Dawid and Nikki Mocke, the founders of MOCKE Paddling, are world champion paddlers from Fish Hoek, South Africa. Their athletic careers began on the beach and in the surf as “Nipper” lifesavers, and progressed until they had the opportunity to represent South Africa in Ocean Lifesaving competitions around the world. During this time they also competed in flat-water marathon, river marathon and flat-water sprint paddling, as well as open ocean surf ski racing and have enjoyed success at the highest levels of international competition.
In 2006, Dawid designed a PFD that would meet South African safety requirements, yet retain his desired performance attributes. Initially unsure of what to call it, the “MOCKE” brand was born. The MOCKE Racer PFD is the contemporary rendition of Dawid’s efforts to provide paddlers with a comfortable, performance driven product with real-world, practical applications.
Description of the MOCKE Racer PFD
- Slip on, vest-style PFD with a unique body moulding buoyancy system comprised of 15 individual flotation pads
- Quick drying mesh shell
- Six adjustment points
- Front and back utility pockets (Rear pocket is designed to hold a hydration bladder)
- High visibility color along with six reflective bars on the shoulder straps
- ISO, ICF and NRCS approved
- Sizes: S/M, M/L and XL
- Weight: Approximately 1.7 lbs (771 g)
SUP Examiner’s Take
We had the unique opportunity to be among the first to test the MOCKE Racer PFD and assess its applicability for SUP. Based on our trials, we found it to be a comfortable, performance-driven piece of gear which can greatly enhance a paddler’s safety without compromising your enjoyment of stand up paddling. Simply stated, this is a vest style PFD which you can stand up paddle in.
The PFD is extremely easy to take on and off by slipping it over your head. We found the six adjustment points to be fantastic for fine tuning the fit in all the right places. The shoulder straps are approximately twice the width of the side straps which provides a comfortable, secure fit without digging into your body. In fact, when wearing the MOCKE Racer PFD, we found the gear fit best when the shoulder straps were left a bit loose to accommodate the shoulder motion of the stand up paddling stroke. Don’t worry, the straps are shaped in a manner which makes it virtually impossible for them to slide off, even when worn loose.
Along the sides, the MOCKE Racer PFD has four additional adjustment points – two per side. This is where you can cinch down a bit more to secure the PFD and prevent it from slipping side to side during use. One of the great aspects of the design of the straps on this PFD are the small pockets where you can tuck in the excess length of strap to prevent it from flapping around. The straps are each secured internally, so there is literally nothing which can come apart.
The front and rear utility pockets are a great feature. We used a MOCKE hydration bladder in the rear pocket. The six reflective bars on the shoulder straps have the dual purpose of enhancing visibility and serve as loops through which the drink tube of your hydration bladder can be threaded. The front pocket is essentially a large pouch and can hold pretty much whatever you might need to carry with you while paddling. In most cases, this is probably a cell phone, whistle and food. Both pockets are equipped with a small loop that works well for securing items on a lanyard. To accommodate the potential for extra items in the front, there is an additional generously sized gear loop above the front pocket.
On to the floatation properties of the PFD. After all, this is a floatation device and not just a handy vest for carrying small items. The 15 individual floatation pads in the MOCKE Racer PFD naturally conform to your body’s shape. This enables a high degree of comfort – you will not realize you are wearing a PFD – and enables a complete range of motion for stand up paddling. Together with the use of mesh material, this PFD is highly breathable and does not trap heat against your body. Another aspect which keeps the MOCKE Racer PFD cool is the absence of any side panels. Just a front and back.
We tested this PFD in a wide range of conditions from flat water paddling inside a marina to open water and even some rough water conditions in the Pacific Ocean. One of the first things we did with it was to jump off our board into the water – and float! The PFD will give you the additional piece of mind that you are safe on the water without restricting your ability to paddle. The 15 floatation pads can also double as an impact vest and will protect your chest and back from any abrupt encounters with your board. We found wearing it was particularly useful when practicing beach starts and finishes through the surf zone in rough conditions and when paddling in the open ocean where visibility is important not only in times of distress, but also while paddling.
Overall, we think this is a great product that fits a much needed role as the equipment needs of stand up paddlers keeps pace with the continued growth of the world’s fastest growing water sport.
Always read the label on your PFD for a list of complete operating instructions. Rules and regulations governing the use of PFDs may vary from country to country. Always consult local regulations to verify compliance. Wearing a PFD while stand up paddling is not a substitute for knowing how to swim. Learn the local conditions and your own limitations before entering the water.
Disclosure: Mocke provided SUP Examiner with a sample of this product, however, the opinions expressed are our own.