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Buoyancy Vest for Windsurfing

Windsurfing shop talk

by vtsarkov » Thu Jun 21, 2018 11:48 pm


I'm looking to get a buoyancy vest for windsurfing. I have some sort of an older vest, but it's not attached to my harness and just tends to go up while I'm in the water while not really helping much.

My hope is that it will:
0. Attach to my harness.
1. Help with waterstarts in rough conditions (like today in Squamish) or with bigger sails.
2. Increase my chances if things go sideways

I've ruled out all kiteboarding-oriented impact vests because they're meant to serve a different purpose. That narrows it down to:

1. NP High Hook Elite
2. Ion Booster X

Do you wear a vest while windsurfing? What kind? Could you recommend anything?
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by Slappy » Fri Jun 22, 2018 9:22 am

I wear an NP High Hook kiting but that's because I use a seat harness. I wouldn't wear it if I was using a waist harness.

When using a waist harness I quite like the LF Supreme

Both have plenty of floatation.
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by mjamero » Fri Jun 22, 2018 9:48 am

I windsurf and wear an O'Neill impact vest. I ALWAYS ALWAYS wear it!! I started to learn windsurfing about 5 years ago and after just a couple lessons I went out an bought my own impact vest (even though I was still renting the gear). I think it was the first piece of windsurfing related gear I bought (even before a wetsuit).

For the first couple years I used it with a waist harness. I now use a seat harness for back reasons. Waist harnesses will ALWAYS creep up no matter what you do; with or without a vest.

I disagree that windsurfing/kite vests serve a different purpose. Both require a harness, both have a hook. Some harnesses are even interchangeable between windsurfing/kiting if you change the spreader bar.

An impact vest is what you need. Trust me. As I said, I've had my impact vest more or less from the beginning and am still using the same one. I learned, the harness, footstraps, waterstarts, etc all with an impact vest. If I travel for a windsurfing trip (even to warm water destinations) I bring, shorts, booties, rash guard, harness and my impact vest.
Lastly. Buy an impact vest WITHOUT the zipper; the type you pull over your head. Don't buy an impact vest with a zipper!

PS... I've recently started wearing a helmet. I highly recommend you look in to this as well.
I was almost knocked out when a fluke gust caught my sail during a waterstart attempt and slammed the mast against my head. I actually saw stars. Helmet ever since. Safety over fashion ALWAYS!
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by AlexK » Fri Jun 22, 2018 9:57 am

I wear an old Prolimit in English Bay when I go solo 4k out on my Formula gear or SUP. As you progress and no longer want a jacket in Squam u may want one for distance sailing/ SUP downwinders.
Key points are:
Zipper for radio/ phone.
Fixture for drinking bladder.
Easy on/ off/ low cut armpits

Only the Ion seems to have those features.
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by C36 » Fri Jun 22, 2018 10:45 am

mjamero wrote:...Waist harnesses will ALWAYS creep up no matter what you do; with or without a vest...

Try a Ride Engine, you might be pleasantly surprised.

First you need to decide how much floatation you want - PDF or impact vest.

If you are looking for. PFD (more floatation) try some of the high-waisted kayaking PFD’s at MEC or a dingy PFD’s like Compass or Sailus. You may also want to take a look at the one-piece PFD/waist harness that DaKine makes.

If you are looking for an impact vest (less floatation) try the Mystic Star (designed to be comparable with a waist harness and has thin skirt that goes inside waist harness. Best one I’ve ever used.
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by Ryan » Sat Jun 23, 2018 11:05 am

I don't have the name handy but after I broke my sternum in big waves I bought one. No zip, it goes on and off really easily and fits tight. Under the wetsuit! That's the biggest tip, you don't even notice it's on.
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