Like a lot of things in many sectors, the supply chain for kayaking gear seems extremely limited at this time. I am trying to buy a spray skirt (I’m in the USA) and am finding it exceedingly difficult to get one that fits my criteria.
I want it to be neoprene (I kayak Lake Superior), fit me (@34 waist) and my boat (WS Tempest 170) and not cost a fortune.
Seems like every source has 1 or two left in odd sizes.
I ran into the same problem buying paddles for my wife and I.
Anyone else noticing the same and see an end in sight?
Or know of anyplace with a secret stash of spray skirts?
Hit up the whitewater shops/forums. Your Tempest cockpit is a fairly standard size and in many cases, there aren’t significant differences between WW and Touring neoprene skirts.
Try Oak Orchard?
It looks like they may have some neoprene in stock. I’ve always been satisfied with their service.
Seals does not sell direct. You can order a Seals skirt (custom or otherwise) through any dealer though.
Let me check. I may have a neoprene skirt that would fit your cockpit (34" x 18" if the current spec information is correct.) I’ve picked up skirts over the years that turned out not to fit any of my boats, usually because my cockpits are 30" to 35" long but closer to 20" wide. I get 34-36" waist skirts.
Also check with Matt at Umingmaq Outfitters in Wisconsin - he has some stock in the PeakUK neoprene skirts. I just returned one to him a couple of weeks ago that proved to be too at least an inch too narrow for the coaming on my 35" by 20" composite Avatar. It was what PeakUK calls their “keyhole” size. I know his stock was low but the PeakUKs are nice and reasonably priced. I swapped that one for a nylon bungee skirt for the Avatar and am very happy with the quality and fit. The “keyhole” size nylon size fits perfectly but the same size in the rand/neo version was just a bit too small, leading me to think it would fit yours handily. It was just over $100.
ll check through the bucket-o-skirts in my basement to see if I have one in your size range and send you pics ( if you want something even cheaper). I end up with these because I have snagged skirts on sale during my various travels, usually so cheap that it has been worth the risk of having them fit any of my boats. the fact that so many outfitters at tourism destination shifted in the past decade from kayak to SUP rentals and sales has meant I have found many close-out bargains in the dusty recesses of their shops. I once snagged $250 worth of higher end skirts (Kokatat, Seals and Snapdragon) for $60 at a Lake Tahoe shop. I mailed them back home for $15 (too bulky to fit in my luggage), kept the one that did fit and sold the other two for $50 each. Free nice skirt plus $25 in my pocket was a pretty good deal.
Update: I do have a skirt that might work for you. It is an older Immersion Research rand skirt in size XL. Their XL is for boats with a coaming diameter of 91 to 95 inches.
According to their size charts, your Tempest 170 is 88 inches and they recommend an L (with their range being 84 to 90 inches on the L.) Per my experience with rand skirts, unless you have arms like The Rock, trying to pull on (or off) one from a coaming that is at the high end of a size range can be a real trial. Even the dealers will admit this is the case and will often recommend the next size up from what the maker charts suggest.
This skirt is unlike any IR now sells though the rand portion is identical to their current models in having the whole wrapped perimeter a separate ring of neoprene. like these:
(note the prices!). But this one I have has a deck that is neoprene in the front 12" then transitions with a very well sealed seam to what seems to be a breathable laminate of very sturdy fabric. I did the “blow through” test on it and got no condensation. This transitions at the top of the tunnel to neoprene again, in this case one that is adjustable to waist size by compression straps. Also has adjustable suspenders and a huge grab loop with a tygon tubing sheath, even a cross strap across the front of the deck which would facilitate panic removal if you fumbled the loop. I recall that got it from a guy on Craigslist for $50 about 4 years ago – looked never used and I have not had it on a boat.
Actually a pretty nice skirt and I admit I was bummed it would not fit any of my boats due to the wider coamings. I only kept it because I had eventually hoped to have a composite boat and figured it might fit – I finally found my dream FG kayak last month and, alas it is also a 20’ wide coaming and the rand just pops off the sides.
So look at the photos below and consider if you might want it. If you do and are willing to pay $40 for it plus $10 for shipping I’d be happy to find it a home.
Yup, some of my favorite pieces of paddling stuff are IR. The construction and material quality on this skirt is outstanding. I can see why their rand skirts are $200 and up.
Is a skirt like that meant for rolling? I’ve never used a non-100% neoprene skirt so I’m just curious. My favorite skirt and the one I kept is a custom made IR neoprene. It’s super tight and thick and I trust it completely. If I end up with an Isel, it’ll fit it.
Pru, you keep resisting the inevitable with the Isel.
Ha! No kidding. You should have heard the self-talk while I was on a quick paddle earlier. I was trying to convince myself I don’t need a kayak at all anymore for some crazy reason. I think I might have an amoeba in my brain.
That is what I was looking at myself like, too.
The only skirt really meant for rolling is the one attached to a tuilik.
Another tip: If you look on Umingmaq Touring Center’s on line catalog it says that the keyhole neoprene PeakUK Explorer deck in your size (Keystone with the XL tunnel – Brits are slimmer than us so XL is 34’“36”) is backordered. But he may not have yet put the one I mailed back to him two weeks ago back onto the website stock so call him anyway. Very nice guy! I think you would like this skirt (though I was wrong about the price, it’s $129, still half what a new IR neo rand skirt goes for).
Thanks for the great info and offer. I was out tonight on a local lake for a sunset paddle and rescue practice. 3 of us on the lake with a few beavers, loons and bats.
I’ll measure my boat tomorrow and let you know.
Thanks all for the great leads and info.