RE: the whole life jacket thing
- floatation vest combined with impact vest! (helps with waterstarts too)
- helmet, face protection advisable too
- neoprene too, UV, protects against fin cuts, board scrapes etc.
in sub survival conditions with a wee bit of bad luck you can crack your rib during a catapult (I cracked one of mine last weekend winds gusting 4-9BF impact vest is the next thing on my shopping list). Have the mast land on your head as well and your mom will be really happy.