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

Never forget the leash, and tell folks where your going. The boating population of south jersey are generally idiots and you should play all the safety cards. Call Margo and we can paddle some

#12 Sat, 01/12/2019 - 8:16am

Ever try swimming after your boat in strong wind with a bulky pfd on? Then trying to remount with all that bulk on your chest, if you're lucky to retrieve it? I used a Vaikobi and when remounting, the pfd ended up over my head, since I submerged myself first to let buoyancy help push me up into the cockpit. I personally like the one size fits all Nelo pfd that comes with the toddler strap, so it doesn't rise up over my head when I remount. It isn't as bulky as the other pfd's, however, it does come with a large front buckle that can snag the gunnel like the bulkier pfd's do.

#13 Wed, 01/16/2019 - 12:43pm

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