Skirt for RM Avocet?

Oddly enough, my Snapdragon skirt that fits my glass Avocet does not fit the plastic Avocet I just purchased. The glass is an '07, the plastic is an '06.

I need to find a different skirt manufacturer and am looking for suggestions from folks. Any other Avocet paddlers here? What skirt do you use?

Valley skirt

– Last Updated: Sep-05-10 7:42 PM EST –

Does the glass boat have an ocean cockpit? If they both have keyhole cockpits it should fit both. I have a Valley neo skirt that fits my glass Nordkapp LV, my plastic Valley Storm surf boat and my friend's plastic Avocet. My understanding is that all current Valley boats (except the ocean cockpits) have the same combing size. Try this,1579.html
Good Luck

I second the Kayak Centre
Great service and a very good price on the Valley-logo’d sprayskirt, which is made by Seals.

I bought the sprayskirt for my AvocetLV there (small tunnel;medium deck)and I’m happy.

Thank you both! Exactly the help I was looking for. Thanks for the link; I will give their skirt a shot.

They’re both keyhole, but it absolutely will not fit side to side–there’s about a quarter inch gap on both sides and it won’t seat under the combing tight enough to stay there. Very strange I thought.

Valley skirt
Nothing fits Valley coamings better than the Valley branded skirt. My one caveat is that it is not a reinforced deck and every T-rescue creates a tear/hole in the skirt.

I have the all neo Valley skirt but stopped using it because of it holing. I find that Seals 1.4 or Snapdragon Medium deck neo skirts fit Valley keyhole coamings.

Doesn’t sound good
Is it real thin neoprene? That’s a bit discouraging. I paddle with folks who can’t roll and T-rescues are the go-to if they come out of their boats.

If it’s thin, does it leak heavily in surf?

Thanks for your reply.

No problems with mine

– Last Updated: Sep-06-10 9:34 PM EST –

I've done rescues without any problem, and that includes hauling a fully loaded Pintail across the deck followed by the 185 lb paddler.

The husband has a regular SEALs Shocker and, yes, his is heavier, but I wouldn't exactly call mine "thin neoprene". His doesn't leak but neither does mine; in fact, it's the best keep-the-cockpit- dry spray skirt I've ever had.

Time will tell, of course. Prior to this skirt I've had Snapdragon neoprene and a Reed, which hasn't been the best for keeping me dry. The Reed is my "summer skirt". If you go with any of the SEALs brands, the Avocet will take a M deck; the tunnel size is up to you.

Randed Seal Kayak Spray Skirt

– Last Updated: Sep-07-10 11:49 AM EST –

When I first purchased my Avocet RM (2006 version) I also had problems getting a spray skirt to fit properly. I found that 'simple' bungie style decks seemed to just slide off the cockpit coaming under rolling, deep sculling or heavy bracing. That included decks from both Snap Dragon and Reed.

The recommendation from the folks at New England Small Craft was the Seal Randed Spray Deck (deck size 1.4 as Jim cites above):

I could not be happier with the Seals deck. The rubber rand seals very well around the Avocet RM coaming. This nice tight and provides for a pretty water resistant seal.

Fwiw, according to the the staff at the Kayak Centre/GRO Seal manufactures the 'Valley' logo-ed spray decks for them. I believe Seal uses its straight 'Shocker' model without any edge reinforcement.

Not thin, but not reinforced

– Last Updated: Sep-07-10 11:32 AM EST –

The Valley branded skirt does keep the cockpit drier than either the Seals or Snapdragon. I found it just doesn't hold up as well to abuse such as T-rescues. I stopped using mine after the 4th or 5th hole - though Aquaseal works well for repairs.

I had a conversation with John Carmody about this as well. He had gotten one for his wife who loved it until he borrowed it and put tears in it doing T-rescues ;-)

A difference might be that both John and I were using the skirt on composite boats. Maybe it is not as prone to tearing/holing when on a poly coaming?

Immersion Research
I use IR Special K, Large cockpit. Warning though, very hard to put on.

Valley skirt or no?
After the first few responses, I was just about to order one. My medium deck 'Dragon just doesn’t seem to be quite wide enough. After a good soaking it’s acceptable, but I do a lot of rolling, and would appreciate a drier cockpit. Mine is the Glacier model, I believe, and getting a bit worn, so I blamed it on the fabric tunnel. A neo tunnel would surely help, but it’s a bit much for the Florida climate, and a struggle to put on. I probably use my old Avocet RM more than any other boat I own, so I would be happy to buy a dedicated spray skirt for it. I won’t be doing T-rescues with it, so that will not be a problem. Is that the only weakness we are talking about here? I would like to see this thread continue for awhile, as it will influence future decisions re: my next skirt purchase. Until then, I will just keep sponging out after several rolls. Thanks for the advice.

Your call
I have yet to see a bungeed sprayskirt that stays on Avocet RM rim AND keeps water out.


– Last Updated: Sep-07-10 10:57 AM EST –

I cannot comment on paddling in the Sunshine State. I paddle Northeastern waters, and I am only using neo decked skirts. As I have already stated and revised above, I have not had good luck with any 'bungee' style spray skirts on my Avocet poly/RM boat. They tend to slip-off.

Note: bungee perimeter skirts work just fine on my composite cockpits. Do not use a Randed (rubber-edged) skirt on a composite boat. They will be extremely difficult to remove and could pose a safety hazard.

Rubber randed vs bungeed?
I have to be sure I understand your terms here. Is my Snapdragon what? Is it the same,or different, from the Seal’s made for Valley? I only use neoprene decked skirts, not nylon, but the tunnel of my Snapdragon is fabric. Supplex, I think they call it. I have owned two whitewater skirts in the past with what I call rubber rands. They were raw rubber, with no covering whatsoever, and very hard to put on or remove. They were virtually leak proof, but I would rather sponge out regularly than go that route. Salty, are you out there?

No problem

– Last Updated: Sep-07-10 4:04 PM EST –

All the Snap Dragon spray decks I have used a bungee.
The 'Valley' spray deck made by Seal uses a bungee.
In other words the manufacturer has sewn in an elastic bungee cord along the perimeter of the spray skirt.

Randed decks are most offer seen on whitewater boats. The have a rubberized perimeter (not a bungee cord) that 'grabs' the cockpit coaming of the plastic/poly boat. In this case it is the coaming of my Avocet RM. This makes for a nice "keep out most water" seal. Yes, my Randed skirt is a bit more difficult to mount to the cockpit when compared to putting a bungeed skirt on my composite boat, but I would much rather put up with the effort than having a bungeed deck release from the plastic coaming at very inopportune times. Proper fit is key, because there is not as much 'give' in a Randed deck. Again, bungee fabricated decks are fine for composite boats and some get away with them on poly kayaks. YMMV.

Valley skirt
I would get the Valley, it fits, it stays on and keeps you dry. As mentioned it probably will not hold up to excessive T-rescue practice but if you are not an instructor teaching it daily you won’t have a problem. I’ve done a half dozen or so in the last year and mine shows no wear.

Valley branded skirt
I’ve got the GRO “Valley” neoprene skirt for my Pintail (ocean cockpit) and I do wish it were reinforced around the edge, like the IR skirts, but I think it’s held up pretty well nonetheless. I’ve done lots of t-rescues with my boat, and while the skirt shows some wear, I’d say it’s doing pretty well.

The AvocetLV is a composite boat…
…as for it being used in doing lots of T rescues: no, I haven’t had to do that many.

As I said, time (and a few fully-loaded Cetii, Pintails, Explorers and the other boats my paddling pod uses, not to mention a few 6’7"/250+ men)will tell.

Thank you all
I appreciate everyone taking the time to discuss the options out there and your experiences with them. This has been very helpful. I was all set to order the Seal Valley one this morning, but I’m going to take a day or so to mull over the pros and cons presented and then decide. Many thanks to all of you.

Final update
I repeatedly tried calling the Kayak Centre in RI and could not get through. Not sure what the problem was–I dialed every number on their website and they all went to a fax number screech. With the help of CapnKen off board, I learned that the Avocet specific skirt they had was in a tunnel size that was way too big for me.

So I ordered the Seals Shocker 1.4 through Austin Canoe and Kayak. Those folks are a class outfit and I will henceforth be doing all of my on line purchases through them.

Long story short, the Seals skirt is fabulous. It fits the boat perfectly and kept me dry through some very wet surf launches and landings. I am happy.

Many, many thanks again to all of you who had advice to give. It was super helpful! And special thanks to CapnKen for his off board help.