PFD Choices

13 years 3 months ago #6360 by Dicko
PFD Choices was created by Dicko
I currently use a mocke pfd. I am curious to know which pfd is the flavour of the month. For example what do people wear when racing. Do they have different pfd's when cruising. Very difficult to access any suitable shops in the country so I do a lot of purchasing online. Thanks
PS prefer not to have a discussion on the merits of pfd's....just which ones people like.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

13 years 3 months ago #6361 by owenfromwales
Replied by owenfromwales on topic Re:PFD Choices
Hi Dicko,
I use the same pfd to train in as I do to race in, that way I know exactly how it is and I`m not gonna experience any surprise rubs in a long race.
I use a Typhoon XTS, which has been excellent value for money, although I did have to customise it a little myself to give it the facilities available on the more expensive models. My additions included attaching some elastic rope to the back to make a juice holder and some mesh to the front to increase storage space. You can check out the photos here:
I think Dawid might be a good one for some input here. I was talking to him the other day and he told me how he was currently working on getting his pfds fully compliant with safety regulations through a specialist lab in the UK. I`m looking forward to seeing the resultant pfds as it sounds like he is investing a significant amount to try and produce the best ones ever for our sport.
Another interesting thing I saw the other day was a Billabong or Quicksilver kiteboarding `impact`vest, made of neoprene. I`m not sure what flotation these have, but I would have loved to try one, if I could have found one to fit me (the problem of living in Okinawa!) They certainly looked and felt good and had lots of handy pockets and things. Not sure if they might be too hot in summer though? The particular ones I saw only had a zip opening on the front. I have a feeling that certain safety standards might make these fall foul of the rules for insurance during races - which is probably going to be an issue sooner or later, i.e. does your race pfd meet CE safety standards? Possibly, if it doesn`t, race insurance may not be possible?

189cm 90~100kg
Present skis:
2017 Stellar SEI 2G
1993 Gaisford Spec Ski
1980s Pratt Spec Ski
1980s UK Surf Skis Ocean Razor
1980s UK Surf Skis Ocean Razor X 3
1987 Kevlar Chalupsky (Hummel) (Welsh copy!)
1988 Kevlar Double Chalupsky
1992 Hammerhead spec
2000 Fenn copy

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

13 years 3 months ago #6363 by Zebra
Replied by Zebra on topic Re:PFD Choices
I use two different PFD's: A Mocke PFD, and a 'Tripper' PFD.

The Tripper Jacket I had first, approx. 8 years ago. It is lighter than the Mocke, and fits superbly, since it consists of a ga-zillion micro foam balls, which contour very well to the body shape.

It never ever chafes, and is a pleasure to wear. However, it has a couple of draw-backs: when remounting, the water 'filters' out of the jacket slowly, so you do lift more weight (ie water yet to drain) back into the ski.

Also, after many years, it seems slower to dry out, and I cannot ever store it in say an airtight compartment, otherwise it starts to 'hum'!

The Mocke PFD feels to me a more serious jacket, it drains instantly, since there are no water-entrapment cavities. Excellent mesh storage front and back, as well as pre-formed loops on each shoulder for drinking tubes - a nice touch!

I have been chafed, just once or twice, but both times in long-distance stuff. I have changed the set-up, and no more chafing.

If you do Surfski AND canoeing, then a shorter PFD often 'fits' better under the canoe splashy, (where a longer jacket can hamper paddling stroke) and here the tripper is far and away my choice. For surf-skiing, 9x from 10 it's the Mocke PFD.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

13 years 3 months ago #6393 by Couta
Here's a serious warning to paddlers using inflatable pfd's....
last weekend a mate of mine inadvertently deployed his gas charged inflatable pfd while trying to remount his ski (the inflate toggle dragged against the cockpit when remounting and deployed the airbags)
The result was frightening - the pressure of the airbags crushed his chest making breathing difficult. There was no way he could remount(or even swim)with the airbags deployed. The breathing issue was serious and he could not get himself out of the pfd....and neither could we as we attempted to assist him. The solution was releasing the gas by putting your finger into the manual inflate tube and pushing the valve....but it took minutes to figure this out and the panic of breathing difficulty was starting to rise. The message is clear - if you have this type of pfd - understand how to deflate it and never do it up firmly. This could have been a very serious situation....

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

13 years 3 months ago #6407 by latman
did he have it (uninflated) around his waist or chest ?

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

13 years 3 months ago #6409 by wesley
I have a Mocke, 3 Gill Pro Racers(not U.S coast guard approved either like the the Mocke, a Kokatat Orbit, Astral Tempo 200, Lotus Designed pfd, another Astral model, and 3 others.

I am doing a review of pfds that are mostly used in the U.S in the next few weeks.

I use the Mocke for summer racing since it is the coolest, and it when it gets wet, it does not retain the water and become slightly heavier like most pfds. I don't normally use the built in back hydro pocket but I did on the 4 hr Phatwater challenge and it worked great with just an extra liter of water. I had most of my water in the footwell. I have used the front pocket to hold a bottle of water as well, so it is very versitile in this way.

For winter,spring,and summer,fall training I use the Gill Pro Racer. Extremely Low Profile, huge front pocket that is wide but not too deep, almost as light is the Mocke, and super comfortable. It is extremely well made and is a bargain compared to all other pfds. It is slightly warmer for summer racing than the Mocke.

My other favorite is the Kokatat Orbit. Very low profile, however,most of floation is in the front, so sometimes this gets in the way of remounting. The pockets are just enough to hold gels, and cell phone, and are positioned perfectly for grabbing your gels. This Pfd has is very airy and is the coolest second to the Mocke. There are no zippers so it is an over the head entry. The fit is not as good as the others but I often use it for racing as well.

My other pfds that I will review have there pros and cons but i mainly use them for winter paddling because they are warmer. Some have designated pockets for cell, etc. I rarely use these now that I have been wearing the Gills for the last 2 years for winter paddling. While the Gill is not as warm and has less floatation, the huge pocket can carry an extra hat,phone, gels,keys, and low profile gloves, and even a low profile vhf. All this without protruding too much.

I called on the owner of MTI, one of the largest pfd manufacturers who happens to live an hour away and submitted to him what I thought would be the ultimate surfski pfd. Of course in the U.S. it has to be Coast Guard approved. The whole process for a new pfd can take 24 months from design, to approval, to manufacturing here in the U.S.

The key is to find one that meets yours needs, fits well, so that you will wear it 100% of the time.

Sea Kayaker ran a series of articles of very experienced paddlers who got themselves into trouble because they became complacent with all their experience. One I just read this morning, rarely wore a pfd and he got caught in a storm off Mexico in his kayak with no pfd, capsized, and fortunately was picked up by the Mexican Coast Guard, hypothermic and lucky to survive.


Wesley Echols
#1 in Surfski Reviews.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

13 years 3 months ago #6410 by Couta
It was a chest pfd with a buckle around the lower chest...standard issue.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

13 years 3 months ago #6411 by topher1966
Bad story however if you had read the instructions on the pack......

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Latest Forum Topics