If you’re going to wakeboard, then you absolutely must know how to swim. If you can’t swim, then you really should not participate in watersports until you learn as you would be unnecessarily putting yourself in danger. In addition, just because you do know how to swim, that doesn’t mean you can neglect safety rules such as wearing wakeboard vests.
You may think it looks cool to ride your wakeboard and do tricks without wearing a wakeboard vest, but that is incredibly stupid. Everyone, regardless of their level of skill needs to use some sort of safety equipment, and everyone, advanced or beginner, needs to use wakeboard vests.
Wakeboard vests are designed to keep the rider afloat whenever they are in the water, whether or not you know how to swim. If anything goes wrong as your riding, the vest can really help you out. Even if you’re a great swimmer and can perform lots of tricks, a vest is necessary. You could be very close to the shore, but you still should have a wakeboard vest. Bottom line, you need to wear a vest if you are going to be on a wakeboard.
Accidents and injuries don’t give you notice. You can get injured mis-stunt or even when you’re not doing tricks, wearing a vest could be the difference between life and death. The time it takes for your boat to decelerate and return to pick you up could be the same amount of time it takes you to drown when you are injured. You don’t want to take that risk. Wearing a vest will make sure you stay afloat no matter what.
When you buy a wakeboarding vest, you will want to remember a few things:
You always want to get a vest that has approval from the regulatory board. If you’re in the United States, you want to get a vest that is approved by the Coast Guard. An unlicensed vest is a safety hazard.
Next you want to make sure your vest fits properly. You want a vest that is snug, neither too small nor too big. A too tight vest will hinder your movements and make accidents and spinouts more likely. A vest that is too big puts you in danger because you could wriggle out of it and sink as your vest floats on the water’s surface.
Finally, you will want to consider the weight of your vest. All vest feel lightweight when they are dry. When wet, your vest should still feel somewhat light. A vest that feels heavy when wet means it is more likely that you will sink. You want to get a vest that is made from a quality material such as neoprene and nylon. Ideally, your vest will be made of neoprene which is softer, more comfortable, and lasts longer. Of course, the nylon vest will be less expensive.
Now matter how you feel about using a vest, you should always wear one while wakeboarding. Even your boat driver should wear a life vest.