How to stay safe on your stand up paddleboard

A bouyancy aid is a very important part of your SUP safety equipment.  On this page you can check out our reviews and submit your own buoyancy aid review, share your experiences with bouyancy aids and anything else you’d like to contribute

Buoyancy Aid Reviews

Here are some of the products that we have in-depth personal experience with and are prepared to recommend.  More reviews coming very soon – the website has only just been launched, and our main goal has been getting the books right. If you would like to submit a review we’d love to hear from you!

In the book

Here are some of the discussion points covered in the chapters about buoyancy aids.  Order your copy of the book now!

  • Buoyancy aids in in the paddleboarding context
  • Why would we want a buoyancy aid
  • Why would you not want a buoyancy aid
  • Why not just carry my buoyancy aid on the board
  • Types of buoyancy aid
  • Permanent flotation buoyancy aids
  • The flotation vs comfort conundrum
  • Fitting your permanent flotation buoyancy aid
  • Who is a permanent flotation buoyancy aid for
  • Medical considerations when choosing a bouyancy aid
  • Inflatable buoyancy aids
  • Choosing a beltpack buoyancy aid
  • Other considerations with beltpacks
  • Hybrid buoyancy aids
  • Other flotation options
  • How much buoyancy do I actually need?
  • Choosing the right buoyancy aid
  • In summary
  • Golden rules of safety equipment: for Buoyancy aids
  • Buoyancy aid knowledge: test yourself

Making the right choice of buoyancy aid for your particular requirements is a very important aspect of your safety strategy, so so you really owe it to yourself to fully understand the issues and complexities of choosing the right style and knowing how to use it properly.   Order your copy of the book now!

Brands, Products and Links

There are numerous buoyancy aid brands, and a huge amount of regional variation in what product is on offer, so this is a difficult one to advise on generally. This is particularly so with permanent flotation buoyancy aids, which can be purchased very cheaply from many sports retail chains.  

Quality brands with a strong local following include Vaikobi (really highly regarding permanent buoyancy jackets for paddling), Crewsaver and NRS.

The following products are highly rated, but we have not used them enough ourselves to give a full review on. 

Onyx Beltpack 
A basic beltpack from US brand Onyx. Low profile, light and cheap. 

Airhead Paddle Vest
A simple but functional permanent buoyancy vest. Light weight, nice and bright, plenty of adjustment, good neoprene padding on the shoulders, useful front pocket. Be sure to use the sizing chart to get the right size for your requirements. 

What are your thoughts on Buoyancy Aids?

If you have anything to add to the discussion in the book about buoyancy aids then please let us know.  The discussion here will be moderated, and only relevant comments will be accepted. (Differing viewpoints are extremely welcome, but please do read the chapter in the book first, and base your comments on what has been written there. If your view has already been covered in the book there’s no point repeating it again). 

If you want to follow the debate then enter your details below and you’ll be notified when any new comments are added.

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Liz Archer
Liz Archer
11 months ago

This was the most useful chapter of the book for me. I get leashes, and I get communications, but you have made me completely rethink my whole approach to buoyancy aids. I was guilty of everything you talk about – assuming it made me safe, would protect me from getting knocked out, would protect me from cold water shock, would protect me from getting into trouble. I am seeing it all very differently now. Its difficult to explain to other people though.

1 year ago

Wow, you’re really brave saying that buoyancy aids (or PFDs as we mainly call them here) are not actually the most important item of safety equipment. You are going to get a lot of haters for that. But I totally get what you say, and you explain the logic very well. I just hope everyone keeps reading and doesn’t throw the book away at the start.

Simon Kerr
Simon Kerr
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonny

I was thinking exactly the same thing. But what you are saying in this book needs to be said. You are exactly right that people are getting it all completely wrong. I had not really thought about it before reading your book. Your golden laws of safety equipment are gold!

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