WakeMAKERS Wakeboard Vest & PFD Buyer's Guide

Choosing Your Next Wakeboard Vest

The importance of choosing the right vest cannot be overstated. Wearing a vest that is suited for you can drastically improve your performance while riding as well as your overall comfort level. You will be spending lots of time in your vest during those summer lake days so you want something that looks good, feels comfortable, and keeps you safe.

If you are looking to learn more before choosing your next vest, you've came to the right place. The WakeMAKERS Vests & PFDs Buyer's Guide covers everything you need to know in order to confidently choose your next vest.

What Type Of Vest Should I Buy?

The first step in choosing your next vest is deciding which type of vest you are looking for. There are two different types of vests you will find: CGA (Coast Guard Approved) and competition style vests. Each type has their own pros and cons. The right type of vest for you all depends on your individual needs/wants and specific use case.

CGA Vests

CGA (Coast Guard Approved) vests are the most common type of vest you'll see due to the fact that most states require you wear a vest approved the United States Coast Guard while participating in watersports activties such as wakeboarding, wakesurfing, tubing, etc. These vests are typically constructed with more foam than a comp style vest, creating a more bulky while in the water or riding. However, they offer far more flotation and will help keep your head above the water in the case of an accident or injury.

It is important to note that federal regulations require that there is a USCG approved vest for every person on your boat. For example, if you have 8 people onboard, you will need 8 USCG approved vests on board at all times.

Competition Vests

Competition wakeboard vests, more commonly known as comp vests, are not USCG approved. It is important to check your state regulations to see if wearing a comp vest while riding is legal. Most people prefer the comp vest while riding as they are much lighter and less restrictive, providing more freedom of movement. However, a comp vest doesn't offer nearly the same flotation or level of safety that you will find in a CGA vest.

The comp vest is a popular option for more advanced riders. The added comfort and range of motion can help improve your overall riding while trying more advanced tricks. A comp vest is not recommended for beginners as the limited flotation makes it more difficult to get your body in proper position before getting up out of the water.

Note: You cannot operate a PWC (personal water craft) such as a jet ski while wearing a comp vest.

What Size Do I Need?

Now that you've decided on which type of vest you need, it is time to determine the correct size. After all, a proper fitting vest is key to not only your overall comfort, but also your safety while in the water. A vest that fits correctly will provide the most comfort, allow for freedom of movement, and properly float your head above the water.

To find the correct vest size for your body, measure around the widest part of your chest (see below).

Men's Wakeboard Vest Sizing Guide Women's Wakeboard Vest Sizing Guide

Women's Vests

We strongly recommend that any ladies get a female-specific life jacket. It is no secret that there is a big difference between the body shape of a man and a woman. You wouldn't wear a men's shoe so why would you wear a mens vest? Far too often we see ladies on the water having to wear a men's vest because that is all there is on the boat.

A women's vest isn't just a "shrink it and pink it" version of a mens vest. The brands have put lots of time and research into designing vest that fit specifically for a female's body for added comfort and improved performance.

In the picture above, you can cleary see the difference in overall shape between the men's and women's vests.

Kids Life Jackets

Kids Wakeboard Vests

Kids deserve a nice vest. Especially since they are the ones that are required to wear them at all times, both on the boat and in the water. Trust us when we say that putting your child in a vest they enjoy will drastically decrease complaints about wearing a vest and make your day on the water far more enjoyable for everyone onboard.

Kids vests are available in three different sizes: infant (0-30 lbs.) child (30-50 lbs.) and youth (50-90 lbs.)

Wakeboard Vest Materials

Wakeboard Vests and PFDs


Neoprene vests are lightweight and flexible. The material is softer, more breathable, and forms to your body movement better than nylon. Nearly all higher-end wakeboard vests are made of a neoprene material.


Nylon vests are cheaper and less flexible than neoprene vests. If you are going to be spending much time in the vest we highly suggest wearing a neoprene vest as it will make your time on the water far more enjoyable.

Still Undecided on Your Next Vest? We Are Here to Help!

WakeMAKERS Customer Support Team

Our goal is to "help you have more fun on the water". The team of product experts here at WakeMAKERS are more than happy to help you in finding your next vest. Whether you still have questions that need answered or just seeking advice when torn between two different vests, Jenny and our Customer Support Team are here for you.