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PROTOTYPE: Stohlquist Rocker PFD

June 27, 2009

A representative from Stohlquist visited LARD practice today to introduce their prototype Rocker pfd to the team.  The vest below is the only one of its kind right now – it doesn’t even have the US Coast Guard Type III labels on it yet.

Some highlights – the foam is concave so it wraps around your body better and provides a more snug fit, there are 3 pockets, straps are “backpack” style, the inside “meshie” fabric that runs down the spine allows for more ventilation, the pfd sits higher up allowing for more leaning and less chaffing.

K1 & Will had the opportunity to paddle with the pfd today. Hopefully, they’ll be able to provide some comments on what they thought about it.

The pfd will make an appearance tomorrow at LARD’s practice for additional photographs that may make it to the Stohlquist website.

When it’s available, contact TK for team pricing.

Models: Tony & Lilly




4 Comments leave one →
  1. June 28, 2009 4:04 pm

    This may not apply since it’s the men’s cut and maybe the womens’ version will be narrower, but I didn’t like how it was too wide – your arms scrape the sides of the padding unless you hold your arms a bit aways from your body. Maybe men with large pecs do that but I felt like I had to keep my arms out to avoid the large cushion in front.
    The main thing that isn’t good (esp since it’s a mens cut) is that the upper straps hug the neck too much, and I think most men will have wider necks than mine.

  2. a.chu permalink
    June 28, 2009 6:17 pm

    as far concerns go, mine are the same as j’s.
    the body of the PFD was pretty wide for my torso, so the top outer edge is closer to my armpit and was occasionally scraped by my inner arm. it doesn’t help that there’s also a buckle in that location.
    the upper straps, while nicely wide and sturdy, are really close together at the top and rested along the sides of my neck… chafing potential if i’d used it for an extended period of time, and i’m sure my neck’s one of the narrower ones on this team.
    the sizing of the prototype was unclear, however, so i’m not sure how much my problems were due to the pfd being the wrong fit. it was a bit too big for me, which may explain the wideness but not the straps by the neck.

    i did like the flatter build of the PFD that makes it a lot less bulky in the front and back. and i prefer its center pocket design over side pockets because it’s more spacey, easy-access by both arms, and if filled won’t add too much side bulk.

    • paddlesports permalink*
      June 29, 2009 8:56 am

      from K1:

      basically my only issue with the new stohlquist are the straps; the outer edge of the strap chafes my shoulder. though the inner edges of the straps are narrower, i didn’t find this to be an issue; may be an issue for the wider-necked fellows on our team, and i believe this was a “men’s fit.” loved the body of the PFD. slimmer than the brik and allows more movement in the way of lean. didn’t see issues with the side buckles as previously mentioned by the other reviewers. and last: generally the more pockets there are on anything, the more girls will like it. =)

  3. lcheng permalink
    July 2, 2009 12:03 am

    I thought this was a big improvement over my previous vest, a first generation extrasport rodeo kayak vest. As I’m in the market for an updated PFD, count me as a target consumer. A couple of notes:

    I was not bothered by the width; it seemed to fit me fine. I’m a guy and am slightly wider in the chest. The sides wrapped comfortably close to my ribs. I prefer a much thinner padding in the front than one that projects too far off the chest; the foam thickness in front has a tendency to interfere with body movement – in this case, I was not bothered by the thickness of the demo vest. The back padding of the vest seemed to ride much closer to the top of of my back (compared to my previous vest), and this was not an issue with me. While the straps are thicker, I thought it was comfortable, especially during static fitting.

    As the range of rotation movement in the dragonboat stroke is pretty broad, there is some tendency, at times, for the body to move inside or against the vest. This occurs even with all the strap adjustments are pretty secure and snug. When the vest moves with the chest, rotation in the trunk causes some chafing along the bottom edge of the vest. While not completely obtrusive, it might be even better if the bottom was brought up slightly.

    Pockets good. More pockets, cool. Any more than what’s on the demo? Overkill. As for zippers, I’ve had issues of zipper abrasion in my old vest during some spirited paddling, where with full rotation, the vest and zipper would scrape against my forward-braced thigh. Didn’t appear to be a big issue in the new Stohlquist, but in general, recommend that any abrasive elements are moved away/upward/or concealed.

    OVERALL, a big improvement over my existing PFD. While satisfied with all the features, I was not particularly amazed or astounded by it. The criteria for that amazement would ultimately be found in a PFD that allowed for the unrestricted movement of not wearing one at all! The new Stohlquist isn’t quite there IMO.

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