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Submitted: 05-03-2013 by Marcus
I paddle a canoe 99% of the time, intermediate skill level, mostly flat water cruising and racing. I was looking for a PFD that was extremely comfortable and functional (stays out of the way). In the past I haven't worn my PFD much because it encumbered my paddling stroke, was uncomfortable, or was too hot. Over the winter I bought a new boat and wanted to be safe in cold water, so I needed a PFD I could wear for long periods of time. The Ninja was my answer.
I'm very glad I went with the Ninja. This is the most comfortable PFD I've ever worn. The radical triangular shape is perfect for a canoe stroke. My top arm never rubs on the vest due to the triangular shape, and it sits lower on your chest than most other PFDs, which provides more clearance. The vest does not interfere with my stroke at all! In the past I normally just have a PFD in the boat to comply with DNR rules, but the Ninja is so comfortable I will actually wear this regularly. The build quality seems to be good (only had it 2 months as of now), the fit is superb, functionally it is the best canoeing PFD Ive ever tried on.
I was debating between the Ninja and the Stohlquist Rocker. I tried them on, and both are very comfortable. The Ninja seems to be better suited for canoes/open boats while the Rocker seems more geared towards Kayaks/skirted boats. The Ninja sits relatively close to your hips so it would most likely interfere with a seat back in a Kayak. The Ninja is more designed for canoes or boats that the seat does not come up your back more than a few inches.
Ninja is THE pfd to have for canoeing/open boats. I'm going to buy one for my better half. Overall I highly recommend this to anyone who wants a comfortable PFD. This is a must for any racer
The only (tiny) drawback is that there is very minimal storage (1 small front pocket; only enough space for a whistle, mirror, and car keys or a Cliff bar) but I don't carry much stuff in my vest so this wasn't an issue for me. It may be for some fisherman or kayakers. If you have a kayak, possibly look more towards the Rocker due to the fact that it sits higher up on your chest and will clear the seat/skirt.
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