Does neoprene shrink?

I recently purchased a used Necky Narpa kayak with the well built neoprene skirt.

Both boat and accessories look to not have been used in years. The skirt seems impossible to attach to the cockpit. Could the neoprene have shrunk? If so, is there any way to undo the damage? I have purchased a good quality nylon skirt for now….but I hate to give up hope on the better quality and warmer neoprene.

Thanks in advance….

I googled it and the answer is yes!

– Last Updated: Oct-13-05 2:32 PM EST –

I think you may be able to force it on the coaming and leave it for awhile, that may stretch it out?

Before you give up
Wet the skirt down and put it on yourself and then try putting it on the rim, guiding it on the back first and then leaning forward and using your body to help stretch and pull the skirt over the front, then the sides. I bought a really good skirt last year that is impossible to put on the rim unless you have your body pulling on the skirt. I expect Neoprene does shrink up and as it oxidizes the shrinkage may be permanent, but I bet you can stretch it back out, if you wanted to try a chemical solution a penetrating cleaner like NRS sells and a mild reducing agent might work to help you stretch it back out.

303 the boat
It doesn’t have a darned thing to do with stretching the neoprene on the skirt, but it’ll make it easier to slide a tight one on and off while you see if you can stretch it out.

with me…yes
Every year my wetsuit gets smaller…or I get bigger.


– Last Updated: Oct-13-05 5:00 PM EST –

If you can, see if the skirt is actually appropriate for the boat! Maybe, it's not the correct skirt for the boat.

Hopefully, the manufacturer and the model (ie, size) is still visable on the skirt. If so, check the fit recommendations on the manfacturer's web site.

If it is the right skirt, dunk the skirt in water first. If you can get it on and it's still tight, leave it on the boat for a while.

does neoprene shrink?
given enough time (years) yes, neoprene can shrink. new neoprene does not shrink but may have to be stretched considerably to get over the coming of a boat that has a “too large for the skirt” coming. wetting it will help.

What Seadart said: Wet and wearing NM

Neoprene DOES shrink with time
because the gas in the bubbles slowly escapes. I once bought a custom-fitted wetsuit which fit everywhere properly, but now after 30 years it seems like it was made for a much smaller person.

Yeah, I admit, I’m fatter, but my limbs and trunk are not longer.

less stretchy
I think neoprene will also get less stretchy as it ages.