In this blog we delve into the comparison of two renowned canoe slalom 3-in-1 PFD/spraydeck/cag options: the Hiko Sport Jackpot and the Peak PS Racer ST.
First up, the Racer ST, a remarkable all-in-one piece combining a PFD, spraydeck, and cag, originally released in 2016. With around 30% of its flotation strategically positioned in the spraydeck, the Racer ST offers athletes less than 20mm of flotation foam in direct contact with their bodies.
Jackpot Combo/Redwood PFD
Hiko Sport’s Jackpot combo, the first version of which was released in 2017, is a two-piece garment made up of a Redwood PFD with external foam pillow and Zephyr or Black Mamba Combo cag deck. The Jackpot cagdeck has a special pocket made for the pillow of the PFD to be inserted into. The pocket on the spraydeck and the spraydeck itself are designed to compress the pillow of the Redwood PFD below the level of the deck when inserted. This pillow allows the part of the PFD worn on the body to be very thin and comfortable.
Pros and Cons
The key distinction between the Racer ST and the Jackpot designs lies in the integration of the PFD with the cagdeck. The Racer ST features a sewn/attached PFD onto the cagdeck, while the Jackpot keeps them separate. This aspect provides an advantage to the Jackpot as it allows for separate decks, making it convenient for those doubling up in K1 and C1.
Instead of purchasing a whole new Racer ST, opting for the Jackpot enables you to buy a new cagdeck and pair it with your Redwood PFD for the specific boat you’ll be paddling. Moreover, the Jackpot combo offers flexibility in choosing different spraydeck types, as well as long sleeve or short sleeve cagdecks. This option proves to be the most cost-effective when purchasing multiple cagdecks.
However, with the majority of contemporary C1 designs from Galasport and Vajda already featuring K1 cockpits, the necessity of owning two types of spraydeck has become largely obsolete. If you happen to own a slightly older C1 with a rounded cockpit style and participate in kayak racing as well, the Jackpot could be a viable option to consider.
When it comes to features, both the Racer ST and Jackpot combo offer adjustable side straps for a secure fit. The Redwood PFD includes an elasticated middle strap for enhanced range of movement, while both designs ensure easy and secure strap adjustments. The Racer ST features adjustable shoulder straps, although they may take some time to get used to, once adjusted to the individual paddler, they provide a perfect fit. On the other hand, the Redwood PFD boasts flexible neoprene shoulders, offering exceptional comfort and freedom of movement when maneuvering through the course.
Both garments are designed to be sleek, minimizing the risk of touching a pole during the course. While the PFD attachment methods differ, I have found no noticeable difference in fit and performance between the two designs during training and racing. It is evident that both designs are slim, compact, and significantly less bulky compared to using a standard cagdeck and separate buoyancy aid.
Ultimately, the choice of which garment to invest in is yours. We invite you to visit our shop and try on each one to determine which will give you the competitive edge in your slalom paddling!
The Peak PS Racer ST is currently available in a 2022 version that is ICF registered, it comes in a variety of colours (or you can get a custom design of your choice), short or long sleeve and in different deck sizes:
- C1 for traditional C1 cockpits
- K1 for all kayak cockpits
- C0 for Vajda Demon 3, Lady Hype and One
- MM for all Vajda MM designs
The Hiko Sport Jackpot is currently available in several colours, in short or long sleeve and with K1/C1s spraydecks.
- Jackpot Zephyr Cagdeck (available with C1/K1 decks and short/long sleeve) – Zephyr cagdeck with pocket for Hiko Redwood PFD foam pillow
- Black Mamba Combo (available with C1/K1 decks and short or long sleeve) – this option has the panels under the arms and the back panel constructed from Carboflex Quatro – this is a 4-way stretch version of the light Carboflex used on Zephyr tops and allows the paddler to move as freely as possible.
Hiko Sport Jackpot ICF Rules:
Jackpot Original 14502: released in 2017, it is the first version of the Jackpot. The ICF does not qualify it for use in 2023 competitions.
Jackpot Slim Shift 14502: released in 2020, it is a slimmer (foam on chest is 7mm thinner) version of the original Jackpot. The ICF does not certify it for use in any competitions.
Jackpot Redwood 14503: Released 2021, distribution of the foam is the most effective since the beginning of the Jackpot product line. This is certified to be used by competitors in 2023 races by the ICF.
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