Hot weather spray skirts

I need to get a cooler spray skirt for summer racing in my Thunderbolt and am looking for some opinions.

Nylon would seem to be the best choice and I see that Seals has a model available with a zipper. Anyone have experience with it or any other spray skirt that unzips?

I’m not looking for the ultimate rolling skirt, nor will I be getting large waves dumped on my lap. I’d trade a little leakage for extra comfort as it can get really hot down there when racing for a couple hours. The zipper appeals to me since I could leave it unzipped for circulation and only close it up if the water got a little rougher.

Pretty much all the water that dumps in my cockpit spills over the side (by my hips) when cutting through waves.

Thoughts and opinions appreciated.




– Last Updated: Jun-24-10 12:01 PM EST –

Which Seals skirt unzips? I don't see it... Ah there it is, the Sneak....

Kayakpro sells zip spray skirts, although there is little info on their site. The price seems reasonable - maybe give them a call to see about fit. I think they're fairly common with the racing types, you guys are obviously working too hard on hot days....

Thanks for the heads up on the kayakpro skirts, I had no idea they made them.

Talked to them today and they said the skirts would fit my Thunderbolt; but unfortunately they only make them in black. Something lighter colored would be nice for summer paddling.

Still, they look like they’d be a good skirt and unless someone comes up with a better idea I’ll probably get one.


Check with Brooks
They used to offer their Akuilisaq in white neoprene. My girlfriend and I have them and not only are they a lot more comfortable than a tight-fitting tunneled skirt (in ANY weather), they’re a lot cooler than black neoprene when it’s hot outside.

I don’t get it
I paddle in hot weather all the time. And I paddle hard (I know, I am not racing). What is the big deal with the spray skirt? Your body below the waist is relatively insensitive to temperature. When I used to run road races in the winter it was more important to keep your upper body warm. In the summer it was more important to keep your upper body cool. Dress properly for your upper body for warm/hot conditions and use a regular spray skirt.

couple things

– Last Updated: Jun-24-10 10:51 PM EST –

When I go at race pace with a spray skirt on it's like a sauna below the waist. Even in relatively cool weather I can feel the sweat running down my legs.

The other thing is that on longer races I keep some food down there. Being able to just unzip to quickly access it is much better than having to stop and pop the skirt. Plus warm mushy snacks just aren't as tasty.

Wearing a regular skirt certainly wouldn't be the end of the world but I find it much more comfortable with no skirt at all. I'd be satisfied to meet somewhere in the middle.


spray skirt can cook you

– Last Updated: Jun-24-10 11:25 PM EST –

If it is hot enough you'll cook without one. With one it just happens faster. Heck, get a light tailwind, even early in the morning, down here and you'll be overheating after about 2km at a 10km race pace, much less something harder.

lightest I’ve got
I got a lightweight nylon skirt in a light color from Bruce Gipson at for my ICF boat. I’ve used it on rivers where I unzipped it in the flats and re-zipped it to run rapids. Call Bruce and see if he’s got something that will fit a west side boat. I don’t know if the cockpit sizes are similar between the West Side boats and the average ICF boat.

I have a Seal Sneak Skirt w/zipper

– Last Updated: Jun-25-10 9:26 AM EST –

I use it on my Tsunami125 and love it. Always have it with me behind the seat or on. When zippered, there is no leakage during rain, splash, moderate waves over the bow/deck. It does get warm under there, like any other skirt, but when unzipped, it's very tolerable. It also has two small mesh zipper pockets good for power bar, sunscreen, small items. The zipper also makes it very easy for on/off when paddling. I even tried rolling with it on in my pool. You can do it, but it will let plenty of water in with anything less than an excellent roll, which I cannot say I possess. Mine is currently more of a thrash...
I highly recommend the sneak skirt for the use that you describe.

I know some make breathable skirts. Not sure how much that helps, since my skirt is always wet. At least, it might help with the tunnel/torso and the rear of the skirt…

I had a seals breathable skirt but that worked OK. But it had a bungee on nylon design that, unlike neoprene, was very leaky when used on anything but the perfect size cockpit for it. Was OK for just paddling, but after a little wave action or edging water would come in. And not a rolling skirt by any stretch -:wink: Something like that would probably work for you in the right size.

Lower body doesn’t need to be kept cool?
Jerry Lee Lewis would definitely have something to say about that!

…WildWasser sells some zipups.

no go
They said theirs won’t fit the Thunderbolt cockpit.

Thanks though!


Indeed they do!
Thanks for the link. I think I’ll be going with the Kayakpro though, hopefully the black nylon won’t be too bad. They’re made for racing so hopefully they’ll be just the ticket.



– Last Updated: Jun-28-10 8:50 AM EST –

dr disco the poster wants a nice light summer spray skirt for racing. whats not to get? how tough is this concept?

no problem
I have no problem with his suggestion. I’m looking for opinions and I’m getting them.

I was out yesterday to play in the wind and waves a little with my Thunderbolt so had to wear my neoprene skirt. It was a relatively cool day and it didn’t feel too bad at all, almost enough to make me think I don’t need a cooler skirt. But then my water bladder got goofed up and I was just sucking air when I tried to take a drink. Didn’t want to pop the skirt in the waves to fix it so I had to keep trying to push it around with my thighs. A zippered skirt will be ordered today.