711 that bumps it up to 8%

#15 Mon, 12/07/2015 - 10:51pm

I'm a shitty paddler that laughed at anybody who wore those ballerina tights at races. How could those stupid things make me better?!? I cramp during every single channel crossing I do. Someone told me those ballerina pants help with cramps. With the 2015 Molokai hoe 3 days away, I made the desperation move and chucked out $120 for a pair of 2XU compression pants. I tried them out for the first time during the Molokai hoe, and sure enough, it was the first channel crossing I completed without any cramps. With no change in diet or training I finally raced cramp free. So , must be the pants. I'm a believer. And they were really comfortable to race in. The only problem for me is I have no ass and chicken legs. So yeah, there's that.

#16 Tue, 12/08/2015 - 1:02pm

Not sponsored , never will be.
Been using compression garments for 15 years in sports ranging from mountain biking , K1 /2 , adventure racing & outriggers for 15 years.
Recommend them for paddling & recovery.
Thanks for the heads up on the Virus brand Jimmy , needed a set of new longs so ordered them online.
Come to Oz one day , we don't flame successfully people Down Under.

#17 Tue, 12/08/2015 - 5:10pm

I am letting myself go bald to reduce wind resistance. It appears to be a popular method.

#18 Wed, 12/09/2015 - 10:10am

epic! they work for many people, i stand corrected*. i always approach new products with skepticism. generally i wait for scholarly research to prove something before i accept it as true. must be a habit i've developed from several years of internet jockeying.

*in the spirit of full disclosure I'm actually sitting. but you know what i mean. cause all i do is sit in front of my computer. except when i'm sleeping beause then of course i'm laying. generally when i'm sleeping i don't wear compression either.

just sayin

#19 Wed, 12/09/2015 - 9:37pm

Forget Trump.
Goto for President!

#20 Thu, 12/10/2015 - 10:28am

When you say you did not cramp, what were you referring to. Are you saying when you wear compression pants in Molo you did not cramp in your arms? tight ass = no cramps everywhere?

#21 Thu, 12/10/2015 - 10:10pm

My legs and arms always used to cramp. Both were fine throughout the race. Is it the pants? I don't know. But that's the only thing that I did different for that race.

#22 Fri, 12/11/2015 - 3:57pm

Someone needs to get a hold of Oiwi Dave and get a billion yards of spandex. I can see it now. Entire clubs of paddlers in matching pants.

Three sizes of confidence guard available...patent pending.

Sign me up for the hott pink.

#23 Fri, 12/11/2015 - 4:12pm

Santa has a sense of humor. He brought me compression socks for running. Will get beck you you folks with a thorough report when I start running in a few months.

#24 Sat, 01/02/2016 - 8:35am

I'm sure those socks will work wonders for your varicose veins!

#25 Sat, 01/02/2016 - 4:12pm

Thank you guys this literally made my year.

#26 Wed, 01/06/2016 - 7:25pm

Don't paddle for a few years and eat plate lunches like it's going out of style. Everything you wear becomes compression clothes. Foof.

#27 Thu, 01/07/2016 - 1:34pm

here's the latest trend. Quite pricey though!!!

#28 Thu, 01/07/2016 - 4:22pm

whoah!!! They use those leg squeezers in hospitals. it's for bed ridden patients recovering from surgery. they made me wear them for four days in the hospital to prevent blood from hanging out too long in my legs and clotting. all I can say from personal experience is they felt great for the first day. after that they were the most maddening thing I ever had to deal with. i used to dread putting them on every night. the nurses used to scold me for always taking them off during the day time hours. talk about torture. maybe only having them on for an hour or two at a time isn't bad though.

I can also vouch for them being pricey. my insurance bill after surgery almost made me homeless. i can also say they work since I didn't die of an embolic stroke. man just thinking about them make me shudder though.

#29 Thu, 01/07/2016 - 7:33pm

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