Surfing with a life jacket - 2007/10/12 20:11Hello there, I'm completely new to surfing (being from Ontario, not that many big waves on the great lakes) - but plan to try it on a trip to Babados.
I have very little experience swimming in the ocean, although I am a fine swimmer. What I am curious to know is why more surfers don't wear life jackets?
I researched this a bit and could only find one other post and mostly the reason was restricted movement and looking uncool.
I'm an avid wakeboarder and there are many vests designed specifically to allow a great range of movement and are quite light-weight. These vests aren't coast guard approved, and may not have the flotation of a coast guard approved neoprene vests - but they are certainly boyant and if you get knocked off and turned around they will float you up.
Is the reason at the end of the day that it just doesn't look cool - or is it truly a function issue? Is a lightly boyant jacket designed for watersports not a suitable option?
I suppose I'm a bit nervous to swim in the Ocean, it's a new experience for me. I've taken some headers off the wake on my wakeboard, and I know that had I not been wearing a jacket I would have been really turned around in the water. I wonder if it's the same if you get dumped off a surfboard?
Re:Surfing with a life jacket - 2007/10/12 23:48I didn't try surfing with a life jacket, but think it does inflect paddeling. Even a wetsuit makes paddeling harder. If You ever had a session in warm water wearing only boardshorts (perhaps a thin rashguard in addition) You'll know what I mean.
Re:Surfing with a life jacket - 2007/10/19 21:37I'm an avid wakeboarder and there are many vests designed specifically to allow a great range of movement and are quite light-weight. These vests aren't coast guard approved
I wakeboard too so I know the vests your talking about Not USCG Approved. They are less bulky than the approved and might make paddeling esier. If you feel safer using one go for it, better safe than sorry, good luck. Tow-in surfers use approved vests but they dont have to lay down and paddle.
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Re:Surfing with a life jacket - 2007/10/27 15:28I noticed the tow in guys are wearing them but keep in mind, they're not paddling. It might be good if you get knocked unconsious in big waves. However, if you look at early surfers they were mostly open ocean swimmers like Duke Kahanamoku or John kelly etc.. Being a surfer is to be familiar with the ocean and the way it moves. Before leashes guys did as much swimming in the lineup as surfing. I suggest learning to swim in the ocean first. The biggest part of surfing is being able to move efficiently in the ocean and navigate the currents, I think a life jacket severely hinders your ability to swim fast. If you can't get to where you want to be quickly and dodge waves and currents it makes surfing a nightmare. So I'd say that having this ability is more important than being able to float. However if you knock out it could probably save your life. Some guys wear a gath helmet to prevent head injuries.