The Vest Test

  • Whether it's time for you to upgrade your vest or if you just want to know how much water your vest soaks up when you ride, pay close attention — you're going to like this feature. In our May issue, we included a "Vest Test" in our Gear section. In honor of Safe Boating Week, we've made this baby digital in case you missed the original. Check it out!

  • The Test

  • Along with showing you some of the this year's best vests, we wanted to bring you some insight on how each of these vests shed or held water. What we decided to do was to weigh the vests dry, submerge them and then weigh them wet. This told us exactly how much water the vests hold after you're up on the water trying tricks.

  • Here was our process:

  • 1. Weigh the vest dry.

  • 2. Submerge the vest.  In order to be consistent, we came up with a typical time a vest is submerged from when you fall until you are picked up. We kept each vest under water for 90 seconds.

  • _3. Weigh the vest wet.  _We also estimated how long it takes from when you get up on your wakeboard to when you try your first trick. We weighed each vest 45 seconds after it was taken out of the tank.

  • _Soakage: _This measures the increase in overall weight from the dry vest to the soaked vest after 45 seconds of emerging from the water.

  • Comp Vests

  • O'Neill | Slasher Comp Vest

  • Dry: 1.21 pounds

  • Wet: 2.38 pounds

  • Water weight: 1.17 pounds

  • Soakage: 97 percent

  • Notable features: This competition vest is lightweight, flexible, reversible and anatomically segmented for maximum freedom of movement.

  • MSRP: $130

  • Jetpilot | Chris O'Shea Comp Jacket

  • Dry: 1.67 pounds

  • Wet: 2.93 pounds

  • Water weight: 1.26 pounds

  • Soakage: 75 percent

  • Notable features: Chris O'Shea's signature comp vest features a long tapered design with one nylon strap to keep the vest snug and prevent it from rolling up, which is a common issue with vests this flexible.

  • MSRP: $130

  • Body Glove | Harley Clifford Signature Vest

  • Dry: 1.87 pounds

  • Wet: 2.95 pounds

  • Water weight: 1.08 pounds

  • Soakage: 58 percent

  • Notable features: Harley Clifford's competition vest is a long, thin vest that is flexible and padded throughout for a nice sturdy construction.

  • MSRP: $130

  • Billabong | Raph Non-CGA Signature Vest

  • Dry: 1.36 pounds

  • Wet: 1.8 pounds

  • Water weight: 0.44 pounds

  • Soakage: 32 percent

  • Notable features: Raph Derome's signature comp vest is built with simplicity and mobility in mind. The tacky texture on the vest's exterior allows it to dry quickly and keeps the neoprene from stretching out too much over time.

  • MSRP: $115

  • Hyperlite | Franchise Comp

  • Dry: 1.32 pounds

  • Wet: 2.2 pounds

  • Water weight: 0.88 pounds

  • Soakage: 67 percent

  • Notable features: The Franchise Comp vest is simple yet effective. The front-zip entry makes this vest easy to get on and off while keeping a thin and lightweight profile for an easy-to-use, no-hassle competition vest.

  • MSRP: $135

  • CWB | Team Pullover

  • Dry: 1.14 pounds

  • Wet: 2.13 pounds

  • Water weight: 0.99 pounds

  • Soakage: 87 percent

  • Notable features: This pullover comp vest is light, thin, flexible, reversible and features loops that allow you to tie the bottom to your shorts, so it won't roll up on impact.

  • MSRP: $100

  • Ronix | One Impact Jacket

  • Dry: 1.43 pounds

  • Wet: 2.22 pounds

  • Water weight: 0.79 pounds

  • Soakage: 55 percent

  • Notable features: Based on the Capella pattern, this comp vest is designed to fit your torso properly while providing impact protection for your core.

  • MSRP: $140

  • O'Brien | Team NCGA Vest

  • Dry: 1.23 pounds

  • Wet: 2.22 pounds

  • Water weight: 0.99 pounds

  • Soakage: 80 percent

  • Notable features: O'Brien's Team comp vest features a 1.5-millimeter four-way stretch neoprene, which makes it very elastic and extremely comfortable to wear.

  • MSRP: $100

  • Liquid Force | Flex Comp

  • Dry: 1.47 pounds

  • Wet: 2.97 pounds

  • Water weight: 1.5 pounds

  • Soakage: 102 percent

  • Notable features: This comp vest's 38-section construction is designed for easy entry, maximum comfort and extreme flexibility.

  • MSRP: $100

  • CGA Vests

  • O'Neill | Torque USCG Vest

  • Dry: 2.97 pounds

  • Wet: 4.25 pounds

  • Water weight: 1.28 pounds

  • Soakage: 43 percent

  • Notable features: The Torque is a buoyant, Coast Guard-approved vest that features an integrated lumbar design that supports the lower back when upright and moves with you when bending forward.

  • MSRP: $130

  • Jetpilot | Shaun Murray USCG Approved PFD

  • Dry: 2.18 pounds

  • Wet: 3.35 pounds

  • Water weight: 1.17 pounds

  • Soakage: 54 percent

  • Notable features: Shaun Murray's signature vest features a lightweight, low-bulk design that allows for a wide range of motion while keeping you afloat up to the Coast Guard's standards.

  • MSRP: $110

  • Body Glove | Prime

  • Dry: 2.46 pounds

  • Wet: 3.88 pounds

  • Water weight: 1.42 pounds

  • Soakage: 58 percent

  • Notable features: This vest has all the bells and whistles. The Prime features an air-foam interior for ventilation and easy drainage, hidden nylon straps, mesh vents, segmented panels, and more.

  • MSRP: $110

  • Hyperlite | Special Agent Team

  • Dry: 2.64 pounds

  • Wet: 4.26 pounds

  • Water weight: 1.62 pounds

  • Soakage: 62 percent

  • Notable features: This vest stands out with a superior range of motion in all directions thanks to independent segmented rib panels that bend and flex with you.

  • MSRP: $145

  • CWB | Absolute Vest

  • Dry: 1.58 pounds

  • Wet: 3.21 pounds

  • Water weight: 1.63 pounds

  • Soakage: 103 percent

  • Notable features: The Absolute Vest features an upside down U-shaped flex panel on the back and large armholes that greatly increase mobility.

  • MSRP: $75 

  • Ronix | Parks Capella CGA Vest

  • Dry: 2.62 pounds

  • Wet: 4.34 pounds

  • Water weight: 1.72 pounds

  • Soakage: 66 percent

  • Notable features: The fit of this vest is designed with a cylindrical shape that is built to fit your torso properly to increase comfort and mobility, all while maintaining Coast Guard-approved safety and flotation standards.

  • MSRP: $150

  • O'Brien | Flex V-Back

  • Dry: 1.98 pounds

  • Wet: 3.32 pounds

  • Water weight: 1.34 pounds

  • Soakage: 68 percent

  • Notable features: The V-Back feature that the vest is named for is a flexible neoprene webbing that is stretched between the two lower back panels and plays a large part in the vest's overall comfort.

  • MSRP: $80

  • Liquid Force | Watson CGA

  • Dry: 1.94 pounds

  • Wet: 3.1 pounds

  • Water weight: 1.16 pounds

  • Soakage: 60 percent

  • Notable features: The Watson CGA vest is designed for maximum comfort by featuring a super stretch material, 11 panels and a size-zip entry.

  • MSRP: $130