fleeces' place in paddling gear history was replacing the old wool sweaters we used to wear back in the 70s.....yes, they both absorb water but retain some warming factor even when wet if worn under a paddle jacket. Fleece came along with the bonus of dryer much quicker and if added under a dry-top (versus old-school paddle jackets)....very comfortable, flexible (non restictive like neoprene) and plenty warm in CO summer conditions (if you don't swim too much
I still like to wear neoprene shorts with drytop with fleece under layer for CO summer paddling.......and use a neoprene farmer john wetsuit for my Arkansas winters and long cold days like the Upper A in the summer. I'm not very familiar with the newer hydroskins but they appear to be a cross between thin neopene and fleece. I'll probable add some to my gear as I replace stuff.