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Life jackets aren’t exactly easy to surf in. That’s why big wave surfers don’t wear them–instead, they wear things like Billabong’s V1 wetsuit. But if you’re not exactly into wearing something like the V1, which is basically earmarked for the hairiest of big wave situations, a company called Hyde just made a new life jacket that is pure genius.

Life jackets suck. They’re big and bulky, and they get in the way of pretty much anything you do with your arms. Hyde’s creation, though, is pretty tiny… until you need it, that is. Then it’s not.

“Minimalism and comfort were our first priority; we wanted to create the thinnest life jacket possible so that triathletes and surfers could actually wear it in the water,” said Pat Hughes, the company’s founder. “Once we achieved this, we took it a step further by adding optional features for paddlers, fishermen, and boaters. The Wingman can be used in an endless array of configurations and users can optimize it for whatever activity they are doing that day. Existing life jackets are so uncomfortable and limiting, and yet everyone has to wear them; we wanted to rethink the product category and give consumers an innovative option instead of the same old tired designs.”

See more on their Kickstarter campaign.


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