Mountain Surf Skirt Frustration

I just got my spray skirt that I ordered from Mountain Surf a couple of weeks ago, it does not seem fit my boat. It seems to be way too small to go around the rim.

It cost as much as a good wet suit! I was planning on getting out and surfing several times with my “new” boat during my Christmas week vacation when I will have my son around. Not likely now. Bleah!


– Last Updated: Dec-23-04 4:43 AM EST –

is how mine fits and thus nearly bombproof in the water. When I first got the skirt, I had to put it on, sit in the boat, grab the front of the skirt, lean and push forward with my weight to finally get it on. Then take a rest, you'll need it. If you can get the skirt on the boat, leave it on for awhile and it'll stretch somewhat to the shape of your cockpit.

Truthfully, I haven't been able to use the skirt since the weather turned colder and I've been using gloves. No way I can get a good enough grip to put it on. I am back to the snapdragon which is far easier to get on and off but can blow out in the waves. Thus, the seatbelt becomes very important in backing the skirt up.


Mountain Surf
They made a skirt for my Slasher a few years back. After I’d ordered it I got a call asking me to go out and take some measurments from the boat. Apparently they didn’t trust the info that they had. I got the idea that they are a small company and take pride in thier work. My skirt fits great.

If I were you I’d let them know what’s wrong and see what they can do.

John Mason from Mountain Surf just posted on the RISK board to ask someone for a “favor” in taking measurements of the cockpit for a MEGA Xray. Dude wants to be sure.


I’ve had several people
in the store who have bought a mountain surf skirt for their kayak, but then are unable to get it on the cockpit rim all the way, (most of them beginners). The rands in the skirt are really tough, and as a result not as flexible. You do need to really do it “right”. It takes some practice. Are you sure you got the right size?

FWIW I got an all Neo Lindberdeck from them for my silhouette that is really hard to get on, but it has as of yet to pop-off in surf or any other time I didn’t yank it intentionally it’s pretty bombproof.

Mountain Surf makes each skirt by hand. so the tunnel and the deck are fitted so that the setback[measurement from back of cockpit rim to the back of the seat] is unique to each skirt. So that way you have a really bombproof fit.

Mt. Surf

– Last Updated: Dec-23-04 9:38 AM EST –

I've got an EZ-On and it is tight, but does fit. It is the driest skirt I've used. I had problems with bungee skirts popping off when rolling but the Mt. Surf skirt has been great.

My definition of an acceptable fit is that I can release it with one hand if I have to. Given how the Ez-On fits, the "bombproof" version must be pretty brutal.

Leaving the skirt on the boat will help it stretch a bit.

try it again…
just to be sure, you did sit in the kayak to put it on, right?

the reason i ask is that i had a remarkably similar experience to yours.

i bought a kayak with an ocean cockpit, and had to order a custom skirt. as anyone with a new toy knows they want to get in it and play right away, so i rushed the order.

when i got the skirt, it looked kinda small so i went down to the boat and tried to put it on from outside the kayak. i nearly freaked because it wasn’t even close to fitting. there was no way this skirt was fitting on this boat.

i finally put the skirt on sat in the boat and tried again. with a bit of huffing and puffing, it magically fit.

since then it has relaxed a bit and fits relatively easily.

my $0.02

Getting on a skirt
Try this procedure. Lean back toward the rear deck. Seat the skirt around the back and as far forward along the sides as you can. Stay leaning back through this. Put your thumbs on each side of the grab loop on top of the skirt and straighten your arms. Do not bend your arms in what follows. Use your torso muscles and lean forward until you can get the front of the skirt over the rim. It is really important NOT to use your arm muscles. Push on the rand from the outside with your fingers. Hold the rand there with one hand and put on the rest of the rand. If this doesn’t work consider getting another skirt.

I remember getting a Mountain Surf skirt a number of years back. Wetting it helped before stretching on as well as leaving it on the boat to dry. Using the lay back method of installing your self in the boat works well, even for me with relatively short arms. In spite of the tightness, it never entrapped me nor ever popped off. I would stick with taming of this beast!

definitely agree
Wetting the skirt helps a lot. I have a Riot skirt that seemed almost impossible to get on my boat. I literally fought with the thing for 45 minutes before I thought to wet it. After that it only took about 5 more minutes of struggling before it slipped on. I left it on the boat for a week and afterwards, although it’s still tight, I can usually get the skirt on myself without too much trouble. Also, remember to practice taking off the skirt without the grabloop so that you’re ready for all situations (ripped grab loop, tucked under, etc.). It’s pretty intimidating to take off a tight spray skirt without the loop but it’s nice to know the technigue just in case.

Possible Solution
You might try soaking the skirt in hot tub water, then stretch it onto the coaming and let it dry. Do this several times over the course of a week.

Mt Surf tries to make skirts that will remain bombproof even after some breaking in. Many other skirts that initialy fit well develope a bit of sag over time.

At the very least get ahold of Mt Surf and let them know. They are an extremely small company that prides themselves on top quality gear for hardcore paddlers.

They are a great bunch of western PA river rats.

Actually they are a great bunch of…
…western Md river rats!

I stand corrected

– Last Updated: Dec-23-04 12:48 PM EST –

I thought they were out of Confluence, PA because I have run into some of their employees on the middle and lower Yough......but I called the shop this morning and they are out of Friendsville, MD and the upper Yough.

Thanks all
I measured everything again this morning and talked to John Mason on the phone. He seems really helpful so I think I’ll get it sorted out. After a pep talk from John and the advice above I’m going to give it a real hard go and see if I can get it on. (Anybody know any tricks for getting it off with cold weak fingers?)

Getting It Off
is nowhere near as problematic as getting it on. Push loop forward and pull back. Amazing how fast you can it when running out of air. :slight_smile:


The push forward is the key. Once it starts it should peel off normally. I have seen one boat where the coaming gap was tight and the rand tended to stay wedged in place, but it was easily popped off with a standard rim-clearing thumbsweep.

Forecast for tomorrow
6’ swells from the west with 20 second period !

We’re thinking about going down to Mexico next week to surf the big reef there.

NE Forcast Is For 6’-12’
depending on how far north one goes. I am definitely heading out tomorrow. Looks like I on my own so I got to pick my break carefully.

The adrenaline is starting to ratchet up ever so slowly as the day goes go on. :slight_smile:

I just finished another pair of fins that I want to try tomorrow.


Did you try it while sitting in the boat
My custom-made Snapdragon skirt did not go on when I tried to put it on the coaming without sitting in the kayak. It was a couple of inches shorter than my newspaper tracing, and I wondered if they had goofed.

It was tight enough that I had to sit in the cockpit and use the same technique I use for installing bicycle road tires on rims. Start at the rear of the coaming, then use both hands on both sides to simultaneously stretch the skirt forward while holding the edge over the lip on both sides. Sometimes it feels as though I need 3 hands to get the last bit on.

I figured they sized it that way because skirts stretch slightly as they get used.

One thing that helps is they become easier to put on after the first installation of the day. Getting wet seems to stretch them temporarily. But that first time of the day is always a struggle.

Getting the skirt off is easy, though.