Life vest: protect your body from dangerous wipe-outs

Ian Walsh and Tecniq have partnered to produce a custom life vest with a half-zip pullover design for big wave surfing.

Big waves and wipe-outs mean trouble. Lungs have limited capacity and surfers need a helping hand to survive mountains of white water.

Ian Walsh, an experienced big wave charger, has experienced tricky situations in which the protective life vest zipper failed due to the force of a bad wipeout.

"I hit the water so hard on one wave that the life jacket I had on broke. It blew the zipper open, so when I hit it was a like a parachute just opened on my back and put me to a dead stop. I was probably going like 40 or 50 miles an hour", explains Walsh.

The young rider who takes on 70-foot waves at Jaws wanted his new custom life vest to incorporate an improved zippered entry and to have a reduction to the overall bulkiness, while maintaining or increasing the desired buoyancy.

Alongside with Tecniq, they developed a life vest that remains secure and cannot blow open. At the same time, neoprene and foam are the lightest and most buoyant in the company's offering to date.

Take a look at the best wetsuits in the world and the wetsuit size chart.