Palm Symbiant White Water Review

by Up and Under part-timer and outdoor instructor Jess Jordan.

After nearly 3 years of heavy use it was time for my trusty Yak Kurve to retire from any more serious water, so… new BA! The Symbiant White Water seemed to fit the bill perfectly. The 65N buoyancy, well above the industry requirement of 50N, gives that extra piece of mind on bigger water. The pocket, whilst being quite low profile whist empty, is big enough to hold tape, a few karabiners, whistle and knife easily. Another great feature of this BA is the ability to add a chest harness. This makes it a great choice for all levels of paddler as it doesn’t present an extra snag hazard for those who don’t need it or know how to use it yet means this piece of kit can be used on more technical water and in live bait situations when needed. It also has a cows tail park if you choose to add one keeping it cleanly out of the way. Palm use the same type of buckle as a chest harness on their cows tail parks, which isn’t my favourite design, although functional. Peak’s offering seems to be a simpler and just as effective design. In general I think this is a great BA as it will still be viable as you progress to more technical white stuff. Its clean lines and practicality make it a great all rounder and the palm straps are sown on to the side of the panel that is closest to your body so allows you to get a great fit without having to crank them in too tight. Also its really good value for money, particularly for a BA with chest harness capabilities!

For the Ladies: The Palm Equipment Symbiant white Water Buoyancy Aid is marketed as a unisex BA but in reality is a fit for men with a slightly cut away front panel, on this front it doesn’t do badly as I always find kayaking companies never quite get the right fit for women. However I have to wear this higher than men would generally to get a secure fit, not taking in women’s narrower waist it tends to ride up and become too loose if you don’t fit it higher to begin with (editors note: Jess is of a rather curvy nature). As its designed to be worn lower down it hasn’t been cut away at the front at the shoulders so means I notice it gets in the way slightly when stretching forward to put your deck on but that’s really the only time I notice it once its on. I had to go for the xs/s in order to get it to fit around the waist but at 5 ‘8 I would have preferred a s/m, however it only comes in xs/s, m/l and xl/xxl. Obviously I’m knit picking here and this problem wouldn’t exist for the guys.)

Written By Jess Jordan

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