Spray Skirt recommendations

I am planning on getting a spray skirt so I can start trying to learn some rolls, braces etc. I am looking at either the Snap Dragon Sea Trek or the Seal Spray Extreme Tour; both of these are neoprene bases with fabric tubes. Here’s the question: I live in SW Florida and paddle in rivers and bays-not very challenging conditions. Would an all nylon skirt be adequate? I don’t mind the extra cost of neoprene but I worry that it may be overkill and also worry about the heat factor.

Thoughts and suggestions?



Snap dragon is hard to beat!
We’ve got four of em.

some rolls, braces etc.
My experience has been that nylon decked sprayskirts tend to come off or implode when rolling, bracing, etc…

Chillcheater deck. Much cooler than neo, easy on/off with drawstring tunnel, stays on boat, keeps water out and is durable beyond its appearance. About same cost too. Both Seals and Snapdragon make very nice products too and stand behind them.

Spray skirt
depends on the boat. Snap Dragon neoprene works great on my QCC which has a real sharp composite edge but slips right off my CD Sirocco which has a rounded plastic edge.

Open the tube in hot/humid conditions
That’s what I do with my SnapDragon skirts. Except for the WW skirt, they all have nylon tubes with adjustable Velcro bands at the top. You can mix and match deck size and tube size.

nylon tunnel?
I have several neoprene Snapdragon skirts they are well made and durable. I also have an old Seals skirt that has lasted a long time.

I can’t comment from my own prior experience, but I can’t imagine a skirt with a nylon tunnel not letting in quite a bit of water when you roll. Even skirts with neoprene tunnels let in a bit.

Not bad
I find enough water accumulates that I want to sponge out after about a dozen rolls. The amount from a couple rolls is not noticeable.

Even when I had a skirt with a baggy nylon top and suspenders, it was usable (with PFD snugged down on top). That’s what I used when learning to roll.

Just make sure you cinch the Velcro top down.

Seals Extreme Tour x 2

– Last Updated: May-04-09 3:38 PM EST –

Use this skirt (in two different sizes) happily on all three of my boats: composite, thermaform and plastic.

And Seals definetely stands behind their product.

Was once talking to a person from Seals at an industry event, and described how I'd fixed one of their skirts with Marine Goo.

Oh, he said, that was a problem we had in the past; we fixed that problem. Can we send you a new model of the same skirt that won't have that problem. Did not even want the old skirt sent back!

You don't know who you're dealing with, until there are problems.

Seals: You can't beat that for customer service!


Immersion Research Excursion
is another one to check out, breathable tunnel and light/medium gray instead of black. I have a black Sea Trek that’s never been used because I liked the IR skirt better.

You should try
roughing up the underside of the poly rim with some very coarse sandpaper, 40 grit. work parallel to the edge of the rim, it gives the bungee something to grip. Also a little Sex Wax sometimes helps.

For rolling you’ll want a neoprene deck at minimum, the nylon decks will likely implode when you roll. The neo deck doesn’t effect the temperature much. I’ve got a few and the combo fabric tube and neoprene adjuster is pretty comfy and secure.

The all neo tube does get hot.

Bill H.

got rid off the neo and
changed to Reed (Chillcheater).

For hotter climates there are way superior to neoprene. Not hot and don’t stink, dry fast and light.

For big water in cold places some neos are easier to put on when in a hurry (launching/rescue).

Reed not as durable for rescues (easier to damage around coaming than some reinforced neo skirts)

Reed also makes outstanding paddling gear out of the same material as their decks.

The bomb, really…

I’ve never had a problem…

…with neo.

Even in the heat of summer.

That having been said, my thermostat is a bit off. I like the neo skirts.

Heat less of an issue once you can roll
Once you have the roll, and/or a good scull, you can drop down into the water to cool off. A nylon or other non-stretchy fabric skirt actually will inhibit that opportunity, because you’ll find that it pulls off too easily when you twist around.

As to fabric/velcro closure tunnel, the former doesn’t let in enough water to be a big deal assuming it is hitched up decently under your PFD. If you have a longer torso that I do, maybe that stops working so well. But I have a couple of each, and on a hot day I’d rather have the fabric tunnel with a good closure for the reason that pikabike names. And it doesn’t produce nearly as embarrassing a squirm trying to get in by the launch. If you are doing surf or WW the neo tunnel can help, but for general paddling it shouldn’t matter.

What Sapien said
Good compromise without losing the functionality that you’re looking for.

See you on the water,


The River Connection, Inc.

Hyde Park, NY


Reed Spray decks
Great to hear you guys are enjoying the Reed gear. Like you said dragging the rough surface of a boat over the Reed spray deck material can cut into the material easily. The beauty is that it is easily repaired with iron on seam tape. As the North American Distributor for Chillcheater I am happy to send you some repair tape at no charge should you need it.


Chris Mitchell

Reed North America

Immersion Research
Looking at everything, I just ordered an Immersion Research skirt.

Thanks everyone for your help!