Quiksilver Front Zip Paddle Jacket Review
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Temperature regulation becomes tricky when you go out for a paddle. Not only am I considering the weather, but I have to consider what am I doing on the water. Am I just paddling, or am I going to surf a few waves too? If I’m only surfing than I’m usually putting on my 4/3 wetsuit. Even in the summer the water in Ventura isn’t exactly tropical, though many days I can get away with short and 2mm rash guard. If I’m paddling, I can often just use shorts, a shirt and hat. Except if I’m going out early or later, then I need an extra layer and likely some wind protection as well. If I’m mixing it up, that’s when things get really hard. I’ll be too hot to paddle around in a 4/3 suit, but I’ll be freezing when I dump it surfing if I’m just in shorts. The best answer to this dilemma, and I know you’re all heart-broken for me, is the Front Zip Paddle Jacket from Quiksilver.
A mix of outer protection and inner warmth, the Paddle Jacket is pretty simple. It starts with a nylon and spandex fabric, then laminates the chest and upper arms with PolyUrethane for extra warmth against the wind and water. The low neck line keeps you from getting rubbed raw as well. In back there are two envelope style pockets just the right size for an MP3 player, keys or nutrition.
On the water, this piece does a great job of fighting off not just the spray, but the wind that often kicks up. The inner fleece gives just enough warmth and insulation without being bulky. The cut is fairly tight, and there is minimal fabric flapping around. The arms are especially narrow, but the length is perfect. All of the materials move with you as you paddle, I experienced no binding or tightness.
One aspect I was surprised at was how well it kept water out when I dumped it. I used the jacket during a few surf sessions and every time I came off the bottom of the jacket kept loads of water from coming into the jacket from beneath. I was surprised at this given there is no draw chord or bungee along the hem. This makes this piece even more versatile since you can wear it no matter what you decide to do in the water.
The two pockets are convenient and surprisingly secure. During a few surf sessions I brought a small hydration flask (no, not a real flask, a HydraFlask from HydrPak) and tucked it in the pocket. Even on some bigger wipe outs the HydraFlask stayed in the pocket. I wouldn’t use it for keys or valuables, but it does make it easy to carry smaller items.
The versatility of the SUP Paddle Jacket from Quiksilver is impressive and makes it super functional. No matter if it’s just a cruisy paddle in the harbor, a surf session or a mix, this jacket can handle it all.