Flotation for Perception Pirouette ?

Two of us are: Long-time sea kayakers with NDK Pilgrim Expedition boats. We do expeditions too but locally and more often like to play in rock gardens and surf small waves and play in class 1-2+ river situations (Not interested in play boating.!) We just made a small investment – bought 2 “excellent condition” Perception Pirouettes to help us decide whether we want to purchase some of the newer boats that fit our category of interest. In the meantime we need some flotation to fit one of the Pirouettes. It’s hard to figure out what size flotation to get. A lot of folks recommend just filling up our dry bags and stuffing them in the stern. Anybody out there tried to roll a Perception Pirouette with dry bags and have it work ? We WILL be rolling ! Thanks a bunch.

Pirouette flotation

– Last Updated: Mar-29-14 8:12 PM EST –

For rolling it doesn't matter what size bags you have in the boat, or whether you have bags at all ... as long as you stay in the boat. The Pirouette is fairly easy to roll but you may need to pad out the cockpit side pillars with foam to get a proper fit.

The Pirouette is an 11+ ft long kayak that will accept the longest stern bags available and also has room for small bow bags in front of the bulkhead (if you have Proline outfitting) or footpegs.

I use old, lightweight nylon Voyager bags in my Pirouette that have an uninflated length of 45". Those have not been made for years. They pretty much fill the stern perfectly. You will need two stern bags (and two bow bags if you choose to have them) to fit on either side of the central foam pillar.

You could get this set of 4 bags from Harmony:


The stern bags in the set are 41 inches in length so they might not absolutely fill the stern but will be close.

You could also get a pair of these bags for the stern:


These bags are a little longer than mine but that poses no problem. You just don't maximally inflate them.

Here’s a range
Should be something here that’ll fit your Pirrouettes.


See you on the water,


The River Connection, Inc.

Hyde Park, NY



Those are not split bags
They are not designed for kayaks with a central pillar but are sized to fill the entire stern.

Sure, you could buy and use a pair of them, but it they would be much bigger, heavier, and considerably more expensive than what you need.

Can’t help you with floatation
…but I did get a picture of a Perception Pirouette running the Gorge Drop on the Knightville section of the Westfield River today.


You want rodeo split bags

– Last Updated: Mar-29-14 11:01 PM EST –

As above, split bags designed for WW boats. Here is another source.


Picture of Pirouette (your reply)
Thanks all … for the help with the flotation and … a BIG thank you to ECKILSON for the link to the very cool whitewater pic. The contrast between the playboat and the white Pirouette with both paddlers kicking it in the same water makes that shot very interesting.

Hopefully that will be you someday
The guy in that boat was sure having a great time.

I would use longer than 28" in the tail
of a Pirouette, based on what I have used in a Corsica and an Animas, kayaks of similar length.

One doesn’t have to fill the whole length, and shorter bags may work adequately.

I fixed stern bags in place by passing the inflation tubes through a hole I drilled/cut in the stern foam wall, not far behind the seat. Once the inflation tubes are crossed through the hole, nylon cord or nylon wire ties can be passed around the tubes on both sides.

On my Corsica, I pulled the wall and tied the grommets on the bags through a hole in the wall near the stern. But that’s really too much trouble, unless the boat is going to take a paddler-less ride down the Stikine Canyon.

NRS split flotation
These are what you need:


Get the stern bags for sure. Bow bags will make the boats float higher after a swim and thus easier to recover, of course, but I’ve bulldozed plenty of Pirouettes, Corsicas, Animases, etc. to shore in Class 2 that only had stern bags.

They are pretty short for a Pirouette

– Last Updated: Mar-31-14 11:50 AM EST –

Those bags will end more than 10 inches behind the seat area. That might be OK if you want to leave room to keep a couple of dry bags behind the seat in front of the bags.

If you stick a metal carpenters tape measure in the back of a Pirouette (which I just did) and push the end to the very back of the stern compartment, the distance from there to the back of the seat is 57 inches. But because of the taper of the hull, the aft foot of that space is very compressed and doesn't comprise much volume, so an inflated bag won't go all the way back there.

My 45" long bags will up the available space very nicely. If you don't want to fill up the entire stern, decide how much of that 45" you want to fill and you will know how long a stern bag pair to get.

I stand corrected

– Last Updated: Mar-31-14 12:20 PM EST –

I was just knocking around for splits, didn't check length. Now that I think of it, I might have Harmony bags in my Piedra, another boat of a similar era to the Pirouette.

Flotation for Pirouette-installation tip
Very cool installation tip for stern bags. Thx !

Stern bags vs stern + bow bags
From feedback so far I am leaning towards using appropriate-sized dry bags for the bow area and 44"-ish stern bags. Thx for the advice

Maybe they changed

– Last Updated: Apr-02-14 3:06 PM EST –

I've got a couple sets of Infinity split bags, and the stern ones easily filled the back of an Outburst (very similar to a Pirouette). I guess without yanking them out and measuring, I can't confirm. Perhaps NRS went to shorter 'long' bags since I bought mine.

Though on an 11 foot boat with a flat, slalomish stern, ~3ft of inflated size is probably all you need to fill it. Between the foam pillar and the taper, there will be very little volume in the last foot or so of the hull.

The vertical foam wall in the bow of
the Pirouette is larger than that in the stern, and so provides much more flotation. Given that, I’m not sure if added bow flotation is needed.

If you decide to use bow bags, up ahead of the foot bulkheads, you’ll want to string and attach the inflation tubes along the top edge of the flotation wall, so that you can adjust the bag volume and tension for different temperature and altitude conditions. Pairs of stiff wire ties might be rammed through the top edge of the wall, to form loops on both sides for the inflation tubes. I have had front bags in my '82 Noah Magma for over 20 years without a problem.

What you don’t want inside ww kayaks in which you will be rolling or wet exiting, is loose lines or tubes that might snag your legs.