Blue Soup, the British water sport safety products manufacturer, has launched its latest inflation vest.
Ideal for kayakers, the UN Vest features a lifesaving inflation system within a comfortable, lightweight outer layer, to a design influenced by some of the world’s biggest names in water sports.
At just under 1kg, the hand-assembled UN Vest is designed to be worn under a wetsuit without adding unnecessary weight or unwelcome bulk.
The lightweight four-way stretch material feels comfortable next to the skin or can be worn over an impact vest, and inflates within seconds when activated in an emergency, propelling the wearer to the surface and into the all-important ‘head back’ position.
The UN Vest is the latest in a series of safety products set to be launched by Blue Soup and is an alternative to the innovative UP Vest, which is worn over a wetsuit and was launched in 2017.
The UN Vest utilises the same lifesaving inflation technology but the vest has been designed to fit snug to the body under a wetsuit, providing wearers with the option of either style depending on their preference.
The UP Vest is credited with saving the lives of numerous watermen including tow-in surfer Eric Akiskalian, international windsurfer Dany Bruch and British surf legend Andrew Cotton.
Established in 2017, Blue Soup is a homegrown 100% British success story competing on a global stage alongside established brands in the water sports sector. Over the last four years, the Blue Soup Equipment team has built the business from its base in West Berkshire, bringing together design and manufacturing expertise from across the UK to develop a market-leading product which has taken the water sports world by storm.
The safety vests comprise two elements, the inflation mechanism and the customisable outer garment. World-leading life jacket manufacturer SeaSafe Systems, based in Cowes on the Isle of Wight, makes the inflation system designed and tested to the firm’s exacting standards. While the fully-customisable outer vest is made by premium sportswear maker Edward Taylor Textiles in Blackburn, Lancashire.
The British heritage of the product is an important part of the brand’s identity, ensuring the provenance of materials and standards of manufacture are maintained says Mark, a former Royal Marine who developed the product.
Mark said: “Working with expert UK partners gives us a fully traceable supply chain which is key to our accountability. We can be confident in the quality of the product at every stage of its manufacture, which is vital considering the products’ responsibility for preserving life.
“The integrity of the product is fundamental to the company. It was born from the insights of some of the world’s greatest surfers, and the realisation there were technical improvements we could make while also bringing down the price point to a level that would make the vest accessible to more than just the top professionals with big sponsorship deals.
“The continued input of our customers, who include some of the biggest names in water sports, has been integral to the development of the product range. Their enthusiasm to road-test the products and their brutally honest feedback helps us continue refining the products and ensure the designs stay relevant.
“Now surfers and water sports athletes of all abilities wear Blue Soup vests all over the world, which is a source of enormous pride for the team.”
Mark is, unsurprisingly, passionate about water safety and works with Blue Soup brand ambassadors whose opinions align, such as eight-times world record holder Garrett McNamara and Eric Akiskalian, among others.
Mark said: “Our ambassadors’ approach to water safety has been instrumental in raising awareness of how crucial inflatable vests are and should be part of everyone’s safety gear. They’re the superstars of the sport and great role models, so it is amazing to have their support for the products.”
Crediting Blue Soup’s UP Vest with saving his life, Eric Akiskalian appreciates the company’s commitment to creating innovative solutions for surf safety. He said:
“As a big wave surfer constantly being challenged by the ocean and bad wipe outs, I have relied on my inflatable UP Vest on many occasions to bring me back to the surface. I would highly recommend Blue Soup which I feel is the best brand on the market.”
Surf pioneer and the ‘Father of Nazaré’, Garrett McNamara, added: “For us surfing is life, but it shouldn’t cost anyone their life. It’s obviously important to take sensible precautions with how we approach Big Waves, and that clearly includes our gear. The UP Vest has been an integral part of my kit for the last four years and it’s great to see the development of the UN Vest, giving surfers options in how they want to wear their safety equipment.”
The UN Vest is available direct from Blue Soup or resellers across the globe, with three colour options to choose from: Black & Cyan, Navy & Pink or Grey & Orange. It retails at £395 for the two-pull vest and £495 for the four-pull.
More Information on the Blue Soup Website.