Seals ‘Sneak’ vs ‘Fitness’ sprayskirt

Hoping anyone here with experience with either a Seals Fitness (first photo) or Sneak (second photo) model sprayskirt would offer a product opinion.



I currently use a Seals SplashDeck. It is nice - but not much help when it gets too windy (not forecasted), while in open water conditions.

It will be for a CD Kestrel 140 recreational Kayak. Seals recommends size 2.5 for this boat. Even though it is Summertime - Florida hot and humid - I know this will add safety for windy conditions paddling open, occasionally choppy water (estuary, not ocean).

We are a very shallow water lagoon (except the ICW’s 12 ft average depth) - and the Kestrel 140 isn’t exactly a tender boat. So rolling is less likely, but wet exits may very likely be needed where I paddle. There have been three close-calls with Manatee encounters (one of them, startled while resting below in obscured water as I paddled unknowingly over it, lifted the stern, for a very brief moment, completely above the water’s surface - and gently let it back down as it rushed away - lucky for me!). There were two bad days, recently, where highly confused water, created by large boat wake and winds, made me realize it was time, and better, to have and use a full cockpit skirt out there - and finally, with business opening up a bit more, find a coach for recovery practice :wink:. I saw somewhere on the internet, that a school near St. Augustine has a morning class conducted in the estuary and an afternoon session, including roll recovery, in the ocean. That seems ideal.

I would like to have one of these before signing up for safety classes, using my own Kayak, later this Summer.



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Like you, I live on the Gulf of Mexico (on the MS Gulf Coast) and summer paddling is HOT. I swear by the Sneak as you can open it up if conditions are good. And, I roll with it also a little with my NDK Explorer. The Sneak is the only non-neoprene spray skirt I own & use because of it’s versatility during our blistering HOT season. Highly recommend the Sneak for summer months paddling in our region - and it works well in winter too.

Thank you kayakhank. You ‘da man. Very helpful reply.

I use the sneak as well. First time out with it on my Eddyline Sitka LT, I flipped (nothing to do with the skirt, just bad luck and a bad instinctive reaction on my part). Wet exit was no problem. I didn’t even have to think about it, just pushed out of the boat with my legs and the skirt released without touching or pulling the front handle.

I also love the versatility of the zipper to get some fresh air or to reach inside the cockpit to make adjustments.

One thing to note. In my limited experience, Seals’ suggested sizing yields a very tight fit which means you will need to use some muscle to get the skirt stretched out and installed on the coaming.

Thank you IraB. I liked the idea of convenient access, too. From what I’m reading, the design is good and materials used to make the ‘Sneak’ are too.

The SplashDeck and another Seals product I have, a cockpit all weather cover (used for car topping during highway travel), were very tight fitting, initially. Frequent use eventually made the bungees easier to manage while still providing a good seal.

Thanks again,

The sneak is the only one I have experience with. I like it because it can be unzipped when you get warm. This is good and bad however. If you are running in cold water and you unzip, then run through a trough in a boat that pushes through waves, you can watch the water come back along the deck to drop a wake up call on the fellas. While this is exciting, it isnt the type of exciting you are looking for.

For me, if the water is that cold, I’m wearing a dry suit and the fellas are happy and dry :wink:

I have a fitness skirt for my 18X due to the breathable fabric and the lighter color ( I prefer to avoid black for the summer Florida heat ). I ordered mine with a zipper for ventilation. Works OK in calmer conditions, but the zipper leaks a significant amount water if you are in rougher conditions where waves are flooding your deck.

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Thank you Greg. I would like to look into that. Was it arranged directly with Seals or through a dealer?

I corresponded with Seals to discuss options but then ordered through my local dealer.

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The water doesnt have to be that cold, you just have to be warm…

I agree with the other sneak owners but would add that the mesh zipper pockets are very useful/convenient. It is nice to have a place to store things in a place that is easily within reach without being required to open hatches or release the skirt.

Sincere thanks to everyone who made suggestions and shared their experiences with these two sprayskirt models.

Paddled 3 hours today while using the ‘Sneak’. I went ashore on a couple of our spoil islands to make adjustments to the skirt’s suspenders, relocate my water bottles (easier to reach through the zipper), and to practice getting into and out of the kayak, while wearing it. The Seals 2.5 Sneak is a perfect fit. Clearly, it added the higher level of safety to open water paddling that was hoped for.

Yeah - it’s warm enough here (Florida in June). But not bothersome. Besides - no one moves to Florida to be cold, right?

The zipper is unusual - but it keeps water out 100%. If that’s the same zipper they would put in their ‘Fitness’ model, I would prefer that fabric (and tan color) for the next kayak (hoping to build one).

Thanks again, to every one of you, for your help.


Needing a second skirt for a North Shore Freewater (Trek) - contacted a Seals Dealer about ordering a custom fit Seals Fitness, only to learn how backordered they currently are. So, took a chance purchasing a stock Seals 1.2 Fitness. It fit the North Shore’s small cockpit perfectly.

Greg, thank you for recommending the Seals Fitness (1.2). It is a much better fabric for Florida.


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@canoedoc You mentioned recently contacting Seals and finding out how back ordered they are. Can you elaborate on that a bit?

I’ve been looking at a Seals Sneak for my kayak, but I don’t understand why the default color for most of Seals skirts is black. Especially for paddling in hot weather, it seems like a lighter-colored skirt would make more sense. On the Seals website it looks like there’s an option to order the Sneak in Gray, so I’ve been considering that.

What kind of wait did they say you’d be looking at for a custom order?

1890, I can’t remember exactly, but it was weeks of waiting. One of my kayaks requires a custom fit skirt. Seals never responded, so I phoned Chris, at Outdoorplay’s customer support desk (an excellent Oregon sporting goods company and a Seals dealer). He regularly communicates with Seals and knew the specific details about their backlog and wait times for different Seals products. Outdoorplay sells direct, online, and are Amazon sellers too.

My North Shore’s coaming is a bit smaller than the Avocet. I recently used one for some training. Seals’ size chart indicated a 1.3 for that kayak. Chris assured me that if I wanted to try the (grey) 1.2 Fitness, I could. And if it didn’t fit, there would be no problem returning it.

It worked out just fine. The Fitness’ material is very Florida friendly, too (as mentioned earlier in this thread by gstamer). Hope this helps.

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FYI I ordered a custom Fitness skirt in April via REI and it took 3 months.

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