Full Skirt on Rec boat?

I just bought my first kayak and took it out for a spin around the lake. I must say, so far, I love it!

I bought the OT Rush, and although the half-skirt did an OK job of keeping me dry, I can’t help but think that when I hit the river, and up to easy class 2, a full skirt would be very nice to have. From paddling at that level many times in a canoe, it seems that the half-skirt just won’t do the job over small drops and waves. Am I correct in this assumption?

Will other boaters fall out of their boats laughing at me with a full skirt on my rec boat?

One last thing… Is it crazy for me to think I could paddle very short sections of class III in this yak? There are some class 2 rivers nearby with just a few small class 3 sections that I would like to paddle. Having gone through some easy class 2 in a 17 foot aluminum Grumman canoe, I can’t help but feel a bit cocky in this little kayak.


Go full
Although I’m not familiar with your boat and can’t honestly tell you what it’s capable of handling, the half-skirts are often known as sun-skirts.

Half skirts will not keep any water out of your cockpit, either rain or waves.

And nobody who knows about paddling will laugh at you wearing a full skirt on a rec boat.

PS Practice wet exits before you start playing in rough water (or any water)

Full skirt on a rec boat! Yes!
I paid $100 for mine, Comfy in the rain, keeps paddle drips off the passengers. My rec boat is a pamlico composite so the skirt as three holes is huge comples and expensive.

Who cares what the jerks think. Paddle on!

Whats the cockpit size?
I cannot find any info on that. Large cockpits like our Loon 138 (51 inch cockpit) can cause a full skirt to pop off under some wave conditions due to the large surface area of the skirt. Ours is an after market (Harmony) made for the Loon 138 cockpit and it has reinforcement ribs and we keep the internal bungee nice and tight. I can share with you that a full skirt extends our paddling season and weather conditions greatly but thats lake and slow river use. For white water a tight cockpit fit, good skirt and a bombproof roll are just some of the essentials. Class II? Sure, have fun. A skirt will keep you dry. Above class II? In doubt? I wouldn’t. Get another boat and take lessons. Used WW boats are all over the place in price and geographical areas to buy them in. Unless of course this “Rush” IS a WW boat. I simply cannot find out much about it in a quick look around…

Good luck!

Cockpit Size, etc.
The cockpit is 19" x 38".

The Rush is not a WW boat - more of a small 9’6" by 28.5" wide rec boat. My (very) limited experience makes me think that it’s sort of an ‘in between boat’. It’s not a full-on rec boat, but it’s not a performance boat either.

As far as a roll goes, I suppose an expert could roll the Rush, but I’m not sure that it’s meant for that level of performance. As I have never rolled a kayak, I’m really in no position to say. From my short time on the water, I’d say that I could manage to roll it over, but as far as rolling it back up - that may be another story. When the water/weather warms up a bit more, I’ll put it in a lake and find out for sure.


Full on Rec
Yeah, this is a “full on” rec boat. It’ll be lots of fun for you. An aquaintance of mine has one very similar and he loves it.

Be prepared to get addicted. Your going to want; Long and lean boats next

Long and wide boats next



Sails (if your like me)

Anchor systems

Lighter paddles

Motor mounts

Rod holders





Spray decks

Deck bags

Dry bags

Throw bags

sleeping bags





sleeping pads

Marriage counseling…


My son worked hard at it and finally deeloped a roll with his Perception Antigua. It was a 12 footer 28 wide. You could roll that 9 footer with some practice I suppose. Don’t see why not if you pad it out for a good hip lock.

He had his fully rigged for fishing and rolled it once with a rod clipped in the rod holder. We laughed about that all the way back to the ramp! His tackle was all over the place inside the cockpit too… (He was showing off and forgot what he was doing)…

a suggestion
That kayak should be fine for class II waters but probably not so good for class III. Due to the large cockpit size, it would be extremely difficult to prevent the sprayskirt from imploding when going through a class III hole or haystack. Also if you are going to be doing whitewater on a regular basis, I would recommend installing a foam pillar in the bow to protect your legs from being pinned in event of a broach. I’ve seen canoes and kayaks get pinned on class II waters. Obviously in a kayak, if your legs get pinned into the kayak, you’re basically dead so a foam pillar would offer a measure of safety.

That Cockpit Size Isn’t Too Big
it’s probably a couple of inches longer than the large cockpit sea kayaks. Why is it important? Well, if I were going for a swim through the rapids, I sure would’t want to be trailing 50" plus skirt on me. Could snag a rock, a stick, something. When that happens, the current will plane over you possibly, and push you below the surface for a nice drowning. This is the same principle that folks who are getting a throw rope should never wrap it around their arms or anything else.


between the legs?
Do you mean a foam pillar between your legs to prevent the water from squishing the cockpit onto your legs? I suppose you are assuming that a rec boat is not rigid enough in that kind of situation?

The Rush is a
graet rec. boat. Playful and sleek , tracks well and turn good too. A friend has 1 , and has a full skirt on it. I would be very careful/have some good rescue helpers if I were to try any class III in a rec. boat.

The rec boat uses the same plastic as the whitewater boats. It doesn’t matter if it’s a rec boat, whitewater boat, sea kayak, or canoe. Given the right situation, the water can crush all these boats/materials. If you look at any whitewater boat, they all have either a foam or rigid plastic pillar in the bow to prevent this entrapment as whitewater boats navigate waters where this is much more likely than other boats. Someone posted a heartbreaking story a few days ago about a father who helplessly watched his son drown as he was pinned in a rec boat in some rapids. Extremely frightening and sobering.

use a full skirt for my Acadia

Full Skirt
I solo a Loon 160T with a full skirt most always, for sure in the winter here in Michigan. it works great and keeps me and my gear dry. As far as anyone laughing at me, I dont care what people think. Go for the full skirt and go for the class II’s with short class III; but wear a PFD.

who’s laughing?
I don’t know a single paddler who would laugh at a recreational kayak with a full sprayskirt. On the contrary, I personally would think better of a paddler with a sprayskirt than one without. I also wouldn’t laugh at a rec kayak running class III whitewater, but I would have some concern in my mind for that paddler’s safety.

You bet! No way. Probably so.
In order to your questions:

Would a full skirt be useful on a recreational kayak? You bet!

Will other boaters laugh at you? No way.

Can you take an OT Rush through Class III? Probably so. Depends as much on you as the boat. The only problem I’ve noticed with recreational kayaks in turbulent water is that cross currents (I’m not sure that’s the correct technical name) can catch the large molded in skegs and cause some problems. Give a try and see. Be sure to have some other paddlers along for safety. Take throw ropes and wear helmets. You might get wet, but you might not, and any way you’re going to have fun.

  • Big D

I see rec kayaks run through Lesser
Wesser on the Nantahala, a middle class 3, with varying degrees of success. You would be safer with a full skirt which STAYS WITH THE BOAT, because a full skirt which stays with YOU when you wet exit is going to impede swimming, or even catch on branches or in rock cracks.

As for adding front and rear walls, this is tricky. Whitewater boats are designed with interior fittings to keep the wall vertical at the top and bottom edge. When you add a wall to a rec kayak, it will be difficult to ensure that it stays vertical, and if you have a semi-pin and the wall twists sideways, it can impede your exit. I have studied this problem personally because I would like to add a front wall to my Necky Looksha Sport touring kayak. I do not like the idea of a wall coming loose over my legs.

It seems logical…
Thanks for all the great input. I know that some rapids I hope to run (eventually) are done quite often by WW canoes. Now, this may stir some debate, but I’m willing to bet that anything that can be run in a WW canoe, can also be run in a rec kayak. As someone said earlier - it depends on the skill of the paddler.

And one last question - what full skirt? Whitewater or touring? Should I get a good tourig skirt to cover all the bases - or buy 2 skirts(one specific to WW and a touring skirt)?



“Apparent” Is Not “Actual”

– Last Updated: Apr-25-05 1:49 PM EST –

WW canoes have very different hull shape than your rec kayak. WW canoes are optimized for moving water. A rec kayak is not.

Here, compare 'em yourself:



Which one do you think will turn better and faster on moving water?

Yes. Paddler's skills make a big difference. Hoping yours are up to snuff. :) Report back, okay.


Full skirt on Pungo 140
I have used a full skirt on a Pungo 140 on the Allagash Wilderness Waterway lakes when it was raining and when the wind whipped up a chop that broke over the bow. It will keep out the rain, but I was concerned that the large amount of water on the skirt would implode the skirt. Another problem is getting into the kayak. Unlike a normal skirt, the skirt on the Pungo is so big the only way to put it on is to be outside the kayak. There is a long zipper and the waist has velcro. You have to put the skirt on the rim of the cockpit with the zipper partly open, get in the kayak, tighten the waist with the velco, then zip closed the skirt. This is not easy launching off a rocky coast into the chop and wind. Hence, tomorrow I am going shopping for a kayak with a normal skirt. I might keep the Pungo for those hot days in Virginia when I don’t want to be enclosed, or it might appear in classified here on P-net.