Best paddling PFD

Hey, I used to swim like a fish. Now, since my accident, I sink like a rock! Want to get back on my OC1. What’s the least restrictive/best paddling pfd to get?

Submitted by drewp on Tue, 01/09/2018 - 6:57am

I've had a low profile Stohlquist for years and find it to be quite comfortable. Doesn't restrict my arms but helps keep me warm when paddling in the cold winter months. Vaikobi makes a nice lightweight PFD that comes with a pouch to hold the reservoir of a hydration system.

#1 Wed, 01/10/2018 - 10:27am

Mocke or Vaikobi are the two most popular here.

#2 Wed, 01/10/2018 - 10:06pm

I was going to get the Mocke...looks awesome and looks like it would be comfortable. But it is not USCG approved. I think it is somewhere in the neighborhood of 11 lbs of floatation. You might get a pass from the CG...but if you really need it you might drown...Just a thought.


#3 Thu, 01/11/2018 - 1:12pm

I have the Mocke, and the flotation is more than sufficient. Mine is an old one, but I read somewhere that they recently added more buoyancy to comply with international standards so the new ones should be even better albeit a bit bulkier.

I'm like OC Ken and wear my PFD in the winter for warmth. Nothing blocks an ice water splash to the torso better than a couple inches of foam.

#4 Thu, 01/11/2018 - 1:49pm

Yea, I really need this to be functional right now. Are either of these available on the mainland(states)? I’m right on the cusp of a large vs. XL. They don’t really have an email/contact to make a recommendation. (Ie do they run small or big?)

#5 Thu, 01/11/2018 - 4:18pm

It looks like Onwater360 sells both the Mocke and Vaikobi.

#6 Thu, 01/11/2018 - 10:04pm

If you don't need the warmth, consider what many Dragonboat paddlers use - a belt only flotation device. I use it when I solo in my OC1 a long distance off shore - not smart but when you gotta go, you gotta go. Since it requires you to be awake and functional to deploy it, it's not perfect for a conscious-ending huli, but works in most common circumstances if separated from your ride. Check it out:

#7 Fri, 01/19/2018 - 3:47am

check out the Hyde Wingman.. thinnest one I've found. USCG approved and easier to activate than the belt kind.. keyhole style will flip you over in a conscious-ending huli ( tested this)


#8 Thu, 10/11/2018 - 12:06pm

Mahalo all. I did get out on the OC1 this summer. For the relatively calm bay, I liked the inflatable belt pack. Fortunately, never had to use it. As I venture out into the open ocean, I may look into that “wingman”.

#9 Tue, 10/16/2018 - 4:04pm

that and a leash... keep in mind that it is a challenge to get the belt version on once you're in the water.


#10 Fri, 10/19/2018 - 12:30pm

I did order the wingman ( note....end of summer sale!). Hope it doesn’t get in the way

#11 Mon, 10/29/2018 - 5:03am

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