Can't Forget Basics

I tried a new, to me, paddling place yesterday. I put in at a state park on a river a couple of miles from it’s mouth. The weather was fantastic, temps in the high eighties, wind 5-10, and beautiful. I took a very good look at the water and could not discern much current, there were no waves, no white caps, the surface was textured. I deceided to paddle across to an Island about a mile and a half away. I elected to forgo my skirt as the conditions looked great.

Great paddle across with great conditions. The wind picked up a bit and some small waves appeared. I deceided to paddle to a second Island about two miles down wind. I began surfing bit as the waves were picking up more, but was beginning to have more fun playing with the boat. I got to the second Island and deceided to turn around and retrace my path and head back to the state park. I quickly noted that the wind was blowing a steady 15-20 now and had set up 1-2 foot chop with occational white caps. Half way back to the first Island I had to turn around and head down wind again for the second Island. The waves I was heading into were comming over the bow and I was quickly filling the cockpit. I needed to put on my skirt and there was no way without landing.

After empting the water from the cockpit and putting on my spray skirt I started on the return. I got plenty of practice paddling in textured water as the waves were now three feet and lots of white caps. Mid way back from the first Island to the put in I had to cross the main boat channel. A couple of sport fisherman came by and set up particularly large wakes, the bow dove under the second wake each time and I was very glad to have the skirt. Then a tour boat, maybe eighty feet or so went by and I went over the largest set of waves/wakes I have ever experienced, interesting.

I have made a new personal rule. I will always wear my skirt when paddling larger waters, even if the water looks peaceful, and even if I don’t connect the skirt to the coaming.

happy paddling,


Yeah - just leave it open if hot/calm
I feel mine’s uneeded on lots of paddles - but it’s standard gear anyway.

Cape Fear River?
I have been wondering what kind of water conditions and what kind of boat traffic I’d have to deal with if I crossed from Oak Island over to Bald Head.

It was the Cape Fear. Nice paddle but the next time I do it Ill go with someone else and I do a better job in preparation.

Happy Paddling,


Wet Exit
If you had to do a wet exit and re-entry you’d have to put the skirt back on while in your kayak. It’s a basic skill to know.

never paddle far out into open water, no matter how calm it may appear, without the skirt. You many not noticed and offshore wind at the launch but once you get out and there’s enough open fetch, there could be well 1-3’ of steep chops.

A SINK can be very seaworthy but not much so when the waves are kicking and you don’t have a skirt on and ready.


He’s not talking about re-attaching it to the coaming. You have to do that just getting in/out. He wasn’t wearing it at all.

The minute I read your post…
before reading the others I knew that you had put in a Carolina Beach State Park and you were talking about the mouth of the Cape Fear River.(small world!)

That rip in the mouth can be bad a times.

Like most kayakers when I head out if it is calm I keep the skirt on my front or rear deck, but at the first sight of rough conditions I’ll shed the PFD, put the skirt on and the PFD back on.

After you do it a couple of times it only takes less than a minute, and you can do it out on the water without landing your yak

Many times I don’t even have the PFD on and have to do both.



Hi Jack
Yes, I guess that I learn a bit each time I go out. I was in the Cape Fear Saturday. I was down that way to watch a soccer game that my younger son was playing in. After the game I deceided that since I was so close I would go down to Carolina Beach and check it out as I had never been there before, (to the park I mean).

I practiced just what you indicated in your post yesterday at Topsail Sunday. I was able to connect up the skirt OK even in some sloppy water created at the tide line. So, I am good to go with one more thing learned. I dont use a paddle leash so I found that it was easier after first storing the paddle under the bungies up front.

Saltmarsh say they will not publish the Nov 5 race particulars until the first of Oct. Pring info out of one of the folks it sounds like the race will be completly inside and will be twice around Harbor Island which is six miles. There will be several classes to compete in, (I am ignorant of what the class designations mean at this point so it was all Greek to me). There is a fun race for rec boats which is half the distance. They are still considering a longer race that starts inside, then out the inlet, North to the fishing pier outside, then a return. I had a feeling some folks want this last race but it likely will not happen.

Happy Padding,


What boat were you using?

What boat were you using?

People are completely free to paddle the way they want but concider this.

I always paddle with a skirt even on flat water. The point is that edging, once learned, can become habit. If you always use a skirt, you never have to think about whether you can use edging or not.

In the boat I use, I get water in the cockpit when edging without a skirt.

NJ Yaker
You may be correct. My original post indicated that I was in the learning process, a beginner to be sure. Cutting turns is one of the basic techniques that I am still attempting to improve. So far, my QCC does not take on water as I am cutting into a turn. This could well be that I am not leaning the boat over as far as I am supposed to in order to get the effect that I want.

Good point in any case. There are several reasons to keep a skirt on and I was pointing out a basic safety lesson learned.


Always learning…

– Last Updated: Sep-19-05 3:34 PM EST –

Nothing wrong with being in a "learning process"! (My comments were not meant as a criticism.) I used your "introduction" to make a general point.

Many people paddle without a skirt. I think they are missing opportunities for aquiring boat control.

Depending on the model of QCC and your weight, you might be able to edge without getting water in.

Even if this is the case, you'll have less freeboard to keep water from waves, wakes, etc. out of your boat.

Donning skirt on the water

Do you have a nylon tunnel on your sprayskirt? I can’t imagine trying to get my snug neoprene tunnel on over my head (and, ahem, bust) while on the water.

It’s never occurred to me to begin a paddle without a skirt - but then the water is never over about 50 degrees here anyway!


NJ Yaker
Your comments were not taken as critism. I found your point informative and accepted that there are multiple reasons to wear a skirt, and thanks to you I now know the second one.

Happy Paddling,


I have been paddling in warm waters and mostly without a lot of waves for the past seven months or so. The water temps are in the low eighties and the air temps on a typical day are in the mid to high nineties. Keeping cool has been one of the things on top of my list. That said, the skirt now is put on before I get in the boat.

I read Jack’s post about placing the skirt on while out and gave it a try the other day. It took a bit of concentration but I was able to do it a few times for practice. I had to stow the paddle on the fore deck and found that it is not as difficult as I thought before attempting it. Have to admit that it might be easier for me as there are no natural obstructions and I use a vinyl skirt.

Happy Paddling,


Mine is a very tight neoprene…
snapdragon, and I don’t have any problem.

My wife also has the same skirt and does it without any problem too.

We both have QCC’s which we are quite at ease with in the water.

Naturally we don’t wait until there are big time white caps and waves.

There have been many days where we start out with both the skirt and the PFD under the bungees, and then when the afternoon wind picks up and the water goes from calm to stuff that if it was quartering would come over the side and we are three or four miles from land we put them on as needed.



Only your decks are Neo…
…on your Glacier Treks. The tubes are loose with an easy to open and adjust top neo band.

It’s an all neo tunnel mentioned above that would make it a chore. A snug fit and a lot more wriggling. Big difference.

Your also known to frequently paddle without PFD - which would make it a LOT easier as you wouldn’t have to take PFD off, stow it, and put it back on after the skirt - all while conditions were picking up…

If you paddle with skirt/PDF off it might not a bad idea to practice taking both on and off both from the cockpit and while in the water so you know what you’re in for…

Right. Greyak
I have gotten into the habit of always wearing my PFD. So, during my trial of putting on the skirt while underway, I had to take off the PFD first and put it back on after. I use the Lotus PFD from QCC purchased with the boats and it was more difficult to switch the PFD than to put on the skirt. I found that practicing closing my eyes for a 60 count before starting helped, LOL.

Anyway, I am wearing my skirt now whenever I am out in anything except a small lake or creek.

Happy Paddling,


As I mentioned above, we can take them on and off while in the cockpit with no problem.

If I am in the water for some reason why would I want to put on the skirt there when I can do it easier in the cockpit.

Also if for some reason I was in the water without my PFD on it is a lot easier for me to do a self rescue without it on and then put it on in the cockpit.

I have put the PFD on and off in the water just to make sure I can do it.



Main point was…
about Thistleback’s comment on full neoprene skirts - with snug neo tubes - which you don’t have. (I agree the model we have is easy to get on/off)