What is a good impact vest or floating vest for kite surfers? And what is the difference between an impact and flotation vest? Read on and you will know!
What is an impact vest?
An impact vest for kite surfers protects the upper body against hard knocks on the water. The vest fits tightly around the body or wetsuit, so that no water comes in and the padding in the vest absorbs the impact of the fall. The padding has a slight buoyancy, but it is not a floating vest.
Novice kite surfers are often pulled over the board, an impact vest that protects you from the blow on the water is really a solution. Experienced freestylers also wear protection. A fall on the water can come hard and a vest that fits well around your upper body protects, so that the blow does not hurt your breastbone or back. In the winter it is also an extra protection against the cold.
Well-known brands such as Mystic and Ion sell impact vests for kite surfers.
What is a floating vest?
A floating vest, the name says it all, gives sufficient buoyancy to stay afloat on the water. Floating vests or floating vests have a CE mark that indicates the buoyancy:
- 275 Newton
- 150 Newton
- 100 Newton
- 50 Newton
Of which the first 2 are air jackets where you do not have to be able to swim yourself and the last 2 are foam jackets where the wearer must be able to swim and that help does not take too long.
For kite surfers, usually 50 Newton (EN 393 ISO 12402-5) is used. These are life jackets for people who can swim well and in case of emergency help is nearby. With this floating vest you have sufficient buoyancy, while you swim to the side and you have enough freedom of movement to be able to do sports such as kite surfing and windsurfing. If you are unconscious, this is not enough to stay afloat.
Self inflatable rashguard
A self-inflating rashguard exists. Hero water safety has developed a self-inflatable shirt for kite surfers. You put this shirt on your neoprene and in case of an emergency you pull on a cord and blow air into the shirt which keeps you floating. If you want more buoyancy, you can add some more air yourself by blowing in a tube. The big advantage of this shirt is that you do not have to look like a Michelin Man and there is no restriction on freedom of movement.
What do you pay attention to when buying?
If you want to buy an impact vest or floating vest it is important to pay attention to a number of things.
First of all you have to ask yourself, do I want buoyancy or just protection? If you want buoyancy, make sure that the vest has a CE EN 393 ISO 12402-5 quality mark. This is sufficient for kite surfers to be able to swim back independently or when assistance is close by.
In addition, you can choose whether you want a zipper or one that you put on over your head. It is nice if the vest at the bottom is narrow, so that you can put it under your harness. Make sure the impact vest fits tightly so that you do not get any water between the vest and your neoprene.
In short, what do you pay attention to:
- Buoyancy and or impact only
- With buoyancy, pay attention to the quality mark
- Which closure do you like?
- The right size is important
And after purchasing your new impact vest or floatating vest. Hurry to the water … Hang loose!
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