Spray Skirt ??

I’m wondering if my spray skirt leaks too much. I have the correct size neoprene Immersion Research skirt for an Explorer, can’t remember the model skirt, had it for a little over a year.(It looks most like this model) http://www.immersionresearch.com/products/sprayskirts/shockwave/

There are no rips or holes that I can find and I always check to make sure the rand? is seated properly under the coaming. I clean it i fresh water after every trip and drip dry indoors.

I did a few sculling braces with almost half the skirt submerged but I can’t see how that much water entered, even through the top of the tunnel, snug fit and just not that much time. The water seems to soak into the top of the skirt but I am not expecting beading.

It could be the drips from my GP but still not that much water in five hours. The water pools between my back and the coaming and where I feel I am taking on water.

After 5 hours I am sitting in gallons of water, no hole in the boat.

Is this common? Par for the course? Are there better skirts?

Plastic or composite? If plastic,
does the rand feel loose about a third back from the front of the cockpit? I had skirts that would leak there for two reasons. First, sometimes water would ram against the rand so hard that some would be pushed under and into the cockpit. Second, my kayaks did not have drain channels for the depression around the cockpit rim, and when the boat was chilled by waves or by a change from sun to shade, water could be siphoned under the rand by reduced pressure inside the hull.

It is possible that the rand is not tight enough, notwithstanding IR’s usually good recommendations.

Now, if it’s a composite boat (of which I have several), then you have the wrong kind of skirt. You need a bungee skirt.

The amount of water you report getting into the boat is certainly too much if it is coming only from the skirt.

Shouldn’t be that much water inside
I have the LV Explorer and use a SnapDragon skirt sized for the LV coamings. After doing a lot of rolling and sculling, some water does get inside (mostly through the Velcro/neoprene/nylon tunnel opening, I think). But it’s nowhere near the quantity you are talking about.

Are you SURE the skirt has no tears or slits in it? Hold it up to the light and look over the entire skirt. Sometimes neoprene can have a slit that the nylon fabric backing covers up.

It’s a
composite NDK Explorer. If I have the wrong skirt that would explain a lot. It is a long keyhole cockpit but the fit seems snug and I make sure it’s not doubled over or misaligned most of the time. i did look at an IR skirt with a large white bungee and was told it was more for white water. I did a dry fit out in the parking lot and it would have been a bear to pull off. The salesperson advised the skirt I have because the one with the bungee would cut easier on the sharper composite coaming.

I have a friend with a Bughead and that style seems to make more sense for water run off…but they aren’t around any more.

I need to figure out what to buy me for Christmas and a skirt is number one on the list.

OK, good, composite boat, bungee
skirt. I should have looked closer at what you linked. Is there a chance that your composite RIM is so deep that the bungee is not seating properly? You could put the skirt on the rim without you in the boat, so that you can peer and feel under the rim.

And, when the skirt is on the boat, does the skirt deck fabric pull tight against the cockpit rim all around? This is the second line of defense, the first being that the bungee makes good contact against the cockpit rim under the lip.

Are your hatch wells properly drained? There should be drain channels for both the cockpit rim well and for the hatch wells. If water sits in those depressions, temperature change siphoning can pull water into the boat. Of course you need to inspect all screws, and the skeg well if you have one.

have a small hole just below the deck to relieve pressure, not coming from there and there was no water in my compartments, just the cockpit.

Since I am in the market for a skirt anyway, I guess it would be best to ask who has an Explorer and what brand skirt they are using. I am not expecting dry, just less.

What are you using and why do you like it? Drips, overall fit and comfort, ease of release?

get a
spray deck instead , and by the way ask any diver neoprene isn’t waterproof

It’s close enough to waterproof that
a properly fitting skirt, used by a paddler with a drytop and tight skirt mating, will have no discernible water infiltration. In summer, with no rolling but plenty of sloshing, I have no wetness on the underside of the skirt. In winter there’s just a little condensation.

Your results not "par for the course"
If the skirt isn’t compromised, sounds like you have a fit issue. For a point of comparison for you, during a session of surfing or rolling practice in my composite Avocet I may sponge out a couple cups of water twice in an afternoon - nowhere near the “sitting in gallons” you describe. I use a Seals Pro Shocker skirt. Christmas is coming…

Depends entirely on what you’re wearing with the skirt, if you have a double tunnel drytop or drysuit it should stay relatively dry. If you wear much of anything else it’ll leak. Carry a pump and pump it out once in awile.

Bill H.

Check where your coaming rim is glassed to the deck on the inside of the cockpit to see if there are any holes in the layup where water could come in – this is an NDK we’re talking about. Their QC isn’t the best.

And, how high is the coaming rim from the deck? They do vary. My better half’s Explorer LV’s coaming is very low to the deck, and sometimes a real bear to get the skirt on correctly.

Most likely, it is the fit of the skirt, but the other things are good to check.

Possible sources of leak

– Last Updated: Nov-24-09 10:24 AM EST –

Before you go for a new skirt, check to see if the lip of the coaming is deep enough that the skirt really gets around it. One of the variable things (QC issue) in NDK boats is that the coaming can be somewhat erratic in terms of height above the deck, and depth of the lip. We have two NDK boats among the fleet, and while mine came in with just about perfect set on the coaming the other boat had to have that adjusted. (Hair dryer to soften and slightly reshape and a little sanding)

Another possibility is that you are pulling the skirt looser on the coaming in back, behind the seat. Especially if you are getting more of a problem sculling - I assume you are lying in the water some. While the space from the backband to the rear coaming is quite close in NDK boats compared to some others, the rear of the cockpit is still a decent width. It might be that the shape of the skirt you are using assumes a more rounded and narrower shape at and behind your hips.

Last, look at the same shape issue forward around the thigh braces, where the cockpit does a keyhole shape. That area is not round, as in some less key-holed boats, so cuts in a bit.

If all those check out, and you don't find any apparent holes (which I suspect you'd have already discovered anyway), you just may need to tighten up the skirt around your waist somehow.

BTW, I have an extra small (neo) deck sprayskirt from Snapdragon for my Explorer LV - smaller cockpit but not dissimilar shape, just a bit shorter proportionally. It is hardly bone dry, but I don't get anywhere near the kind of water you are talking about.

Sag behind the back is culprit
I have the same issue if I use a neoprene (Harmony) skirt that has a sag behind me. The constant drip from GL paddle onto the skirt causes water to pond behind me, and it eventually works its way onto the seat.

I thought having a wet ass was part of the GL paddling experience. I recently got a new skirt, which entailed looking up the proper size for my boat in the Seals catalog and buying the appropriate skirt, which is not neoprene. I was amazed that I went paddling and my butt stayed dry. At least while near-new, the Seals doesn’t leak, and the sagging water-pocket behind me is gone. The water rolls off to the side.

Do check for leaks around the combing, but you might try a different skirt and see if you stay dryer. You may have other issues, but I think if you are paddling around with a pond behind your back, you will take in water. This may be a fit issue as much as neoprene vs. other material. My old skirt just had too much material between my back and the rear of the combing, and no matter how much I tried to pull the skirt up my chest, water always accumulated in that low, sagging spot behind my back.


skirts and coamings
I have always enjoyed large amounts of water in the cockpit of my Explorer if rolling or playing in waves. So much that periodic pumping is required just to keep the sloshing from screwing with balance. Even with casual flatwater paddling I will have 1/2-inch of water sloshing in the cockpit after an hour or so just from GP drippage.

I have always assumed it is the long straight (relatively) sections of the coaming. The bungie just can’t apply pressure there like it does on a curve.

I was astonished when I completed my Sea Rider with a much smaller, rounder coaming. Even though I didn’t even have a skirt to fit it, and have used my Bughead tuiliq that was made to fit the Explorer, the SeaRider is the single driest kayak I have ever paddled. I could paddle for hours and be bone dry inside, except maybe for what I brought in or sweated out. Even in rolling I only got as much water, with a loose tuiliq, hood down, as I would just paddling the NDK with any skirt I’ve tried.

I am convinced that if you want a dry kayak, you need a ROUND coaming, then you can probably get away with lacing a canvas skirt to it. Or maybe just pulling your shirt over it. It’s out of the way of the forward drippage, and even though I often have an aquarium behind my back with the loose tuiliq, it doesn’t get in. And that’s only 1.5mm neo.

My buddy Paul likes his WW skirt on the Explorer. He has to stretch like Hercules to get it on, but he has significantly less water after a surf session than I, but he’s still sloshing some. I can’t recall the logo I’ve seen on that skirt. It’s some Mountain Sealz something or other like that. Has a “rand”, a triangular wedge of rubber, not a bungie.

So. Get a sawzall, cut the NDK coaming out, build a strip-built style ocean coaming, and keep notes so you can tell me what not to do… : )

ThomasD, I think you’re right. Design of
a long cockpit rim so that the skirt will keep the water out is difficult. The designer has to keep enough arc in the quasi-straight sections so the skirt has purchase. But a rim that is more nearly round, tilted markedly for entry and exit, is much easier to “skirt.”

Round sounds interesting
I was looking at Bill’s Black Pearl sitting next to my Explorer thinking the very same thing. How to have an ocean cockpit where there was once a keyhole. I’m thinking I would have to cut down a rebuild a portion of the deck for it to look ok.

The drip behind the back has been the culprit all along when I think about it. In the summer it isn’t a problem but a few weeks ago I paddled in shorts and a dry top and guess where the water went. Right down the crack of my …

I was so use to some water I thought it leaked a lot all the time but upon further inspection, I spotted the real problem from Sunday. That dang fiberglass seat wore a hole from the inside, second boat in a row. Serves me right for being cheap and buying off Craigslist but at least I know how to fix it.

The skirt still leaks like a sieve

How is the seat installed?
I am wondering if you could glass it in to hang from the coaming… maybe get some clearance for foam.

Hard to tell until
I cut it out. It looks like it has been repaired before. There is a lot of goop under the deck at the top of the side seat support. Same thing happened on my Ellesmere, easy fix. Next topic might be what seat replacement is recommended. I have the wedge instead of a back band because I was getting pinched and I can paddle all day with the existing hard seat, maybe just re glassing under the seat is the best solution.

It has rained since Sunday so I left it on top of the truck, no cockpit cover and just a very slow drip. Some came in this way but I am betting behind my back is the primary source as I have felt that.

I have the same problem
with my Explorer and my Romany. I have 5 different skirts all with neoprene decks and a couple with the nylon tunnel. I even had a custom skirt made with less distance between the rear of the tunnel and the rear coaming. NO HELP, it still leaks. The Manf. claims that neoprene don’t leak but that is not true it does. The problem comes from paddling with the GP, water travels down te blade and drips off of my thumbs and pools around the tunnel deck seam and soon I am sitting in water after a couple of hours there will be a quart or so in the boat. This happens with all of my sprayskirts and all of my kayaks. The only kayak I own that doesn’t have this problem is a NDK Greenlander with an ocean cockpit, the drips end up on the foredeck and not on the sprayskirt.

Hey Belles

– Last Updated: Nov-27-09 12:54 AM EST –

Just wanted to add on the specific skirt that resolved my back-leak problem.

Mine is Seals Tropical Tour 1.2. The only tag I could find said "made in USA". I was trying to find the specific size. While I had it in my hand, I noticed the internal batten that runs side to side above my lap. The batten has an adjustable tension strap under the skirt, which I have never touched. Perhaps the batten is the solution, rather than the overall fit. The batten causes upward curvature between my torso and the front of the combing, and maybe that is what makes the water roll off and not gather behind my back. But this skirt fits snugly (maybe too snug) and there is no depression between my torso and the rear of the cockpit. Maybe a combination of fit, waterproofness of a new skirt, and sloping by the batten.

Here's a recommendation: Get with a dealer of quality spray skirts. Have him look up the specific size for your boat (if he can't, then wrong dealer). Have him look up mine, too (Azul Sultan). If their the same size, p.m. me and I'll mail you my skirt to try out. It will probably be a different size, and maybe your dealer or friends can let you try some of theirs. I think the skirt solved my drippage issue and think you can solve your problem with the right skirt.