Are you looking for the best buoyancy aids for SUP? Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs) are essential when it comes to staying safe while on the water, I never go out without one!
With so many types of PFD available, how do you know which one is right for you?
- Red Paddle Co – SUP Buoyancy Aid – Best for Comfort
- Baltic – SUP Pro Buoyancy Aid
- Gill – Pro Racer Buoyancy Aid
- Tribord – Buoyancy Aid Vest 500 – Best for Value
- Red Paddle Co – Airbelt PFD – Best Inflatable Belt
- ITIWIT – Inflatable Buoyancy Aid Belt
I’ve rounded up six of the top-rated PFDs that I think will suit any type of paddler, and will help keep you safe during your next paddling adventure.
Best For Comfort
It features a form-fitting design with slimline foam that provides freedom of movement when paddling and supports you in the water.
Engineered to enable an optimal range of movement for paddling with maximum upper-body mobility and full shoulder rotation. Its buoyancy panels contour your body, reducing bulk.
The expandable chest pocket has loads of room for your phone, keys and snacks. It also has a reflective logo and piping to ensure visibility in low light conditions.
It’s good to see that this buoyancy aid is compatible with a waist-belt leash or a quick-release shackle leash using the D-ring attachment point.
The overhead style can be easily adjusted with shoulder and waist straps to best fit your frame. The small size option comes with a detachable crotch strap to ensure the best fit for kids.
It offers 50N of floatation protection and is ISO 12402-5 certified. The buoyancy aid is designed to offer maximum arm mobility when paddling, while providing a snug, comfortable, non bulky fit.
2. Baltic SUP Pro Buoyancy Aid
– Lack of fastenings at the front make it easier to get back on the board.
– Snug fit for comfort.
– Great for upper body movement.
– A minor point, but the pocket can be a little difficult to access.
– Longer design may not suit other water sports.
The buoyancy material is thin, compact, and flexible, which makes it easier for the wearer to get up on the board from the water and follow paddle movements.
It features a side zip for easy on and off, an adjustable waistband, and a zippered pocket on the front, as well as reflectors on the shoulder areas for increased visibility.
The buoyancy aid provides 50N buoyancy and is ISO 12402-5 certified.
The SUP Pro Buoyancy Aid is designed in Sweden and made in Europe and comes with a 5-year warranty.
3. Gill Pro Racer Buoyancy Aid
– Adjustable shoulders with Neoprene padding.
– Shorter design gives free waist movement.
– Self-draining zipped front pocket.
– Suitable for various water activities.
– May require ordering 1 or 2 sizes larger than normal for a proper fit.
It features adjustable shoulders with Neoprene padding for a secure fit and a lightweight, minimum bulk design for full freedom of movement.
It has a self-draining zippered front pocket and reflective detailing on both the front and back for increased visibility. It is constructed from 100% nylon and PE foam and holds an ISO 12402-5 50 Newton Certification.
The Gill Pro Racer Buoyancy Aid is a great choice for those looking for an affordable and reliable PFD. It’s lightweight design makes it comfortable to wear while paddling, providing the necessary buoyancy and safety features needed when on the water.
Best For Value
– Great value for money!
– Comfortable fit and easy movement.
– Wide front pocket for carrying essentials.
– Easy to put on and adjust with double zip and buckle.
– Black version is environmentally friendly.
– Only the black version is eco-friendly.
– Slightly more bulky than others reviewed.
This is a 50-newton buoyancy aid designed for dinghy sailing, but suitable for most water Sports.
It features an ergonomic shape, wide front pocket for carrying essentials, and easy dressing with double zip and buckle.
It is compliant with EN ISO 12402-5 standards and offers good freedom of movement due to its short cut and 3D shape.
Overall, the TRIBORD BUOYANCY AID VEST 500 BA 50 NEWTONS is a great choice for stand up paddle boarders looking for a comfortable, reliable buoyancy aid. Its adjustable fit, bright colors, and durable materials make it a solid choice for anyone hitting the water.
– Less bulky and more comfortable than traditional buoyancy aids.
– Reflective strip for visibility in low light conditions.
– Water-resistant storage pocket for small valuables.
– 5-year guarantee for peace of mind.
– Expensive compared to other options.
It offers a less bulky alternative to traditional buoyancy aids while still providing ISO-certified 50N support.
The PFD features quick-release inflation, a replaceable gas canister, a reflective strip, manual inflation and deflation valve, and a water-resistant storage pocket.
It is available in three different colors and comes with a 5-year guarantee.
Quick-release inflation, replaceable gas canister, reflective strip for visibility in low light conditions, manual valve for inflation and deflation control, water-resistant storage pocket for small valuables.
Three colour options to match board colors and a 5-year guarantee.
– Lightweight and compact design.
– Easy to set up and use with a gas canister.
– Affordable alternative to other PFD systems.
– Suitable for users of different sizes.
– Relatively stiff and wide when rolled up in the bag.
This 50N buoyancy aid waist belt features on-demand inflation by a gas cartridge for safety and is certified according to EN ISO 12402-5 + A1 07/2010.
It inflates quickly with a single pull of the cord and offers an ergonomic design that doesn’t hinder the user’s paddling.
The belt is adjustable and can be regularly readjusted during activities. Provides greater freedom of movement for paddleboarding. Ergonomic design that doesn’t hinder paddling.
Difference between a Buoyancy Aid and an Inflatable Buoyancy Belt
There are three main types of personal flotation devices (PFDs): life jackets, foam buoyancy aids, and flotation air belts.
Life Jackets provide the most buoyancy and can keep an unconscious wearer’s head above water, making them suitable for various water activities.
Buoyancy Aids, or buoyancy vests, allow for greater freedom of movement and are ideal for sports like kayaking and canoeing.
Flotation Air Belts are waist-worn PFDs that offer minimal bulk and maximum freedom of movement, perfect for stand-up paddle boarding and snorkeling.
I recommend that children do not use Air Belts.
When selecting a PFD, consider your swimming ability, activity type, and need for mobility to ensure the best fit for your water-based adventures. Have a look at this post for more details on Understanding the Differences between Life Jackets, Foam Buoyancy Aids, and Flotation Air Belts.
FAQs – Personal Floatation Devices for Paddle Boarding
What type of PFD is best for paddle boarding?
When choosing a Personal Flotation Device (PFD) for paddle boarding, it is important to consider the type of water you will be paddling in. For general recreational use, an Inflatable PFD is recommended as they are lightweight and comfortable while providing ample buoyancy. If you plan on paddling in rougher waters or colder temperatures, a foam-filled PFD may be more suitable due to its increased flotation capabilities and greater protection from hypothermia. Additionally, make sure that your PFD fits properly and meets all safety regulations set by the US Coast Guard.
How much weight can a 10 6 paddle board hold?
The amount of weight a 10’6 paddle board can hold depends on the type and construction of the board. Generally, an inflatable paddle board with a maximum capacity of 300 lbs is suitable for one adult rider plus gear. A hard-shell or epoxy SUP can typically handle more weight, up to 350 lbs or more depending on its size and design. It’s important to always check your manufacturer’s guidelines before loading up your board to ensure you don’t exceed its recommended limits.
Do you need a PFD on a paddleboard?
Yes, it is recommended to wear a personal flotation device (PFD) when paddle boarding. PFDs provide extra buoyancy and can help keep you afloat in the event of an accident or if you become fatigued while out on the water. Additionally, wearing a PFD may be required by law depending on where you are paddling. It’s important to check local regulations before heading out for your paddle board adventure. To ensure safety and peace of mind, always wear a properly fitted PFD when paddle boarding.
What size paddle board is good for a 6 foot man?
For a 6 foot man, the ideal paddle board size is typically between 10’6″ and 11’6″. A longer board will provide more stability in the water, while a shorter one will be easier to maneuver. The width of the board should also be taken into consideration; wider boards are better for beginners as they offer more stability. Ultimately, it’s important to find a balance between length and width that works best for your individual needs. Try out different sizes before making your purchase so you can make an informed decision about which size paddle board is right for you.