Spray Skirts: Rubber Rand vs. Bunji????

I have always used a Snapdragon neoprene spray skirt with bunji deck attachment for both sea kayaking and whitewater.

It seems that the better whitewater skirts have a rubber rand. I have tried one once before but found it very hard to get on and off.

Why use rubber rand if you can get a good seal with bunji?

I recently got a new whitewater boat that came with a skirt with rubber rand. I am planning on selling it and keeping my bunji cord skirt, but should I reconsider?

Waht about for sea kayaks? Is the rubber rand skirt really just a whitewater thing?



depends what you need in a skirt

– Last Updated: Jul-20-05 12:49 AM EST –

A tight rubber rand skirt will be drier and more implosion resistant than a bungee skirt. Typically this sort of skirt is needed by whitewater boaters who often play in conditions which place great pressure on the skirt. Sea kayakers usually only need bungee unless they are looking to stay really, really dry. The question is whether or not you are comfortable using the skirt. This means you can put it on under your power, you can take it off with one hand (left and right hand), and you can take it off with the grabloop tucked under. If you can do these things and are comfortable with them and you have the specific need, go for it!

I have a rubber rand Mountain Surf Dur-O-Ring which requires significant force to put on and take off, but I have accepted that tradeoff for the "bomber" nature of the skirt. I also have several bungee skirts which are not as dry but work well. (On my river runner, I use a reinforced bungee skirt with an implosion bar which is as tough in surf/waves/holes as my rubber rand skirt which does not have (or need) an implosian bar.)

is friction a factor?

– Last Updated: Jul-20-05 1:28 AM EST –

Could be rubber rands grip better on poly WW craft than bungee ones.

My experience has been than bungee is a wee bit more stretchy too. Nor have I seen many rubber ones sized to fit sea kayak coamings.

I have had good service from Snap Dragon all neoprene and with Reed Aquatherms on glass and poly long boats.

I was taught to…
…use my knees to help pop my WW skirt, so

actually by the time I get my hand on the loop,

the skirt is already pretty well on its way off.

This has the added advantage of getting my legs

out of the way in an unlikely event of a wrap.

It’s gotten automatic, my knees come up as I

reach for the loop.

This allows me to have a very tight skirt fit.

Bungee Is Generally More Than
enough for sea kayaking and playing in moderate surf zones. If you find your skirt imploding in surf, then you’re in big enough stuff to consider the more expensive (almost double the price) and tighter fitting rubber rand skirts like MountainSurf.

Ditto in white water, until you find yourself dropping into some big holes and waves. Again a move up to rubber rand and implosion bars.


Some very good points
I was only considering the fact that the bunji skirt sealed well and kept my dry doing rolls etc on flatwater. I never considered the possibility of implosion or what forces might be on the deck of my skirt while underwater.

That makes a lot of sense.

I am not a play boater and don’t do very difficult stretches of water. Sounds like the bunji may suffice, but I like to err on the safe side of things. I am going to go see if I can handle getting the other one on and off. If so then I may end up keeping it just for the extra safety factor of not having to worry about having implode in a wave train or hole.

thanks for the help!


I’ve got a Mountain Surf EZ-on rubber rand skirt that is much drier than the bungee skirts I had previously. I’ve been very happy with it on both my whitewater boat and my plastic touring boat. But if you’re happy with the way your bungee skirt works there’s no need to change.

Rubber-randed spray decks were designed for plastic WW boats, in order to provide a better seal / grip on the soft curves of a roto-molded boat.

In this application they work well and I would add nothing other than to remind you to be sure you can release the deck without a grab-loop and with either (single) hand.

Spray-decks for fibregalss boats generally have a shock-cord rand and are much safer from an ease of release POV (compared to rubber0rand decks on fibreglas boats). Most manufacturers warn against use of a rubber-rand deck with a fibreglas coaming. The rand can be very diffficult to release from a fibreglass coaming.