Life jackets are an essential piece of equipment to wakeboarding and should not be put to the wayside. That is why you need to have the best wakeboard life jacket possible.
There are quite a few life jacket options out on the market, depending on what type of riding that you are doing, where you are doing it, and the level of protection that you need.
You will need to consider all of these things before you begin your search.
Since the options for life jackets is great, we have broken down all of the best ones on the market right now to help you decide. Remember: the right choice for you will not be the same choice as someone else and buy one based on your needs.
10 Best Wakeboard Life Jackets (2021)
1. Ronix One Capella 3.0
2. Liquid Force Spector
3. Slingshot Impact Wake
4. O'Neil Youth Reactor
5. Liquid Force Ghost
6. Hyperlite Wishbone
7. Mystic Voltt Jacket
8. Ronix RXT Capella 3.0
9. Follow S.P.R Freemont
10. Mystic Gem Vest
1. Ronix One Capella 3.0 CGA Wakeboard Jacket
Best Wakeboard Life Jacket (Editor's Choice)
We have found that the best wakeboard life jacket is the Ronix One Capella 3.0 CGA vest.
The Capella 3.0 is built with extra room, making it fit more comfortably for taller or larger riders. It comes with oversized arm holes and it is 2 inches longer than the standard vest is.
This is a water-resistant vest that has been Coast Guard Approved, so you know that it will keep you afloat when you need it the most. The cylindrical construction fits snugly around your body as well for a secure fit.
2. Liquid Force Spector Comp Wake Vest
If you are looking more for a high performance wakeboard life jacket, we recommend the Liquid Force Spector Comp wake vest.
Starting with the design, the Spector vest has one-piece uni-body flex architecture. That means that it is all one piece, making it comfortable and easy to wear. The material is a flex-span neoprene, so it will fit snugly and is completely waterproof.
The performance of the best is improved upon with the 100% chill-stopper lining. You will help keep the cold out and focus more on catching air. The only downside is that it has not been approved by the Coast Guard.
3. Slingshot Impact Wakeboard Jacket
Luckily, you do not have to spend too much to get a reliable wakeboard vest. Our recommendation for the best budget friendly wakeboard life jacket is the Slingshot Impact Wake Vest.
The design of the Impact vest includes a front zipper, which makes it easy to put on and to take off. It is made with neoprene material which will keep you dry and comfortable.
The performance of this vest is enhanced by the custom panel segmentation that allows for a more natural movement out on the water. Unfortunately, this vest has not been approved by the Coast Guard.
4. O’Neill Youth Reactor USCG Wake Vest
The perfect wakeboard life jacket for kids is the O’Neill Youth Reactor USCG Wake Vest. This will be comfortable enough for children to keep on without a problem.
The design of the Reactor vest includes a zipper safety tab, which will make it easy to zip up. There are also quick-release dual safety buckles that will help get the vest off in the event of an emergency.
The Youth Reactor vest is appropriate for children between 50 and 90 pounds. Any less than that, and the child could slip out. The vest has been Coast Guard Approved as well, so it is safe to wear.
5. Liquid Force Ghost Comp Wakeboard Jacket
Women do not have the same body shape that men do and unisex vests are sometimes not as comfortable or as secure as a vest made for women would be. For women, we suggest the Liquid Force Ghost wake vest.
The design of the Liquid Force Ghost Comp includes an easy access front zipper, making it easy to take the vest off and put on. There is also a tapered waist, which is appropriate for a better fit for women.
The performance of this life vest is improved through the advanced 44-panel flex-architecture design. This is not a Coast Guard approved life jacket, however.
6. Hyperlite Wishbone Wakeboard Jacket
Another vest that should be considered is the Hyperlite Wishbone wakeboard jacket. This is comfortable and offers a great amount of protection.
The design of the Wishbone includes a simple front entry zipper, so it will be a cinch to get in and out of. The jacket is made from the durable and water resistant neoprene as well.
The performance of the Wishbone is enhanced by its high range of motion that comes from the horizontal flex zones. You do need to be aware that this jacket has not been approved by the Coast Guard.
7. Mystic VOLTT Wakeboard Jacket
Another great vest choice is the Mystic VOLTT wake vest. This will protect you against any impact while you are riding.
There are a lot of great design features with the VOLTT vest, including that it is made with Flaremesh. Flaremesh is a quick-drying lining that is exclusive to Mystic and is incredibly soft. It also will keep you warm out on the water.
One of the best performance features with this jacket is that it is made with Knitflex that can hug your body well, ensuring the vest fits well. This vest is better for impact, but it will not help keep you afloat in the water.
8. Ronix RXT Capella 3.0 Wakeboard Jacket
Another great wakeboard jacket is the Ronix RXT Capella 3.0.
Inside of the vest, you will find that it has an air foam interior, which will help keep you afloat while also taking on any impact that you might experience. It also has a water resistant liner to help keep you as dry as possible.
The performance of the Capella 3.0 is improved by the 2-way stretch neoprene material that the vest has been made with, because it really hugs your body. The vest has been Coast Guard approved as well, so you should get more peace of mind.
9. Follow S.P.R. Freemont Wake Vest
If you are looking for a vest that is more environmentally conscious, we suggest the Follow S.P.R. Freemont vest. This has been made with recycled and sustainable materials.
The design of this vest uses all of the environmentally materials possible, including recycled polyester in the jersey, natural rubber, and PVC-free foam. It is also Aqua-X solvent-free.
When you look at the performance for this vest, you will see that there is a minimal about of foam pockets and the focus is to reduce the bulk in areas that have the most movement. That way, the foam will remain in place with any wear and tear.
10. Mystic Gem Women’s Wake Vest
Another great option for women riders is the Mystic Gem Wake Vest. This has been tailored for the female form and should fit women well.
The design of the vest includes a front-closing YKK zipper that will make it easy in and easy out. The vest is made with Flaremesh, which is a Mystic-exclusive material that is quick drying and warm. The Knitflex liner is also very soft and warm.
The Gem has a spine protector that will help prevent spinal injuries during rides. It is not Coast Guard approved, however, and will not act like a buoyancy aid if you fall in the water.
Things To Consider When Choosing The Best Wakeboard Life Jacket
When it comes to wakeboard life jacket sizing, it is not a one-size-fits-all situation. Jackets come in a lot of different sizes. You will need to figure out the right size for you by measuring around the thickest part of your chest.
Then you will need to compare this to the size chart supplied by the company. Every brand has a different sizing chart, so even if you have worn size with one brand, it might not be the same with another brand.
They need to be formfitting, regardless of which size you need, which is why there are men’s, women’s, and children’s sizing.
The vast majority of wakeboard life jackets are made out of neoprene or a comparable material. This is because neoprene will stretch, help keep water out, and will keep you comfortable.
The material is used to insulate you as well, so you will not be freezing when you are out on the water. Neoprene jackets will typically fit snugly and will be more flexible than the more traditional nylon vests, not restricting any movement.
You will come across some that are polyester as well, but the best material choice is neoprene.
Style might not be a top consideration for your life jacket, but you should not leave it out. Wakeboard life jackets will come with a zipper, buckles, or both.
The style differences do not affect a jacket’s ability to keep you safe, but really come down mostly to personal preference. If you are a competitor, however, you will want to stick with zippers, because buckets have the risk of catching if you are flipping in the air.
The majority of riders do not have this risk factor, however, so it really is mostly personal preference.
Comfort is a huge consideration when it comes to your wakeboard life jacket. You need to make sure that you have enough protection that you will not be injured in the event that you lose hold of your handle, but you do not want a bulky jacket either.
The jacket needs to be snug and comfortable, which means that your range of motion must not be limited by the jacket. You will also want the jacket to resist water and keep you as warm as possible while you are out on the water riding. Look at how many pads and sections a vest has before buying.
Colour & Design
You might be wondering why colour would even matter when it comes to a life jacket, but it might. Brighter colors will make you more visible out on the water, helping to keep you safer. Darker colors are more common, but do not catch the eye as easily.
Design also matters, which includes how easy it is to get your vest on or take it off. You want a secure vest, but you also do not need to wrestle one off when it is wet. Other design elements include the material, which we looked at above.
Use Only US Coast Guard (USCG) Approved Wakeboarding Life Jackets
In the United States, the federal regulations require that all passengers on a boat have or are wearing a US Coast Guard approved life jacket. When you are riding, you really should use a Coast Guard approved life jacket.
The only exception is for wakeboarding and wakesurf boarding competitions, where the riders are more focused on tricks and less focused on the risk of drowning. Competition vests do not have buoyancy and will not keep you afloat.
For that reason, unless you are a competitive rider, always opt for a USCG approved life jacket for your own safety.
How Often Should You Replace A Wakeboarding Life Jacket (Do They Expire?)
Life jackets, as a rule, do not expire. They can breakdown, however, and will wear out naturally over time. In general, you should plan on replacing your life jacket every 10 years or so, but more frequently if you have noticed any buckles breaking down or any tears at all to the fabric.
Before setting out, you should always make sure that your life jacket is free from any damage and that it is stored well when you are not using it. Repairing a life jacket is not a safe idea.
Wakeboard Life Jacket FAQs
What Is A Wakeboarding Life Jacket And Are They Mandatory?
A wakeboarding life jacket will help prevent injury if you are released from the boat or let go of your handle. Most of them will also help keep you afloat in the water.
They are different than other jackets, because they have to be lightweight and fit snugly to stay on your body at high speed. Most places require that you use them, but that can vary depending on where you are at. It is best to just use one.
If I Fall, Will The Life Vest Keep Me Afloat?
This is a clear concern for many riders. Most wakeboard life jackets will keep you afloat. The ones that do are normally approved by the US Coast Guard.
The vests that do not have any buoyancy are reserved for competitive riders typically, because they are more for impact than for life-saving protection. Like we said above, it is better to go with a USCG approved jacket.
What's The Difference Between Wakeboarding And Jet Skiing Life Jackets?
There are a lot of life jacket choices out on the market from jet skis and wakeboarding to fishing and kayaking.
They all have slight differences which are intended to make your performance with the sport even better. Both wakeboarding and jet ski life jackets have a good range of motion and a snug fit, making the differences come down to a slight difference in fit.
Our choice for the best wakeboard life jacket is the Ronix One Capella 3.0. This life jacket has been approved by the United States Coast Guard and it has all of the mobility that you will be looking for in a reliable jacket. That means that it is both safe and comfortable for riders at all levels.
Women might prefer a more tailored fit, like what you would get with the Liquid Force Ghost. Fit is incredibly crucial when it comes to life jackets, so getting one that is made for your body will mean that you have a better fit and that the jacket will be safer for you to wear.
There are competition vests out on the market too, but only go for those if you think that you are going to be doing some amazing flips in a competition. Otherwise, please stick with the USCG approved life jackets for your own safety.
Finally, consider your needs as a rider and then you will be able to make the best choice.