A closer look at the Vaikobi VXI Pro PFD

A closer look at the Vaikobi VXI Pro PFD

Windsports athletes are constantly pushing the edge of wind and water, as they maneuver on their board or boat. The risk of impact in these high adrenaline sports is greater than other leisure watersports, so it’s imperative that sailors, wingfoilers, hydrofoilers, tow foilers and jet-skiers have the right equipment - including an impact-protective PFD vest. In this article we’ll look at the features that make Vaikobi’s new VXI Pro PFD an excellent choice for foil sports and performance watersports, and how to decide if this is the best PFD for you.

Why choose an impact PFD?

For anyone looking for a life jacket for impact protection for the core or mid section of the body; an impact or neoprene life jacket could be the solution you need. Any sailor knows that having good equipment gives you the confidence to push the limits or attempt a manoeuvre that you might not have if you were not well equipped.

Wearing a standard paddling PFD is great for buoyancy and agility, but an impact PFD adds another level of protection. Another reason some windsports athletes choose neoprene PFDs is to add water weight, which is absorbed by the neoprene in the same way a wetsuit gets heavier. Impact life jackets are often slightly longer in the torso which can give you a feeling of being further protected.

What is a neoprene PFD?

A neoprene PFD is designed not only to keep the wearer safe and buoyant in the water, but also to give the body some layer of protection between their rib cage and hard parts of their boat or board. While most lifejackets have foam panels covered by a UV-resistant lightweight polyester, neoprene PFDs are made with wetsuit material made from polyester and rubber.

Features of the Vaikobi VXI Pro PFD

Sailors and performance wind sports athletes can take comfort in the fact that the Vaikobi VXI Pro life jacket is ISO 12402-5 certified, while many impact PFDs are not rated this highly. This means you can paddle or sail in open waters knowing you’ll float if you get excited from your craft.

Vaikobi chief designer Bart Milczarczyk explains that “we developed the VXI Pro alongside a group of high speed foil boarding and windsports athletes to ensure they felt great on the water. We designed a sleek low profile so it didn’t get in the way of their manoeuvres. The response from windsports athletes so far has been super positive.”

Much like the Vaikobi VXP life jacket, the VXI Pro has a front centre storage zip pocket where the user can store items for safety or convenience. This vest also has a large velcro back pocket that holds a 1.5L hydration bladder (also available from Vaikobi). The VXP and V3 models also offer a hydration pocket, which is ideal for athletes spending long periods of time on the water to ensure they can remain hydrated.

What makes the VXI Pro different to other Vaikobi life jackets is the way you put the life jacket on. Free from zips, you simply pull the VXI Pro over your head, and secure the vest via the adjustable twin buckles on each side. The Vaikobi V3 life jacket has a front zip entry, and the VX and VXP models have side entry points.

The Vaikobi VXI Pro life jacket is slightly longer in torso length than the VXP, VX and V3 life jackets, which means that the lower torso is protected from any bumps or knocks from boats, hardware, booms or sails.

The VXI Pro comes in navy with an orange lining, and fluoro orange with a navy lining. The vest provides a close form-fit and offers protection for both the chest and the back, and the smooth profile foam panels move with the body. A key feature for windsports athletes is a webbing harness loop at the bottom front of the PFD for wearing with a sailing harness.

Shop for Vaikobi Life Jackets here.


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