I have a 2005 Current Designs Sirocco that is new to me. With it came a CD neo spray skirt. I am having a helluva time getting it on the coaming, and when I do get it on, the sides really don’t tuck under the edges of the coaming on the sides. It’s tucked nicely in the fore and aft though.
I’m concerned that if it’s under pressure (I’m planning to start leaning to surf & roll), it won’t hold. Also, frankly, putting it on after the many upcoming wet exits I’ll inevitably have to make while learning these skills is something I’m not looking forward to.
Is this skirt too small for the boat? Should it fully hug the underside of the coaming on all sides?
I have another nylon-neo Seals skirt that is a 2.2 (this boat is supposed to take a 1.7 according to the Seals chart). I tried it on and while it was much easier to put on this boat and it seems tight, I’m concerned it’ll pop off too simply because it’s not the size the Seals chart tells me it should be. So, how do you tell if you have a skirt that fits your kayak well? Is it trial and error? I’d like to avoid buying yet another skirt if I can help it! TIA!
Your #2 is the interim solution. You can practice rolling and surf smaller waves (3’ and under) with a slightly larger skirt. You’ll experience some leakage but nothing that will be “life threatening” as you wont’ be far out in bigger conditions that could result in an implosion. You’ll just have take shore break here and there to empty the boat before it collects enough water to affect handling/control (especially when you are surfing).
I say this because I’ve been longboat surfing for the last couple of years with a skirt that is one size larger than recommended for my boat. I just experienced an implosion a couple of weeks ago. But, that is in bigger surf than I think you would be taking on anytime really soon.
#3 get a new skirt but good luck. Seems to be really shortage and back logged with high end paddling equipment. Took me two months to finally locate a Seals neo skirt that specifically fitted to my boat. Took me as long to get a paddle in the shorter length that I want as well.
I have no idea, I’m afraid. It’s a Current Designs branded one that the previous owners used with the Sirocco, but there’s no other information on the skirt. The tag inside is worn completely so there’s no lettering left.
FWIW, I dislike the Seals neoprene skirts. I have always had Immersion Research and just returned both the Seals skirts I ordered for my new boat. IR does have some in stock on their website in case you are interested in checking them out (I am not affiliated even slightly). I am going to wait and get one from them when they have the size I need in stock again.
Oddly, this is one that’s hard to answer without putting it on myself. I include myself in those that are quite clumsy putting a spray skirt on the first many times I used one getting started. Thinking about it, maybe it’s natural to grab the end with your fingertips and try to pull it out around the front of the coaming with your fingers. Then you learn that you grab the end with your fingertips, but don’t pull forward with them. You roll your wrists back so that you’re stretching the skirt forward by pushing with the bases of your thumbs. What you thought was quite challenging turns out to be much less so.
If I stretch my skirt out around the back of my coaming, stretch it forward around the front, and it’s not tucked under all along the sides, I simply go around and push it down around the sides. Once it’s in place, I could make a judgement about whether it will remain in place. I have a Sirocco, among other kayaks, and I know we use different skirts with it. I just can’t remember anything being particularly problematic. But maybe your skirt is just too small.
You have learned one lesson already for surfing. Launching in the surf is often the time when you are in the biggest hurry to secure your skirt. It’s not completely unheard of, despite strong intentions to the contrary, to end up securing your skirt with the grab loop on the inside of the kayak. So maybe you’re over, your roll fails, or you don’t even attempt a roll because you’re being drug along and twisted around in a whitewater foam pile. You go for your grab loop, and realize it isn’t there. One might try grabbing at the material at the front of the coaming where the loop is attached, but it’s pretty tight right there. You now know that you run your hands down to the side of your coaming, and release the skirt from the side, as that’s where it will be much easier.
I’ve worn out Snapdragon, Seals, and Immersion Research neoprene skirts. The first points where they wear through for me are always right behind my back, on the deck portion between the tunnel and coaming. They have all been good for me. A couple of Immersion Research skirts did seem to hold up very well.
A few of things. First, and this may only matter to women, but the seam where the body tube connects to the deck part is not the least bit stretchy on the Seals. I was hoping it was just one of the skirts (I got 2 deck sizes to compare), but it was both. I find this really strange for an accessory that is supposed to stretch in general. That same seam on my IR skirt is plenty stretchy. So pulling the Seals skirt on over even my small hips was unpleasant and difficult. It was fine once on, but I decided it was a deal breaker. I also do not like the grab loop on the Seals. The Shockers have whistles built in and it hurt my hands when putting the skirts on. Again, this may be specific to me - I’ve had a lot of hand surgery. I could have lived with this, though. The webbing grab loops on my IR skirts are encased in clear plastic tubing and I found them much easier to use. Finally, I just didn’t find either Seals skirt fit well on my my boat. The correctly sized skirt seems to lack sufficient fabric, or something, and it makes the bungee sit less firmly in place on the coaming, like it could easily pop off. This might be specific to my boat, though. The one that was larger did not have this problem, but it was too large otherwise. The deck was quite saggy, and I knew that would be a problem for me on the water.
Someone mentioned about a nylon 1.7 being available - for surf and rolls, you definitely want neoprene, so that probably wouldn’t meet your needs. You likely could get away with one with an adjustable nylon tunnel (like Seals Extreme Tour one - that is what Is started with), but definitely would want a neoprene deck.
The basic fit of the neoprene deck should be where it gets over the coaming easy enough. Once on (and you sitting in the boat), if you twist your body around (like in a roll) it shouldn’t pop off anywhere (on misfitted ones, the sides sometimes pop off). And it should be on reasonably tight such that if you lift you leg up, it won’t easily pop off (hopefully this tells you it wouldn’t likely implode). And, of course, you should be comfortable taking it off.
Nylon decks often fail these tests. But given they aren’t really meant for more advanced conditions, that is fine.
I’ve been reasonably happy with Seals, but seems that the fit does vary for each boat, and I’ve never used with a Sirocco to know if it fits ok. Availability does appear to be a huge issue right now. For example, the NRS neoprene touring skirt in all sizes is listed as back ordered until December 2022. Not sure if you wan to do international shipping, but @Marshall in new York has some skirts available.
I had similar problems with several skirt models (including two all neoprene Seals skirts) not being wide enough for the coamings on a several of my boats. I ordered a British-made Peak UK skirt from Umingmaq Paddle Touring in southern Wisconsin and it fits snugly. Very helpful small outfitter who helped me choose the right size and let me exchange one that did not fit.
In general, with Seals skirts you seem to have to go up in size for the neoprene deck ones vs the nylon. Some of their sizing charts do indicate this. Like if a 1.7 nylon one fits your coaming you will likely need a 2.2 all neoprene.
Snapdragon did make wonderful skirts and backbands. As soon as I heard they were ending the business I sought out stock on hand and ordered replacements for my well-loved favorites while I still could.