Pungo Skirt issue


I’m fairly new to kayaking and just brought my pungo 120 to the ocean for the first time. I’m having an issue with the skirt. Because the cockpit opening is so huge and the sides are fairly straight the skirt kept coming off when waves crashed on top, and the boat would start to swamp. I know the Pungo 120 isn’t the ideal boat for ocean waves, but its the boat I have and lakes and rivers are fun, but the ocean is fun too, so I dont want to miss out on the option.

does anyone know how I can keep the skirt from caving in due to waves? I already tightened the cord as much as I could, but that isn’t enough.


Not fixable and not that boat
As you said, the boat is not supposed to be in waves like in the ocean. So skirts for that boat are also not designed to keep waves out.

If you want to paddle both recreational and open water, I suggest you look around for outfitters that may be selling off some of their rental or school fleet to find a beat up boat suitable for ocean waters - two bulkheads, smaller cockpit and perimeter line.

smaller cockpit, neoprene skirt
or smaller water.


– Last Updated: Sep-28-15 10:26 AM EST –

What you are experiencing is called implosion. And it is one reason why kayaks for use in the sea have smaller cockpits. The weight of water on that huge area of the Pungo cockpit is too much to keep it snug on the coaming. Also, you should not be taking that boat into the sea without installing a flotation bag in the front hull to compensate for lack of a bulkhead there. If the boat gets swamped (highly likely with an incompetent sprayskirt) it will sink nose down and tail in the air and you will not be able to recover from a capsize. It really is the wrong boat, even a dangerous choice, for coastal conditions. You would not take a golf cart on an interstate highway, which is analogous to what you are trying to do kayak-wise.

Pungos are popular and have decent resale value, so one option I would suggest would be to sell it and use the money to upgrade to a slightly longer boat with dual bulkheads and a standard cockpit (roughly 34" x 19" is about standard and still large enough for most people to easily enter.) Such a boat will still be plenty of fun on lakes and rivers, in some cases more fun because it will be a little faster and you will be able to take it wherever you want safely. And since longer boats will typically be narrower, many will weigh the same or less than a 49 lb Pungo 120. I've got 4 sea touring kayaks from 14' to 18' and all weigh less than your boat.

wrong boat
thanks for the replies guys. Seems like a pretty universal “dont do that” message. I’ll start the search for a better suited boat for the ocean.

agree with above
Pungo is a recreational class kayak. Made for flat water, and also made such that when/if you flood the cockpit, you will swim to shore.

To give an idea, Seals brand skirts has a sizing guide that using numbers that roughly correspond to the size (the larger the number, the larger the skirt) at http://www.sealsskirts.com/sizing/fitter.php. Pungo takes a size 7. The most common size for a sea kayak or whitewater kayak seems to be 1.4 to 2.2.

It may be good to take a coastal kayaking class before swapping out boats. This may help give you some background info that may come in useful when selecting a boat.

Yup, that’s a better idea
If you could find a neoprene skirt that would actually keep water out of the Pungo and you could get on the front without it pulling off the back, the price would likely be jaw dropping.

I have a Pungo 140 in the fleet
For paddling creeks and rivers. I have other kayaks for the Gulf. Pungo’s are great but they don’t belong on big water.

Pungo in the ocean
The skirt on the Pungo is more like a spray cover on a canoe as the Pungo is more like a decked canoe. For rough water you need to outfit it like a white water canoe. That means complete white water outfitting and dual electric bilge pumps. For a few hundred dollars, you can have a lot of fun in the surf.

On the other hand the Pungo is not a good white water boat for rivers because the deep hull catches on every shallow rock, so if you really want to paddle a canoe in rough water a different canoe might be better. If you want to paddle a kayak in the ocean then I’d suggest a surf ready SOT (Sit on top) or a SINK (Sit inside) with a small cockpit and a neoprene skirt.