I did crunches, sit-ups, V-ups, bicycles, and still, no dark side 6-pack. But finally, with the help of Body Glove, I have what always wanted: Darth Vader Abs.
The Body Glove Chest Wedge Paddle Vest
The goal of this odd looking neoprene vest is to use a custom eva chest mold to elevate your torso while prone paddleboarding to relieves lower back and neck tension and to protect your lower ribs. It nails it. I was noticeably more comfortable paddling. If anything, I noticed a little more soreness upper back perhaps from using different muscle groups at that different angle, like going from a chest press to a slight incline.
I didn’t think I had lower back issues in the past while paddling prone, but noticing how good my back felt after a 5-mile paddle made me start to think that maybe I was a little more uncomfortable than I had thought. I also felt like I could do more miles, probably because I was so much more comfortable. Special thanks to Carolina Paddleboard Company for turning me on to this vest.
- 1mm FGX A neoprene
- Waistband drawcord
- 1mm FGX A and Flex throughout
I am 175 and 5’10” in heels. The L/XL was big on me. When I paddled on my stomach, the neoprene opened up in the gaps by my shoulders. I would err on the smaller side. I would buy a medium/Large for myself.
How it could be improved
The first thing is some kind of pocket for a gel, keys, flask, whatever. If you look at bicycling shirts, they usually have the pockets in the back where they won’t interfere with pedaling. That would work great for this. And if you are going to put it on the back, please make the opening at a slight angle so when you reach around with normal human arms, you don’t have to be a contortionist to get your hand in the pocket. For some reason, they like to make those kinds of pockets difficult to access. You can change this Body Glove!
Second, make a rash guard version. I kept thinking, what happens when it gets really warm? I want to use this in the summer. How do I get this chest mold in a rash guard or compression shirt? For water under 68 degrees, this is perfect. For water over that, just like any neoprene vest, it might get warm.
This is really comfortable. The neoprene is soft and even the more rigid chest mold is comfortable when you lay on it and move around. As with any neoprene vest, you might want to use an anti-chafe product like BodyGlide around your neck or sleeves. I didn’t have issues with this, but I know from experience that some people will get a hot spot from repeated movement. The other thing is it is tough to get off, but not impossible and not more difficult than many other suits. It just takes that wetsuit wiggle dance thing and maybe a hand from a paddle buddy.
$89.95, and worth it.
This definitely gets 4/5 mullets. If you are bothered by lower back strain when you paddle or are worried about it, this is a great option.
Where to buy it:
Carolina Paddleboard Company (they ship)