minimalist PFD recommendations

Time to replace my PFD and in the process get a less bulky one. I don’t want an inflatable. But I’ve seen a few brands that surf ski paddlers favor, that’s sort of what I’m thinking. Price is as always a factor.

OK, throw 'em at me. What do you recommend for a more minimalist PFD?

probably don’t qualify
But I like my Brik. $50

Least Bulky …
I’ve used competition vests worn by kite boarders and tow in surfers - Body glove makes some nice ones. They are expensive and they are not coast guard approved. If you buy one make sure it does not have an extended spine protection panel in back, those are miserable in kayak seats.

Astral YTV
Slightly redesigned for 2016, two side pockets, the knife tab was moved up, and there are two small slip pockets by the front shoulder straps.

When I was struggling to get back into my boat a couple of years ago because of all the doodad impediments on my Stohlquist, Marshall suggested the YTV. Love that vest, as well as Astral footwear.

I have an Astral V8. Very light and
well ventilated.

second the V-8
The Astral V-8 has virtually no pockets, a half mesh back and is so light and well ventilated I usually forget I even have it on.

NRS Ninja
I like the NRS Ninja a lot. Its perfect for single blading and is very comfortable. Its similar to the Astral V8.

Also, the Mocke Racer is the surfski pfd of choice. The mocke is nice because it has a pocket for a CamelBak bladder too.

I dont thknk you could go wring with any of those.

Mocke Racer
I have a Mocke Racer up for sale in the classifieds if you don’t mind going non-USCG approved…

Kokatat Orbit is along the same lines as the NRS Ninja.

Astral redesigned the V8, for the 2015. In my eyes , it was a step back in comfort. They redesigned the back of the vest. Instead of the uniformed back in pre-15 models of the V8, they added a lot more mesh and put a foam brick in the shoulder area, to meet USCG standards. I wished they had left the V8 alone, and gave the modified version another name.

Buoyancy Aids

– Last Updated: Apr-23-16 11:01 AM EST –

If you are not worried about USCG stuff. The stuff in Europe is less bulky, than USCG requires. I have used a Gill for about 3 years. It is by far the most comfortable and allows great range of motion. Plus, they are not overly expensive. I looked over a ZHIK at a local boat show. They look and fill great as well. They are a tad more expensive.

I ordered mine through Amazon. If you go this route, make sure you look for Buoyancy Aid vs USCG PFD/Life Vest. Europe uses a persons size and weight, to determine vest floatation weights. Their buoyancy ratings, are not one size fits all, like the US. To me, it is silly for a 100lb person and a 300lb , to have essentially the same vest and flotation standards.



Minimalist and very nice prices.

I agree, but…
They should re-name a product when they radically change it. But one advantage of Astral’s near constant annual style changes is that the “old” models tend to then go on sale for great prices (especially if you are not terribly picky about colors.)

Back in the day…bought the white foam
waterski belt. Was CG Approved then… Think Astral makes a few good choices…fwiw.