I recently won a kayak fishing video competition, run by Wet and Wild, on the Anglers Afloat forum with my Tope fishing video. The prize was a £150 voucher to spend on their website! I decided upon the new 2015 Palm Kaikoura PFD (Personal Floatation Device) in blue. Here's an initial overview......
The PFD is largely made from CORDURA® 500D material with a vent mesh liner. Stretchy neoprene also features in places for comfort. The camera flash highlights the reflective solas patches and reflective piping.
Solas patches and D-rings for clipping on accessories
Again reflective Solas patches, piping and decal. Bottom strap wraps foam around the body for a comfortable fit, side straps ensure the flex fit pre-curved foam sits against the body for a wrap-around fit. D-ring at the base is for crotch or leg straps if needed (not included).
Soft cushioned vent mesh liner for ventilation and comfort. Shoulder straps are a stress point so again we find bar-tacked seams for strength and durability. The standard safety information is detailed on the inside of the front panels. The Kaikoura conforms to EN ISO 12402-5 (watersports) and ISO 12402-6 (paddlesport) safety standards. A grippy rubber neoprene waistband helps prevent the PFD from riding up during use.
From the front:
This is a well thought out PFD and it looks great. Its ergonomic design and features allow for a comfortable fit. The anti-ride waist belt keeps the PFD snug to the body when moving around. The neoprene lined arms are also a nice touch to prevent chaffing of the underarms whilst paddling.
The various pockets will be very useful for the kayak angler to store terminal tackle, accessories, a camera and a VHF radio amongst other things. The VHF also positions well when clipped onto the pouch at the base of the shoulder strap. Numerous clips will come in handy for leashing items too. Solas patches, reflective piping and the included whistle are a nice touch safety-wise.
The Palm Kaikoura RRP is £159.95 - this is a serious investment for a piece of kit which primarily does the same thing as a basic £30 PFD i.e. it provides buoyancy. The well thought-out design, numerous features and quality build may warrant the extra cost for the kayak angler looking for a top-spec comfortable and durable PFD. The Kaikoura looks like it will it stand up the kayak fishing abuse it shall receive but time will tell.