The Best Wakeboarding Life Jackets: Competition vs Recreational Use
When playing most sports, you can expect to encounter times that will catch you off-balance. Taking part in a water sport is no exception, which is why wearing a lifejacket is critically important if you plan to participate in watersport activities.
Water can be unforgiving, and life jackets save lives. When looking for the best wakeboarding life jackets, you need to be aware of the different types of life jackets available in order to make an educated purchase.
The Best Life Jackets for Wakeboarding
A life jacket is a personal flotation device (PFD). A PFD has one primary purpose – to keep a person afloat in the water, particularly when the individual cannot do so on their own.
Competition Life Vest vs Recreational Life Jacket
As for the best life jackets for wakeboarding, some are better equipped for competition use versus recreational rides. In fact, there are substantial differences between competition life vests and the life jackets used when you have a boat full of family and friends for a fun day out on the lake.
While you might hear in casual conversation the terms life jacket and life vest used interchangeably, most professional wakeboarders participating in competitions wear competition life vests. A competition life vest is not the same as a life jacket approved by the United States Coast Guard (USCG).
Many kinds of competition life vests are not approved by the U.S. Coast Guard, which means they do not conform to the standards set forth by the USCG.
Competition life vests should only be used in places where safety personnel are closely monitoring and constantly observing riders in a controlled environment, such as during tournaments, competitions, or training sessions.
USCG-approved life jackets are designed to make an individual float in the water. More specifically, life jackets are meant to keep a person’s head above water when they cannot do so themselves. Competition life vests are not built with a level of buoyancy for flotation support in the water.
Competition life vests are known to be more flexible than USCG-approved life jackets. This extra flexibility allows for increased maneuverability.
Many people feel USCG-approved life jackets are thick and even heavy, and consequently, that bulk often restricts movement. Competition life vests are on the thinner side to allow for a greater range of motion.
Competition Life Vest Options
What comes to mind when you envision the best life jackets for wakeboarding? Perhaps the word “best” makes you think of a life jacket with all the bells and whistles that a PFD can offer.
In comparison, you can also think of the best wakeboarding life jackets as ones that match the intended use of a rider. Life jackets are 100% necessary for recreational wakeboarding, and on the other hand, competition life vests have an appropriate place in competitive wakeboarding.
JetPilot JB O’Neill Signature Comp Vest
The JetPilot JB O’Neill Signature Comp Vest consists of flexible side panels and segmented front and back panels made from Aero Jet Super Soft PVC foam.
The neoprene material of this life vest sheds water easily and dries quickly. It is available in three sizes – small, medium, and large. Plus, with a PU-coated, double-sided PK #10 zipper, the JetPilot JB O’Neill Signature Comp Vest is reversible.
O’Neill Men’s Slasher Comp Life Vest
The O’Neill Men’s Slasher Comp Life Vest currently comes in eight different sizes to ensure the ultimate fit, including:
- Medium Tall
- Large Tall
This life vest is made with NytroLite Foam which is advertised to be 10% more buoyant and 3x lighter than regular PVC Foam, plus absorb 15-20% less water.
With nylon material and a segmented foam core, this front-zip designed life vest is lightweight and performance oriented.
Hyperlite Wishbone NCGA Wakeboard Vest Mens
The Hyperlite Wishbone NCGA Wakeboard Vest has foam and impact panels primarily placed across the chest and back. Each panel is segmented to deliver maximum mobility and flexibility.
The Hyperlite Wishbone NCGA Wakeboard Vest Mens is presently sold in adult sizes small, X-large, and XX-large.
Women’s Neoprene Wakesurf Comp Vest
The Women’s Neoprene Wakesurf Comp Vest can be purchased in five sizes:
Made of four-way stretch neoprene material, this life vest has plenty of flexibility making it ideal for all body types. It is constructed with Staylite Foam, which is advertised to absorb 30% less water than other types of foam, while also being 10% more buoyant than the average PVC foam.
Finding the Best Wakeboarding Life Jackets For You
If you are in the market for a competition life vest, finding the best wakeboarding life jackets often comes down to a person’s individual needs, body type, skill level, and personal preferences.
To ensure you buy the right life jacket or life vest for you, take time to research your options. Just like life jackets come in different shapes, sizes, and styles, so do life vests.
For information about locations all across the globe where you can enjoy hours of wakeboarding fun, check out our WakeScout Directory where you can browse listings and locations of:
- Cable Wake Parks
- Water Sport Schools
- Water Sport Clubs
- Water Sport Resorts
- Water Sport Charters
- Ski and Wake Boat Rentals
And most importantly … don’t forget to bring your life jacket or life vest!
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When playing most sports, you can expect to encounter times that will catch you off-balance. Taking part in a water sport is no exception, which is why wearing a lifejacket is critically important if you plan to participate in watersport activities. Water can be unforgiving, and life jackets save lives. When looking for the best wakeboarding life jackets, you need to be aware of the different types of life jackets available in order to make an educated purchase. The Best Life Jackets for Wakeboarding A...