astral seawolf

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Grian
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astral seawolf

Post by Grian » Tue Apr 25, 2017 9:06 am

Can anyone advise please, is the clamshell front pocket any more of a hinderance to getting onto the back deck than normal pockets, and does the pocket work well for vhf and plb?

I tried one on and it feels so light, and slightly odd as not compressive at all, but I feel uncertain whether the bottom section would ride up when in the water, as there is no material above it to prevent that happening, do users cinch it extra tight?

TheEcho
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Re: astral seawolf

Post by TheEcho » Tue Apr 25, 2017 10:14 am

I have one and the radio goes into the big pocket. Can't comment on how it compares to other pocketed buoyancy aids as I upgraded from a basic version without a pocket. The clamshell is bulky but nice and smooth to slide over the deck.

I tried on all the buoyancy aids in the shop and the seawolf (and its WW variants) was the only one that didn't ride up. I got my partner to pick me up by the top straps and see if the buoyancy aid shifted. The reason the seawolf doesn't is that I have decent sized breasts and the bottom part of the buoyancy aid will not pass over them. A single piece design will slide a little over the breasts and upwards because it isn't possible to tighten the waist area enough without infeasibly squeezing the chest. The shopkeeper told me that the two piece design is "always popular with the laydeeez" - apparently the MsFit works the same way but he didn't have one in stock to try.

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Grian
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Re: astral seawolf

Post by Grian » Tue Apr 25, 2017 10:22 am

Thank you. As a laydee myself I am now reassured that I shouldn't slide out of it. So looking forward to not being infeasibly squeezed the whole time!

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Jim
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Re: astral seawolf

Post by Jim » Tue Apr 25, 2017 9:42 pm

I couldn't say regarding re-entry, I still haven't found a reason to fall out of my sea kayak yet.

My VHF (Icom M31) fits OK in the pocket but I have to be careful where I clip it in, the aerial is just long enough to go up my hooter in some situations - a set with a shorter aerial would be fine.

I really like the design, you can lengthen or shorten the front part (not the back) which means that when I am paddling canoe and have more of my torso unemcumbered I can lengthen the front and spread the buoyancy around so it feels less bulky (useful for cross deck strokes in WW canoes). Also the generation I have comes with all the belt loops to retro-fit a chest harness if you want to use it for river running too, the only thing it is missing is lash tabs for a river knife, but I prefer to keep my knife in my pocket anyway.

I have also made quite a bit of use of the pocket for a hydration pouch - just slip a camelback bladder in there, thread the hose through the loops provided and no more mucking about with water bottles.

I can't remember if it rides up when swimming - I have used it a lot in WW canoe and I swim a lot from them, including in the big volume rapids of the grand canyon (hydration pouch was perfect there!) and I certainly don't remember worrying about the BA. Come to think of it, almost every time I was hauled onto a raft by my BA so it must have stayed down just fine.

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Pipit
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Re: astral seawolf

Post by Pipit » Tue Apr 25, 2017 9:57 pm

I'd be interested to hear how you get on with it, if you decide to get it. Are you looking at the upgraded Astral Blue as well?
I think I must have tried on virtually every PFD I could lay my hands on at the time, and the only one which just felt so right the second I put it on was the Palm Kaikoura. The downside is it does seem to weighs a lot - about 1200g, and has too much up front for my liking. Once loaded up with the normal "stuff" and a small ditch kit in the rear bladder pocket, I sometimes feel like I'm wearing a heavy flack jacket. I could do with some weight and profile downsizing, but can't stand uncomfortable.

sleepyfolk
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Re: astral seawolf

Post by sleepyfolk » Tue Apr 25, 2017 11:33 pm

Probably should keep my nose out as it's not about the Astral but I bought one of these https://www.wetsuitoutlet.co.uk/2017-ya ... 14275.html which has hidden adjustable belts inside that give a great fit, being devoid of large breasts I have found these to be sufficient to stop the PFD riding up, I see no reason to fall out of my sea kayak either but god has different ideas, it must be his fault - it can't possibly be mine! It also has bladder pouch at the back and pocket either side of the front for radio on the left and PLB or whatever on the right.

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Grian
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Re: astral seawolf

Post by Grian » Wed Apr 26, 2017 8:09 am

Thanks folks. Am undecided... it is so amazingly light, Pipit you might really like it on that basis, it feels like your wearing nothing! The only remaining concern after input here is that the big front pocket may be a hinderance to my already feeble capacity to get on the back deck (def smooth profile to slide across once I'm there though).

https://www.escape-watersports.co.uk have big reductions on a number of PFDs if anyone is looking.

Am also considering the kokatat sea02, low profile, plenty buoyancy when you need it.

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GrahamC
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Re: astral seawolf

Post by GrahamC » Wed Apr 26, 2017 4:19 pm

I have an Astral Sea Wolf and love it. I bought it specifically as it allowed easier climbing into boats (sailing canoes and sea kayaks) than my previous Palm Kaikoura. The palm caught on all sorts whereas the Seawolf is smooth fronted. I carry a small folding rescue knife, a vhf, clipped inside the seawolf with the antenna sticking out (it has two zips around the pocket so you can choose where they meet) and a few other small oddments. There are two small zipped pockets at the side and I have modified one to have a clip in it and I tie my PLB (Ocean Signal RescueMe) to the clip in and store it in this pocket. I really don't like the idea of stuffing BAs with too much stuff. When you open the pocket it folds down with everything nicely laid out in front.

Before the seawolf I also had an Astral Willis, which is basically the Seawolf without the pockets. This was recommended to me when I was kayak racing as it allowed a lot of freedom to develop a proper forward paddling stroke with good rotation - you almost don't realise you have BA on. I think the Seawolf is a step up again and gives a real sense of freedom when paddling.

Graham
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Grian
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Re: astral seawolf

Post by Grian » Wed Apr 26, 2017 4:39 pm

Thanks Graham. So in your experience clearly no disadvantage to re-entry... Obviously I ought to improve my jumping on technique, other people are like penguins onto an ice shelf so it can't be that hard. Partner helpfully says it is the same as getting out of a swimming pool, but I have always used the steps!

Allan Olesen
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Re: astral seawolf

Post by Allan Olesen » Thu Apr 27, 2017 10:36 pm

I have owned an Astral Seawolf for two years now.

Most other wests tend to ride up when I am swimming. The Seawolf doesn't. And I am a male, so I hope it is not because of the size of my breasts...

The freedom when paddling is amazing. When I bought it, I sat down in a kayak ergometer in our training room while I was wearing my drysuit, and then I tried paddling with a Seawolf and a Kaikoura. The difference was very large. When I rotated my upper body in the paddle strokes, I could feel the resistance from the Kaikoura, but the Seawolf let me paddle without any resistance.

Only problem with the free movement is that I get a lot of comments for my upper body rotation which people think is missing because they do not see my west rotating. That is because my upper body rotates inside the west - a consequence of Astral's two-piece design.

I have a rather bulky VHF (Icom M-91D) in the front pocket. I have to place the VHF diagonally which means that it more or less eats up all space in the pocket. A slightly shorter VHF would be better for this west.

The Seawolf does hinder my paddle float reentry somewhat. It is easier for me to reenter the kayak wearing one of the club's cheap, pocket-less wests. I have never tried a reentry in another west with large pockets so I can't really compare that.

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Jim
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Re: astral seawolf

Post by Jim » Fri Apr 28, 2017 12:12 pm

If re-entry is your prime concern, forget pockets altogether and get a racing BA, I really like my Sandiline one and recently ended up with a PeakUK custom racer in club colours which is also pretty low profile and fits much better than their polo BAs. If you want ultra low profile look at the PeakUK Racer ST - it is a cagdeck with inbuilt buoyancy spread really thinly all around to maximise freedom of movement, and of course meets the ISO standard because it needs to to be permitted in racing. I don't know if you can get them attached to a sea kayak spraydeck, I think they are all custom so it may be possible.

If you want a pocket, I think the profile of the Seawolf clamshell is going to be better for re-entry than any other BA pocket I can think of - it is so streamlined, most are just bulky with a step along the top edge.

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Grian
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Re: astral seawolf

Post by Grian » Fri Apr 28, 2017 2:09 pm

I would like to be able to carry VHF and PLB so some pocketage is required, otherwise I'd be happy to go without. The racerST looks great - I was pondering the other night why buoyancy couldn't be built in to the drysuit itself.

I tried the Astral again and am still amazed by it's lightness and minimalism, I'm not surprised it made a big difference to paddling and I'd love to actually try it on the water, I tend to feel quite claustrophobic in my Reed.

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Grian
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Re: astral seawolf

Post by Grian » Tue May 09, 2017 8:55 am

So glad I hadn't reached a decision, discovered Astral have a model made specially comfortable for laydees...
Our founder introduced this style of PFD almost 20 years ago, and we’ve found that no other design conforms to a curvy woman’s body better. The hinged princess seams, boob cups, and super soft organic kapok create a special fit that women crave.
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Fabulous! :)

Seriously though, sounds thoughtfully designed...
Inside are sculpted, hollowed-out cups, making the jacket thinnest around the breasts. Between and below those molded cups, the Layla is filled with a unique buoyancy material called kapok that conforms to the body’s curves. “These areas are typically bridged by a flat sheet of stiff foam,” says Curry.

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