Palm Equipment’s Glide floatation belt is new for 2016 and it’s a nifty bit of crossover kit that covers multiple paddle sports. For SUPers it’s an added back up in case of emergency that could prove invaluable during situations of dire straits.
There has been much made about leashing up when afloat, and here at SUPM we concur. Staying in contact with your board is essential and safe practice. But what happens when the dreaded occurs? There’s nothing as sickening as that initial tug of the ankle and then, nothing. You know it’s happened even before you’ve broken the water’s surface. And yep, sure enough, with daylight on your face it’s goodbye stand up paddle board as it disappears into the ether.
Now it’s one thing to snap a leash while SUP surfing. Usually paddlers are just a swim away from shore – sometimes a tough swim but a swim none the less. For those venturing further away from land, such as downwind aficionados, distance racers and touring nuts, it’s a different kettle of fish. Accidental breaking of contact between body and board is potentially life threatening in these kinds of situations.
Palm’s Glide could be the solution. Attaching securely to paddler waists it’s easily forgotten about until needed. A quick tug of the yellow tab will deploy a bright yellow bladder – much like you see on aeroplanes. Fitting over your head, while staying attached at your waist, it keeps heads above water, via 100N of float, and could provide valuable time needed for search and rescue teams to locate you. 24 gram CO2 cylinders can be replaced once spent and the bladder can be repackaged having been inflated.
Something to keep in mind: as good as Palm’s Glide belt is it won’t do any good if the rider become unconscious. Therefore every box should be ticked to reduce risk before putting in. (We appreciate accidents still happen though). The wearer actually has to physically pull the bladder over his/her head. Having said that it does provide peace of mind when out on the water, and could help beginners increase their confidence while providing experienced SUPers with essential back up if venturing offshore.
As with all Palm kit the Glide float belt’s design and styling is A1. Inflating the Glide, even when on or in the water, is easy peasy and it’s a swift process to yank over your head. We can really see the Glide coming into its own for sweepers losing their main source of floatation (board) when far from shore. Not only that, the belt has a front located (non-waterporoof) pouch to store mobile phones which is great when help’s needed. With its simple design and means of inflation (via replaceable CO2 canister) Palm’s Glide float belt is another weapon worthy of inclusion in any paddler’s armoury.
Note: in some areas of the world you’re now required to wear a PFD when on the water. Palm’s Glide delivers a non-intrusive way of achieving this.
Info: http://palmequipmenteurope.com/product/glide Comes in a choice of either blue or red.