Hurrican Expedition 128 spray skirt

-- Last Updated: May-12-13 2:17 PM EST --

Hurricane kayaks recommended Seals 2.2 sprayskirt for my Hurricane Expedition 128. It doesn't fit -- way too small. Does anyone know what will fit this kayak?

You could talk to Seals instead.
Skirt makers often have a fit list for a wide variety of kayaks.

2.5 is the next size up.

My kayak has the same size cockpit and a Seals 2.2 skirt/cover fits it fine. I also have a Seals 2.5 cover for another kayak that fits that cockpit as well, just a bit loose.

If this is your first time with a skirt, then checkout some of the Seals videos on how to put on a skirt. It can be a bit harder with a larger sized cockpit.

What skirt do you have?

Fit List
Seals recommends a 2.2 for the kayak.

How did you try to put it on?

– Last Updated: May-12-13 11:05 PM EST –

I just checked and it does seem that the 2.2 is a generously sized skirt. Seals is a solid company and their recommendations tend to be right - we have a few Seals skirts among ours.

But - if you are dealing with one of the ones set up for heavier duty wear, like a neoprene deck with a thicker bungie, you should expect to have to stretch the cord a good bit when you first put a new one on. If you can just slap it on without doing that some, it will be too loose to be any good when you are paddling.

We tend to put skirts on and leave them there for a couple of so days when they are new, in fact the new Seals Extreme Tour 1.2 is sitting on the Vela right now. And the neo deck ones tend to stretch more easily if you get them wet first.

I should mention that I am NOT a fan of going to super tight skirts for the sake of staying really dry - if I can't yank the thing off of my coaming when I am really tired, I won't paddle with it. So when I am talking about working some to get a skirt on, I am not talking about something that is a real struggle.

Extreme tour 2.2
The person at Hurricane recommended the neoprene. I will try to stretch it, but as a small person with only average strength, the point about not getting it so tight that one has to struggle to get it off makes good sense. I sent an e-mail to Seals over the weekend. I find that recommendations are being given for the Excursion 128 (the kayak which replaced the Expedition 128). The Excursion cockpit is 1 inch shorter. The expedition has a 40 x 20 1/2 cockpit with 100 circumference. Back to the kayak to see if I can get it to fit using different methods – but like Cinderella’s step-sisters, it may be that this extreme tour 2.2 will not fit.

Thanks all, when all the usual searching and inquiries fail, I can always rely on help from you.

Fit issues - more thoughts

– Last Updated: May-13-13 11:16 AM EST –

OK, to start if it is an Extreme Tour, it'll have a thicker bungie than some of their other variations including neo decks. The Extreme Tour is what is sitting on my Vela right now, and the skirt it is replacing was a plainer version and had a less thick bungie. A neo deck is a requirement if you want to get serious about wet work like rolling - nylon just doesn't work out well - but if this is a rec type boat I suspect that is not on the horizon for you with this boat.

The value of the more worked up neo deck skirts is that they are also reinforced around the edges so that you can haul boats over your own in on-water rescues and not shred the skirt. But if you are not planning to be doing that on a regular basis, the basic neo deck is plenty strong.

The other fit issue is reach. If this is a very long cockpit and you are not a very long person, it could be tough for you to reach forward and actually be a little ahead of the lip of the coaming. The Hurricanes have a sharp edge, so you need to be able to reach about an inch forward of the edge of the coaming up front to get the skirt on and off. You can't just yank them any old way like on a plastic cockpit rim.

So for safety, you need to have the skirt work to not only make the reach to the front edge of the coaming, but a little beyond.

Some manufacturers have extra release options built in, like a knee strap that'll lift from around the sides in a pinch. I suggest that you ask Seals about what options they have along those lines. They are a good company, and are willing to work with someone.

This shows why it is best to take one’s
boat to a dealer, put it on the ground, and try spray skirts before buying. And there will be store personnel to help. The only sprayskirts I’ve bought that have been completely satisfactory were purchased this way.

If you purchase on the internet and have a skirt shipped, be prepared for making one or two exchanges.

Nylon vs Neo

– Last Updated: May-13-13 1:42 PM EST –

If you are doing more recreational kayaking then you might want to look at a half-skirt (like Seals Splash Deck) or a nylon zippered skirt (like Seals Sneak). The cockpit you have is large for someone who is not linebacker sized (like me) that you might have an easier time mounting the skirt on land and then slipping into a covered but more open skirt on the water. The zippered ones should be pretty easy to slip into when open. It is easier to mount a skirt on land by sitting on the back of it and moving your legs forward to hold the skirt down while stretching it over the front.

Honestly for mellow water paddling you can leave the skirt home.

first skirt

– Last Updated: May-13-13 2:27 PM EST –

since this is your first try at buying a skirt I second the advice to get thee to a paddleshop w. your boat. Believe me it isn't easy to get a good fit buying online no matter how many you buy.

While 'the Book of Seals' is a very useful guide, it's just that - a guide. A skirt may fit the cockpit coaming but the tunnel may not be centered enough over the boat's seat pan. Which in turn affects success when you first lean backward, then forward, to put the seat on. It may be difficult to snap over the coaming nose, or too loose and blow off the back and sides.

This boat, on the scale of things, has quite a large cockpit which means you do have a lot of fabric to stretch and a longer reach. If you are petite w. lower hand strength it can be a challenge.

A good staffer can observe all these things and offer options.

Seals neoprene sprayskirts - per their website- are all designated for 'extreme' conditions. meant to be used in a roughwater environment where its tight seal is an asset in surfing, rolling etc. If this is not where you're at now, I question the wisdom of getting this particular model esp. with your hand strength and being new to neoprene skirts.

There is an Athena model for moderate conditions, but it doesn't come in anything larger than 1.7

Seals makes some combo neoprene/nylon skirts which may be where you want to start. Many people start there because these skirts are a lot more beginner friendly. I still have mine and use it for casual flatwater touring days or for a friend to use (after first making sure said friend can do a wet exit).

If you do want to start w. a full neoprene skirt for touring (not ww)Snapdragon, another great U.S. maker, uses Supratex on some models for easy on and off. Their fit list doesn't currently list either the Excursion or the Expedition but they can always whip up a skirt w. the coaming measurements or better yet at tracing (outside edge to outside edge.

Go to a paddleshop, see what else is out there and try them on. MountainSurf is another good name, albeit harder to find regionally. Immersion Research makes touring skirts also, although they are better known for ww skirts, as is BomberGear.

Whatever you do, get a skirt rated for 'touring', not 'whitewater' You do not want the really grippy rand of a ww skirt on a thermoformed plastic (ABS) boat. It'll be very hard to release.

Snapdragon will sew on a knee release strap onto any of its skirts for a modest charge. They put one on my first skirt - for free - when I sent it to them to tune the XXS deck to my cockpit a bit. That one was an Ocean Tour w. Supratex. Still have it, still love it. Seals does tune and detune its skirts also, and likely would add a knee strap as well.

When newer models like the Excursion come along sprayskirt makers try to keep current but sometimes it isn't a perfect fit.

I brought my Pyranha FusionS to my paddleshop in fall 2010 (the first year the S model came out). I tried the recommended Seals 1.4. It blew off the back quarters of the coaming every time I moved side to side as if to brace or set up. The paddle shop owner was helping me (he has over 25 yrs experience in ww paddling). He couldn't believe it fit so badly.
So I moved up to a 1.7 Seals - can't remember the model but it's not in the current lineup. It's nice and stretchy, stays on - so of course Seals discontinued it lol

Great fit. Had I ordered online I would've gotten the wrong fit.

Expedition not a whitewater craft
I don’t know why Hurricane recommended 2.2 extreme. I figured the manufacturer ought to know. When I contacted them today, they said it should work, it works for the Excursion (which replaced the Expedition). I pointed out that the Expedition is 1 inch longer. She then recommended a seals 2.5. I e-mailed Seals, gave them the specs, and asked what Seals spray skirt would fit. I’m hoping for a reply. After seeing the 2.2 extreme, I though, “do I really need this type of spray skirt?” You answered my question. We plan to paddle Voyageurs in September and a spray skirt is highly recommended. We live in a rural area and going to the nearest paddling store is not a viable option.

Thanks for information and help.

Return number 1.
You’re right, and I hope we’re not going to be subsidizing the mail carriers in trying to get a match, but be thankful you have a store within reasonable distance of you.

Rolling is not limited to whitewater

– Last Updated: May-14-13 8:10 AM EST –

I personally consider at least trying to learn a roll to be a primary skill for any type of kayaking, and having one to be a core skill for open water like sea kayaking and big lakes. So whitewater or not is unimportant.

What does matter is that the mixed use and rec boats are usually poorly designed for rolling, unless you like killing yourself trying to learn. The Excursion comes in at a width of 25.5 inches and, according to the Hurricane web site, an intention for use as a hybrid between rec and touring. The kind of stability that this hull should have designed in is not what I would put in front of someone trying to first learn how to roll. It'd be too much of an uphill climb especially if you are smaller.

So - my response on that wasn't about it being a touring boat potential use, but it being a long boat that sat towards the rec side in its design.

While I am here, do you also have that darned high seat back? If you do, it will complicate using a neo deck skirt. Nylon skirts sometime work more easily, depending on where the tunnel is relative to the back of the skirt.

You’re right
The expedition is definitely not a good boat to learn rolling. Am learning in a borrowed kayak with a snapdragon spray skirt. And you’re absolutely right about the high back, it complicates self rescue because the back falls back into the seat as you enter from the stern. As much as I love this boat, I am beginning to see its limits for the kind of kayaking we’d like to be able to do. It’s weight at 38 pounds is such a plus, but the minuses mean I start saving for a more suitable craft for coastal and large lake paddling in colder waters.