USCG VESTS: The most popular of the two is the USCG (United States Coast Guard) approved vest. Coast Guard Approved Vests tend to be a little bulky and restrictive but they will float the rider and can be used in every body of water. The O'Neill Assault USCG Vest and the Ronix Capella are the best examples of USCG vests that do not have the bulk and fit great.
COMP VESTS: The second type of vest is gaining in popularity and is most commonly referred to as a Competition Wakeboarding Vest or comp vest. The comp vest is light weight and less restrictive but does not float the rider as well as the USCG vest. Most states allow a rider to wear a comp vest when wakeboarding. Check local and state regulations before purchasing. The comp vest is not considered a Life Jacket so you cannot use it to operate a PWC (Personal Water Craft) and it will not count as a mandatory life vest in your boat. Some examples of comp vests are the O'Neill Slasher Comp Vest, and the Hyperlite Webb Impact Jacket.
Sizing and Measuring Wakeboard Vests
SIZING: The proper adult wakeboard vest size is determined by the waist or chest size of the person wearing the personal flotation device. A measurement range should be found on the inside of the vest. The wakeboard vest should fit snug but not feel cumbersome when the riders arms are straight out to either side. The wake vest should allow full range of movement and should not chafe under arms. If possible try the vest on while wearing the usual garments worn while riding.
MEASURING: View our Wakeboard Vest Sizing Chart here.
Measuring Men's Wakeboard WaterSki Vests: With a string or tape, measure completely around the fullest part of your chest (at nipple level). If this measurement falls on the 1/2 inch, round up. Some comp vests require a waist measurement as well. Simply measure where you would normally wear pants or belt.
Measuring Women's Wakeboard WaterSki Vests: With a string or tape, measure completely around the fullest part of your bust. If this measurement falls on the 1/2 inch, round up. This is your bust measurement and should be similar to your swimsuit or bra size in inches. Women's specific vests are anatomically form fitting for maximum comfort. Princess seams, and contoured cups may accommodate for larger bust lines but the best way to know is to try the vest on.
Measuring Kid's Wakeboard WaterSki Vests: The proper fit of a kids wakeboarding vest will keep the child's head above water which is extremely important. The sizing of Infant, Kids, Youth and Teen vests are by weight. Ranges below. Infant Vest 8 to 30 lbs. | Child Vest 30 to 50 lbs. | Youth Vest 50 to 90 lbs. | Teen Vest 90+ lbs.
FIT: Start by zipping the vest up then buckle the straps from the waist up. Tighten all the straps until the vest feels snug but not uncomfortable. Have another person pull up on the shoulders. The vest should not move up past your mouth. Selecting the correct size vest ensures a comfortable fit and that the vest will perform.