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Industry Updates

Hyde Launches Kickstarter Campaign for the Wingman Life Vest

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 21 July, 2015 - Milwaukee - Hyde, the Milwaukee based water sports apparel and equipment manufacturer, has launched a Kickstarter campaign for the Wingman inflatable life jacket.

The Wingman is the first and only life jacket sleek enough for swimmers and surfers while still providing endless optional features like hydration packs, waist packs, and chest packs for paddlers and boaters/ The Wingman was created in response to an accidental triathlon drowning in 2012 during founder Pat Hughes’ first triathlon. 

“Minimalism and comfort were our first priority; we wanted to create the thinnest life jacket possible so that triathletes and surfers could actually wear it in the water” Hughes says, “Once we achieved this, we took it a step further by adding optional features for paddlers, fishermen, and boaters.  The Wingman can be used in an endless array of configurations and users can optimize it for whatever activity they are doing that day.  Existing life jackets are so uncomfortable and limiting, and yet everyone has to wear them; we wanted to rethink the product category and give consumers an innovative option instead of the same old tired designs.”

The Wingman features a number of Hyde’s patented innovations that set it apart from other life jackets including the Triple Bursting Zipper technology and CO2 mounting plate.  The Wingman strikes the perfect balance between minimalism and versatility; it can be a high performance big wave surf vest in the morning and a fully loaded expedition paddle vest in the afternoon.  It is constructed using high quality neoprene and nylon, and reinforced with a webbing skeleton for unbeatable strength and durability.

With the Wingman, water sports enthusiasts finally get the safety of a life jacket without the bulk and discomfort.  The optional features open the door for a new era of life jacket that can do more; the Wingman can not only save your life, but also carry your water, food, cameras, phones, and whatever else you can think of without getting in the way.

“We need the support of the water sports community to make this product become a reality,” explains the team, “We have been designing and testing the Wingman for the past 2 years and are ready to bring it to market, however, we need $60,000 in pre-orders to complete our US Coast Guard testing and pay for an initial order.”

In exchange for pledging to the project, backers can be the first to receive a Wingman for only $150 ($75 off the retail price).

Check out the Kickstarter campaign and video here

Pat Hughes

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