Every time I ride behind a boat, I wear a USCG-approved life jacket. And no one is urging me to say this. Over the years, I’ve seen and heard about too many riders going unconscious and barely floating in their comp jackets until they were rescued. I know a USCG life jacket is bulkier and I don’t look as cool, but I like the confidence I have to try moves I might get smoked on.
A lot of you want to use the exact same equipment as the pros, but I honestly believe more than 90 percent of you will still progress your riding while wearing a USCG jacket. That said, there’s a huge difference between a good USCG jacket and a bad one. Bad USCGs are restricting and heavier, especially when wet. Lately, I’ve really been nerding out on my gear’s weight (boots especially), and I noticed how much better I ride with lightweight boots and a lightweight jacket. The kicker is to realize how much these items weigh soaking wet.
The first thing I noticed about Body Glove’s ECO (as Rusty Malinoski threw me a freebie from his garage) was how light it is. I placed it on a shipping scale, and it weighs 2.3 pounds dry. My previous jacket weighed 3.8 pounds dry. After riding, the ECO weighed 3.1 pounds and my previous jacket weighed 5.1 pounds.
Another standout feature is the segmented chest design. The panels allow the jacket to flex easily, especially when you’re crunched up going for a grab. I’m fond of the traditional front-zip design. The two belts are positioned perfectly to keep it from sliding up. Lastly, the ECO is an environmentally friendly design. Body Glove’s Bio-Foam is 100 percent PVC-free and is lighter than traditional materials. The outer Eco-Prene material is also lighter than normal neoprene because it repels water. It’s also made from recycled PET materials. Like most everything in life, you have a choice when it comes to your health, safety and taking care of our environment. Life jackets that are moving in this direction have definitely caught my eye and made my choice an easy one. Words: Kevin Michael Photos: billdoster.com
2011 Body Glove Eco Life Jacket