Most anyone that can swim can handle a float across the pool without significant risk of drowning, but being out on a large, open body of water like the ocean or a lake brings dangers to even the surest swimmer. While a personal flotation device (PFD) is a simple solution that will keep you afloat, it can be restricting and cumbersome to wear, making it uncomfortable for athletic activities like surfing or kiteboarding. The Restube gives you some of the life-saving power of a traditional flotation device without the unwanted bulk and discomfort.
The Restube reminds us a lot of the Rotauf MRK5, only instead of helping you in avalanches, it's designed to help you in water. According to its website, the device is the size of a mobile phone (looks like maybe a mobile phone from a few years back). You can strap it around your waist like a belt or lash it to a piece of equipment. If you find yourself in a situation where drowning is a risk, pull the trigger and the compressed air canister fills a flotation tube. Grab on, and you have an instant flotation device to keep you above water.
The Restube's bright yellow color should make it easy to spot by rescuers. You remain connected to the flotation device via a tether, so it won't float away. Thanks to the tether, you can also dive underneath oncoming waves. When back on land, the Restube deflates and rolls back up for future use.
The one downside of this system is that the tube is a straight bar and doesn't wrap around your body in any way. It requires you to hold onto it, which could be a problem if you're injured, exhausted or in particularly rough water.
Restube is a product of German company Kopfproduktion. Several different versions of the system will hit the market in April. The company will release pricing closer to launch but has indicated it will start below EUR100 (US$135).