School might be back in session, but summer is not over just yet. There is still plenty of time to get out on the water and enjoy all it has to offer - swimming, cruising, and watersports. Now that the water is hopefully a bit calmer from being less busy, it is the perfect time to get out and go wakeboarding. Staying safe is still the number one goal - making sure you have the correct wakeboard life jacket is crucial.
In this blog, we will help you decide how to choose the best wakeboard vest. Life jackets are meant to be used to keep you afloat in the water. To do so, they must be properly fitting. Nowadays, life jackets are made to be more comfortable than the original orange vests from the 70s/80s (they also might be a tad more stylish). If you do not know your correct jacket size, you will need to measure yourself. You will measure in three places: the widest part of your head, chest/bust, and waist (females should also measure their hips). Although sizing will vary between brands, knowing these measurements allows you to find the right life vest to keep you safe on the water.
Measuring for your Wakeboarding Life Jacket
Once you have your measurements, you can go on to pick your wakeboard life vest. It is most helpful if you or the person who will be wearing the vest, go and physically try it on before purchasing. However, if you have your measurements, you can purchase it online as well.
Making sure you have a proper fitting life jacket is important because it may be life saving. You do not want your jacket to be too snug or too loose because that can cause device failures. You do not want your jacket to be too loose, it might slide up over your head - which can either cause obstruction or it can slide completely off. On the other hand, if it is too snug, it can make it hard to breathe or restrict certain movements.
One thing to remember is that life vests will stretch out when wet. So, while trying on dry, it will be snug and be slightly hard to breathe. This is completely normal and necessary. This is how you know you have the right fit. To give it another test in-store, you can also bend over, twist, rotate side to side and move around to see how it handles your body’s movements. Another thing to look for is having slight difficulty zipping the jacket up. You should have to stretch the jacket to zip it while it’s dry. This also confirms the proper tightness of the vest.
Wakeboarding may seem like just another fun thing to do on the water, but it actually requires some thought and research to make sure it is not only fun, as well as safe. Wearing the right gear is imperative to your safety. Wakeboard life jackets are definitely one of the most important pieces of gear. Following the vest, is what you wear under it - wetsuits are recommended for wakeboarding to protect you from the water.
Wakeboarding Life Jacket Materials and Construction
Having a wakeboarding life vest - specifically for this sport - is important because jackets can be made differently depending on what you are needing it for. Typically, wakeboarding life jackets are made out of different materials and allow for more movement than traditional life vests. Neoprene and Nylon are the common materials that are used to make wakeboard life jackets. Nylon is more typical for all U.S. Coast Guard Approved vests; whereas, Neoprene - a type of synthetic rubber - is more lightweight and offers more flexibility. Often, these types of vests are not approved by the coast guard. No matter which material you go with, you will still want to follow the same guidelines though - not being too snug or too loose. Go to your local pro/outdoor shop or favorite online store to find the perfect wakeboard life vest for you.
Be sure to check out our beginner’s guide to choosing the right wakeboard gear if you’re ready to get started wakeboarding.