Outdoors

Open-water swimming safety device snugs to the back when not needed

Open-water swimming safety dev...
The Tekrapod is presently on Kickstarter
The Tekrapod is presently on Kickstarter
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The Tekrapod snugs up against the wearer's back
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The Tekrapod snugs up against the wearer's back
Swimmers can rest on the Tekrapod's inflated bladder if needed
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Swimmers can rest on the Tekrapod's inflated bladder if needed
The Tekrapod is presently on Kickstarter
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The Tekrapod is presently on Kickstarter
The Tekrapod features adjustable elasticized straps
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The Tekrapod features adjustable elasticized straps
The Tekrapod backpack unit is made mainly of laminated neoprene
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The Tekrapod backpack unit is made mainly of laminated neoprene

When you see hardcore lake or ocean swimmers who are far from shore, you've gotta wonder – what happens if they get tired, or get a cramp? Well, there are flotation devices that they can use, although some of them are cumbersome. The Tekrapod, however, is designed not to be.

Currently, open-water swimmers sometimes tow an inflated buoy behind them, or they wear an inflatable device on an appendage such as a leg or arm. The user may get tangled in the tow cord of the former, though, while the latter can make them feel "asymmetrical" as they move through the water.

With these limitations in mind, Irish swimmer and engineer John Hanley created the Tekrapod.

Featuring a laminated neoprene body and adjustable elasticized straps, the streamlined device sits snugged up against the user's back. Should they get into trouble, they just stop and pull a red toggle at the bottom. Doing so releases a replaceable CO2 cartridge, which inflates an internal bladder that is pulled out of the backpack unit through a Velcro closure.

Swimmers can rest on the Tekrapod's inflated bladder if needed
Swimmers can rest on the Tekrapod's inflated bladder if needed

The swimmer then holds onto the floating bladder, which remains attached to the backpack via a tether. They can subsequently alert rescuers by blowing an attached whistle, or they can resume swimming, towing the bladder behind them. Once they get to shore, it can be deflated and stuffed back into the pack, along with a new CO2 cartridge.

For added safety, an optional waterproof LED strobe can be fitted to the top of the backpack unit, alerting boaters and other people to the swimmer's presence.

Should you be interested, the Tekrapod is currently the subject of a Kickstarter campaign. A pledge of €94 (about US$106) will get you one, when and if they reach production. The planned retail price is €135 ($152).

It's demonstrated in the video below.

Source: Kickstarter

Lia Activation Lake A

1 comment
Aleksandra Wladyczynska
I use a simple safety swimmer (retail price 25 euro). I never get tangled or feel asymmetrical. Besides safety, the buoy has also the function that people/boats notice you and you can easily take it with you're tired.