Read about what goes in my surf ski life jacket to be more prepared for any type of paddling and/or conditions you may come across.

As a surf ski instructor and paddler I love to downwind, race, surf, chase boat wakes and take it easy touring the waters of Puget Sound near my home in Seattle.

For all of those interests, I like to be prepared if I need hydration, extra sun block, energy gel or need to make a call whether to check in on work or for an emergency.  All of those and other items can be stored in my PFD (life jacket) instead of having to dig into a bag on my boat.  Or worst case, realize I forgot an essential item in the car.

Here’s what goes in my life jacket:

Note I use the Vaikobi V3 Ocean Racing PFD in yellow/grey which has a zipper on the front and two side pockets.

Rear Pocket:

Front Pockets:

  • One pocket dedicated to a phone or Standard Horizon 6 watt VHF radio.  Phone goes in the Seattle Sports E-merse NEO XL case. Both phone and VHF on a tether attached to a PFD strap.
  • The other pocket has Hammer Gel, UV lip balm, a signal mirror, whistle, paddler’s knife for repairs and for fall/winter paddling an extra light to shine at boats or personal use and can also be clipped on the PFD or boat.
  • One shoulder strap has a waterproof Timex watch for checking on class times and tides and currents.


About Rob Casey – Named a pioneer in the SUP industry by Stand Up Journal, Rob is the author of “Stand Up Paddling Flat Water to Surf and Rivers” and “Kayaking Puget Sound and the San Juans, 60 Trips.” Rob owns SUP, Surf Ski and Kayak school Salmon Bay Paddle in Seattle.


Salmon Bay Paddle SUP Tips

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