Red Bull Adventure – Tecniq Big Wave Life Vest

Tecniq Big Wave Life Vest

By Josh Sampiero on 1 June 2013 in Gear

Surviving a big-wave beating isn’t easy – but high-tech lifejackets make it a little bit safer.

As big-wave surng gets pushed further and further (and deeper and deeper), the risks athletes are taking get bigger and bigger.

After multiple incidents in which his life vest became more than a hindrance than help, Red Bull athlete and big wave-surfer Ian Walsh decided he needed something better. San Diego-based design rm Tecniq jumped in to help out.

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The goals were simple – maintain oat, reduce bulk, increase safety, while offering the exibility and freedom Walsh needed to surf at a world-class level.

The biggest problem was the zipper. When Walsh would hit the water at high speeds, the seams on the zipper would blow, rendering the life vest useless.

Tecniq’s solution was simple: less zipper. By shortening the zipper on the lower front half, they found that the risk of a “blowout” was reduced. This had another benet: more otation foam in the upper chest panel, increasing chances of surfacing face-up.

The next big breakthrough was in materials: a new environmentally-friendly otation foam from Zotefoams called HydroZOTE™ is approximately 30% lighter while offering 10% more oat. That’s not all – the new foam has virtually no water absorption, meaning the jacket doesn’t get heavier the longer the rider is in the water.

While the new foam hasn’t yet made its way into the consumer market, it has high potential to bring a greater level of safety to big-wave surng and other watersport adventures where sudden, deep submersion can occur.

Safer, stronger and more otation. The next challenge? Finding bigger waves.