Expert Eye: Andrew Cotton on Patagonia's Portable Self-Inflation Vest

Expert Eye: Andrew Cotton on Patagonia's Portable Self-Inflation Vest

This vest is a complete game changer. Not only does it change everything physically, but psychologically it changes everything too.’  – Andrew Cotton

As big wave surfers go to extreme lengths to ride the most monstrous waves on the planet, that ‘Unridden Realm’ of unsurfable waters seems to be getting smaller by the day. Going head to head with one of Nature’s most powerful forces means it’s not always the surfer that comes out on top. Just last year we saw one of the world’s most experienced big wave surfers, Maya Gabeira, fall to the notorious waves of Nazaré. The Brazilian standout was left with a broken arm after needing resuscitation on the beach.
Patagonia have just seriously stepped things up when it comes to big wave surfing. Their research and development division have engineered a portable self-inflation vest which is designed to help surfers in the most critical conditions.

Patagonia’s portable self-inflation vest (PSI) fits under the wetsuit and rapidly inflates at the pull of a cord, taking disorientated and exhausted surfers to the surface of the water. The vest also features a release valve for quick deflation allowing a surfer to dive beneath a wave. The low profile vest can be inflated multiple times and is made to fit under a variety of wetsuits without restricting movement.
Patagonia have kindly supplied a handful of big wave surfers with a PSI vest to really put it through its paces, and in that handful lies Andrew Cotton. Just in case you missed the hype, Cotty joined us at our Surf Old St pop-up store last week for an exclusive chat – and he showed off the vest like an absolute pro.
 A few thoughts from the man himself…
At first I thought there’s no way I’m going to put this under my wetsuit, the suit isn’t going to expand. So I tried it under my 6/4 suit and it just blew up like a balloon. This is changing big wave surfing. It gives you confidence, especially when you’re going hard and you don’t want to be wearing loads of floatation. You want to be able to use it when you need it and this is something that’s so simple and effective. You can have the worst wipeout, come up and have to face another wave, but this vest will just deflate letting you sink underneath. This vest is a complete game changer.’ – Andrew Cotton

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