Ocean Paddler Ultra PFD Product Review

Ocean Paddler PFDI was fortunate enough to receive one of the new Ocean Paddler Ultra PFDs last week.  I’ve been hearing and reading great reviews on this product and was excited to try a new PFD specifically for surf ski paddling.  After ripping the box open and walking around the house in the PFD, then chasing the dogs around the backyard filled with the hydration bladder filled (it does really fit 2 liters in the hydration bladder!), I decided it passed the dry land marks and have put it to test over the last week of paddling.
Description:  The Ocean Paddler Ultra PFD is a paddlesports PDF designed by 9 time Molokai Champion Dean Gardiner. Designed for purpose and comfort, the Ultra has adjustable shoulder and waist straps for unrestricted rotation as well as a rear pouch for hands free hydration. The Ultra PFD also provides large neck and arm areas that won’t inhibit stroke or rotation. Constructed in yellow and blue nylon polyester, the Ultra provides paddlers good visibility on open ocean and in high traffic areas alike.


  •     Adjustable shoulder & waist straps
  •     Rear pouch holds hydration bladders up to 2 Liters (bladder not included)
  •     Front zip pocket
  •     Yellow & Blue Nylon Polyester
  •     Australian standard AS4758 (Type 2 rating equivalent)
  •     Available in S-XL

 What I like about the Ultra:

Front View- Ocean Paddler Ultra

Front View- Ocean Paddler Ultra

Back View - Ocean Paddler Ultra

Back View - Ocean Paddler Ultra

It fits great! 

Hard to believe it, but feels like less bulk and a better paddling cut than any other PFD I’ve tried.  I even pulled out a couple of my old ‘almost guaranteed not to float’ slalom racing PFD’s and the Ultra’s cut felt better.

Superior construction/attention to detail

Well stitched, strong straps and buckles, very adjustable. Definitely made to last.

  • Front zip pocket has outer and inter D rings for attaching keys and other items you don’t want to lose in the water
  • Hydration pouch has mesh lining at bottom to allow for drainage and ensure you’re not carrying any extra water weight.

Detail: Bottom Mesh Panel on Hydration Pouch

Detail: Inner and Outer D Rings

It floats!!

  I guess a good quality of any PFD.  I went through the mother of all eelgrass gardens the other day and ended up jumping off my boat to untangle. I’m use to floating about two feet under the surface with no PFD on, so I enjoyed floating nice & high and did not notice any ‘bulk factor’ as I jumped back on the ski.

Best paddling hydration pouch I’ve tried. 

Side View with Hydration Pouch (Not Included)

Side View with Hydration Pouch (Not Included)

Back View with Hydration Bladder (Not Included)

Back View with Hydration Bladder (Not Included)

Easily fits up to two liter while sitting comfortably and securely and not flopping around while paddling.

Hydration tube can easily be threaded over your shoulder for hands free, worry free hydration.

Ocean Paddlesports received ten PFD’s in every size for the initial order.  More Ocean Paddler PFD’s are on the way seeing these are going fast, but don’t delay jumping on this initial order if you’ve been waiting a new surfski PFD.  I will have the demo PFD at the Wednesday race and feel free to order directly from OPS at surfskinorthwest.com and oceanpaddlesports.com.


Posted on June 27, 2011, in Surfski Product Review & Info and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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