Several big-wave surfers have been killed while attempting to conquer giant swells. Billabong's V1 wetsuit significantly reduces that risk. After a wipeout, the surfer pulls an attached ripcord, puncturing a carbon dioxide cartridge that inflates a bladder in the back of the suit.
The submerged surfer then rises to the water's surface in just a few seconds. Billabong teamed up with professional surfer Shane Dorian to develop the suit and commissioned a company that makes military survival gear to create the inflation system [see "Keeping Heads above Water"]. Price not set
I see a potentially serious design flaw in this item. What if the person pulled the ripcord, hit the bottom, and was knocked unconscious? This has happened to me on more than one occasion in the past surfing reefs. Wouldn't the flotation device being on the back make them float face down? For an unconscious person this would mean an almost certain drowning death.
I have a Body Glove wetsuit i bought about 15 years ago that has built in bladders. Mine inflated like a life preserver from the front, side, and back with a collar so I float face up.
I appreciate you sharing you real life experience. Good comments!
i would think the front would be better, but if you are unconscious you are dead without it, these big surf guys have lifeguards with jetskis to rescue them, unconscious or not, cheers
Well what if the reason you lost balance was because you hit a boulderin the middle of the water, than when you would float back up to surface level you have a chance of hitting your head on the boulder, knocking you out. What would you do then?