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Types of Wakeboard Vests

Life jackets or personal flotation devices (PFDs) if you want to call it by its official name come in a variety of shapes, colors, sizes and materials. These different wakeboarding vests are made for different purposes. Some wakeboard vests are created for the simple recreational rider who just likes to get back behind the boat and wants a vest that will keep them afloat and last a while. The other end of the spectrum are the competition style wakeboard vests which are typically going to be very light weight with minimal flotation. Then you have everything in between!

Select a wakeboard vest based on your personal preference and needs, state laws and the water conditions you expect to encounter. If you are just a recreational rider then you probably want to look for a vest with plenty of padding and flotation. You won't need a super light weight vest if you aren't doing 360's over the wake!

If you are a more serious wakeboard rider, you will probably want something more in the middle. There are a variety of wakeboard vests that have been created to offer a good amount of flotation while still being slim and lightweight to help you dominate that wake. Many times these vests will have extra padding in specific areas more for protection than for flotation. This extra padding comes in handy for those gnarly falls.

Whichever vest type you decide on, it is definitely a good idea to get a vest that fits so please refer to size charts for the best fit. Remember, spending a little time now can save your life later.

Vests will either be United States Coast Guard (USCG) approved or they won't. USCG approved means that the PFD has passed rigorous testing and is therefore better suited to keep you afloat after taking a hard digger. We recommend that you look for the USCG approval number on any wakeboard vest you buy.


USCGA - Approved in every state and is the industry standard for PFD's. Competition/Freeride - Thinner and lighter than USCGA vests. Side Entry - Available in USCGA and freeride models. Molded/Sectioned - Available in USCGA and freeride models. Pullover - Fits like a wetsuit top, not USCGA. Riding Shirts - To be worn under your vest, not a PFD. Rashguard - To be worn under your vest or wetsuit, not a PFD.