Watersports vests is one of the most important pieces of equiptment you'll have while out on the water. It is designed to keep you afloat when you fall off a wake or let go of the tow rope. When shopping for any type of watersport vests, there are many features to take into consideration. This includes comfort, style, and how the vest will be used. However, the most important to feature is whether the vests are Coast Guard Approved (CGA) or non-Coast Guard Approved.

Coast Guard Approved

CGA (Coast Guard Approved) vests are by far the safest way to partake in watersports activities and especially wakeboarding. These vests have to meet strict guidelines to ensure proper floatation that will keep your head out of the water. These vests can be found at even the lowest price points, but as the price goes up, so does the comfort and mobility. Modern high-end CGA vests provide plenty of flexibility and comfort, so we highly recommend them as your vest of choice.

Non-Coast Guard Approved

Non-CGA vests do not offer the amount of floatation and ability to keep your head above water as CGA vests do. These vests are often referred to as "comp vests" (competition vests) as they do not provide the floatation and safety that a rider may need when not in a sanctioned wakeboard competition. What they do offer is more mobility allowing a rider to bend and flex easier.

Other Features

Besides whether or not the vest is CGA approved or not, there are other features to consider when choosing the right vest for you.

  • Size - Make sure your wakeboard vest feels snug but not tight. If the wakeboard vest goes up over your ears when you raise your arms straight up, it’s too big. All CGA vests will have at least two adjustable clasping straps to ensure a snug fit.
  • Sex - Some women find that women’s wakeboard vests provide a better fit. Women-specific vests are made with more room up top for better comfort and fit. Women’s wakeboard vests tend to have shorter torsos to make it easier for smaller individuals to bend at the waist.
  • Style - Most wakeboarders find that neoprene wakeboard vests are more comfortable. However, if price is a concern, nylon vests are less expensive. There are different foam segmentations in the more premium vest options. These segmentations allow for more movement and flexibility, even in CGA vests. These higher-end vests also tend to have glide skin materials that reduce chafe.

A vest is designed to help keep you afloat in the water and is a vital piece of safety equipment. Because of this, it is important to not only choose a vest that fits, but also one that you will wear. Have more questions about vests or any other water adventure? Visit us in-store or online at your local Sun & Ski Sports for expert advice about wakeboards, water skis, and more.