Manitou Sport Hatch Cover -- Sling Shot?

My wife & I just got our new Manitou Sports and love them…except for one frustrating thing: the flexible, sealing hatch cover. It seems more designed as a mechanism for launching a flexible frisbee than as an item intended to be secured relatively easily prior to departure. Even with both of us putting it on together…carefully and slowly…, it seems that it is designed to defeat us in the attempt. I know the strategy is to put one end under the lip and hold it in place as the rest is slipped under the lip as well, but that’s easier said than done. I’m sure other folks have had this problem – any suggestions? The only one I can think of is to attempt to stretch the flexible cover, but I hate to do that…unless it’s the only solution.


push in the direction of the stretch
it’s something that folks using neoprene skirts discover. You can’t stand above the hatch with arms perpendicular to the direction you’re stretching it,get your forearms in the same direction as the stretch.

I understand COMPLETELY

– Last Updated: Mar-01-06 11:17 PM EST –

I owned a Manitou and had the same frustrating problem. Thought for a long time I was "neoprene hatch challenged" or something. LOL

People kept giving me advice, telling me how to put it on, telling me what I was doing wrong, sympathizing with me that theirs was a pain too at first until they learned the proper way... blah, blah, blah, but you know what? THEY never experienced the Manitou hatch cover.

I later sold the Manitou and swore I'd never have a kayak with a neoprene hatch cover again, because I thought they were all like that. UNTIL I visited a local dealer and started looking at other kayaks. Tried some other neoprene hatch covers and they were a SNAP compared to the Manitou. No problem at ALL. Difference of night and day. So don't let anyone tell you otherwise - the Manitou does have a problem in that regard. Having said that, otherwise it is a great little boat... quick, maneuverable, comfortable, nice looking.

I even rec'd some e-mail from an industry insider who shall remain nameless, who confirmed that this was a problem with the Manitou. Maybe it can be remedied somehow (???) but the hatch coaming lip is definitely just a tad too small and the neoprene has trouble staying on it.

I hope this helps, if only to reassure you that you are not an inept, incompetent, bumbler when it comes to neoprene hatches (like I was convinced I was). LOL

Oh, I should add, I replaced my Manitou with a Necky Zoar Sport LV. A tad longer and has two hatches (yes, with neoprene covers). The hatches on the Zoar are a dream.

Flexible, Elastic Frisbee
Thanks, Donna, for sharing your experiences. It’s nice to know that we aren’t simply inept when it comes to hatch covers. Of course, that still leaves the problem. I’m tempted to see if forceably stretching the cover over something larger than the hatch and leaving it there for a while will help. Of course, that would probably turn out to be largely impossible as well! Maybe just give it to a group of ten-year-old boys and ask them to stretch it as much as they can for a box of cookies!



– Last Updated: Mar-12-06 9:59 PM EST –

Great advice, LeeG! I, too, recently purchased a Manitou and was having the same difficulty. Had to test your method after reading your post and PRESTO! it took under 5 seconds to secure.

I simply squatted with the stern between my legs, and working from left to right (forearms parallel to the stretch as you said), the cover went right on with absolutely no hassle.

A godsend!

- Patrick


– Last Updated: Mar-14-06 1:06 AM EST –

Just curious, what year is your Manitou? I've heard they fixed the hatch coaming problem but I'm not sure if that happened on the 2005's or 2006's. My Manitou was a 2004, which I think was the first year they were made.

Also curious... were you having problems with the Manitou hatch cover BEFORE reading LeeG's advice? Because his method (while good) is pretty standard, so I'm just wondering how you were trying to get it on before.

For me, none of the "standard" ways worked.

By the way

– Last Updated: Mar-14-06 1:13 AM EST –

I'm not disparaging Lee's advice... it's good advice and pretty much what I would have said, had I not dealt with this particular hatch problem before.

Also, I did try some wax (I forget the brand, I borrowed it) around the outside of the coaming... it's a bit sticky and it did help some. I'm not sure what else you could do... never found anything else that worked for me.

It’s a 2005…

– Last Updated: Mar-14-06 9:25 AM EST –

...I had read elsewhere on the site to stretch it starboard to port (or vice versa) rather than bow to stern (or vice versa), but I would stand on either starboard or port side, and the thing wouldn't go on. However, as soon as I straddled the stern, and kept my forearms parallel with the kayak, it was much easier. I think it's also important, as stated here or in another thread, to move your hands in unison, attempting to keep them moving in a parallel plane, not letting up on the pressure you are applying with either hand.

I found that if I press my thumbs down on the coaming as I work my way around, keeping the cover stretched, it's easier (think of closing a stubborn tupperware top with your fingertips pressed just under the lip and your thumbs doing the pushing).

In addition, it does take a fair amount of hand and forearm strength, which I imagine might make it more difficult for some. My forearms were sore after practicing it 5 or 6 times in a row. So, it's not easy, but I think the described technique makes it easier. At least I can get it on now!


To be fair…
…I should say this was my first introduction to any technique at all (I’m new to kayaking and new to these boards). It simply made a seemingly impossible task possible. Perhaps my enthusiasm was a bit overstated, but discovering a method with a relatively consistent success rate was far better than struggling with it for 30 minutes before either giving up or getting lucky.


Well, I guess I should
welcome you to paddling! You will have MUCH fun, meet nice people, and (probably) acquire many boats. LOL

SYOTR (see you on the river)


Sand paper
Take some sand paper and rough up the area around the coaming where the elastic band touches. Trust me I had the same problem with my Manitou, and this helped considerably.

It takes practice but you should be able to do it after a few ill atempts.

The “straddling” technique will do you no good once in the water.

One thing I cannot complain about though is this system’s ability to keep everything in the aft compartment DRY!

Good point…
…that will be fun to try, especially given the fact the only hatch on the Manitou 13 is in the stern. Guess the sandwich will have to wait until I make landfall.


– Last Updated: Mar-15-06 12:05 AM EST –

...fleet size will likely depend on wife's tolerance for kayaks hanging from the living room ceiling!