Sprayskirt questions

I read a bunch of the older threads before writing this and nothing really answered my questions.

To start w/ I’m paddling a 14’ WS Tsunami and have a Seals nylon skirt. It is rated for “moderate” by them. I realize that it’s a nylon and not neo, but . . .
When I was working on some hip snap practice, using my partner’s bow, I noticed that when I went back to level I would get an intrusion of water on the side where my skirt had been under water. Is this just normal and something I have to put up w/? Or maybe there’s someway to prevent this?
My first thought was to run a band of inner tube rubber around under the coaming, any thoughts on this?

The other thing that really stands out to me is the moat that forms around my waist. I realize that a neo skirt w/ a tunnel in my size would change that, or at least I think it would, but is there anyway to prevent that w/ the skirt I have?
Maybe pulling it up to my arm pits would help but once I put on my top w/ a double tunnel I can only pull it up so much. It has suspenders but you can’t use them w/ the double tunnel on the top.

I think I could use some help getting over this learning curve. :laughing:

Nylon skirts ARE really intended for “spray”, minimizing droplets from the paddle and/or windblow spray from getting into the cockpit. It will not prevent the type of water intrusion you describing when the coaming goes below the waterline as in bracing on an extreme edge, or for rolling when you are fully capsized.

A neoprene skirt is needed once you start practicing and pushing the boundaries of what you can do and feel comfortable with in the various boat lean angles from full upright to full capsize.

Good for you in pushing those boundaries. It’ll make you a better and more confident paddler. Invest in a neo skirt.



Nylon skirt will pull up more on the side and let in water than a skirt with at least a neo deck. When you are learning probably best to find one with a neo deck. Just make darned sure you can find the grab loop with your eyes shut before you try using it on your own. It won’t come off if you do a wet exit as easily as a nylon skirt.

That said, I tend to use a skirt that is easier to get off and so a bit more likely to let in water, because paddling with an inch or so of water in your boat is something you really should be comfortable doing and it is less likely I will get into trouble not being able to exit if needed.

There are situations where you need a drier skirt. If you are regularly doing surf or whitewater, you need a much more reliable roll and to be able to handle a tighter skirt. If I was out anticipating a surf landing I would absolutely be in a tighter neo skirt. That is not what I am doing these days so I often have a nylon one that I know will stay on for a roll.

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More as questions and observation. 20” x 35.75” cockpit seems on the largish side and wonder if pooling water on the deck might be more inevitable than with a smaller cockpit.

25.5” beam seems on the beamy side. Is this a boat you’ll be often edging that far over on purpose, other than for fun and practice? Do you plan on rolling with it? Just wonder if a little water once in a while while practicing and once in a great while for a mandatory hard brace necessitates a neo skirt.

I don’t know if my cherry picking the above numbers is even relevant. (My beam is 24 and cockpit 16x30 which seems pretty fat and roomy to me on a 15.3’ boat.) I have a Seals nylon skirt and don’t recall getting any water intrusion or pooling when playing with hip flicks. It it’s been a while and it could be I didn’t really notice.

Sing & Celia already covered the limitations of a static fabric skirt.

Another option to neoprene is the Odyssey by Seals. It is polyurethane rather than neoprene so has more of a fabric hand but stretch like neoprene with a less encumbering tunnel but the same bungee rand as on neoprene skirts. This is my go-to for most sea kayak unless I’m playing in surf or doing whitewater in which the neoprene tunnel does a better job of preventing water intrusion. (It is a water sport though)

See you on the water,
Marshall Seddon
The River Connection, Inc.
9 W. Market St.
Hyde Park, NY. 12538
845-229-0595 main
845-242-4731 mobile
Main: www.the-river-connection.com
Store: www.the-river-connection.us
Email: marshall@the-river-connection.com
Facebook: fb.me/theriverconnection
Instagram: www.instagram.com/marshall.seddon

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I also have two different Seals nylon skirts (bought one, the second came with another kayak I bought), and I use them with my Tsunami 165. One of them let’s in more water from the side as you described than the other. I noticed that it gets pulled up from the combing while I’m edging, and did so once when I turned my torso a lot when doing a stern rudder. The one that seems to let in more water and pulled up over the combing also appears to fit a little tighter than the other, and I’m thinking it might just not be fitting the combing correctly because of it. Or, I had it pulled up too high on my torso and didn’t have enough slack in the tunnel for that kind of mobility, pulling it up trying to get rid of the “moat” as you described. Or, it could be a combination of the two. I plan to play around with it a bit in the spring and see if that’s the case.

I don’t think an inner tube around the combing will help much because of how the nylon gets bunched up around the bungee. It isn’t going to be completely flat against the combing, and water will still seep through the wrinkles in it.

I think the “moat” is unavoidable. I have no experience with neoprene skirts, but from what I see they appear to stretch with you as you move, which is not something a nylon skirt will do, so the extra material creating the moat is necessary to facilitate good range of motion in your torso.

Thanks everyone! I’m going to try replying to everything in this one post.

@sing - Thanks! Pushing my skills to new levels is pretty standard w/ me. I’m not good at just being content.
Once I realized that I’d been paddling my sea kayak like a canoe, and only on flat water, I was off on another skill set to aquire.
Having always paddled w/ flat water river kayakers in shorter yaks for years I never realized what mine could do . . . then I saw Dimitri from North Sea do some amazing things in flat water . . . that sent me off on a video quest that resulted in a list of paddle skills I needed to learn.

@Celia - Noted about the neo being tighter. Even the skirt I have was removed several times while I was sitting in the yak more than 100 miles from the water that I first wore it on. Then last week when we were out I failed a bracing turn w/ a hard edge and ended upside down. After deciding to wet exit instead of trying to roll up, removing the skirt was pretty natural.
I do expect some water in the boat . . . I just didn’t expect it to run coldly down my hip. :grin:

@Marshall - I haven’t seen the Odyssey and I don’t see it on their site. I have the Adventurer, does it not have a bungee rand?

@RC51Mike - the numbers I pulled from the catalog year of mine has the cockpit a bit smaller at 35"×19 and only 24" wide. The deck has one of Seal’s tensioned stays, so no water pools there.
It does feel like a large cockpit and a bit barge like compared to my “home” kayak, the one I’ve been paddling for over a decade but don’t live w/ out west.
Yes I’m sure I’ll keep working w/ hard edges, braces, rolling, I want to be able to lay in the water while doing a skulling brace (short term goal). I would definitely prefer to be doing it all w/ my Sealion, and I will, but since I live w/ the Tsunami most of the year I continue working w/ that until I decide a different yak would work better for me and the situation I live in.

So now that I know this skirt is not the best for what I want to do, which one would be a good alternative?
My main usage, other that rolling/edging practice, will be as a skirt that I do multi day coastal camping w/. So surf launches and landings, some rough water and chop, but mostly where it’s warm ie Florida, Tex, Mex.
Oddly enough Seals gives me the same size number for my Tsunami and my Sealion even though the cockpits feel world’s different. So I guess I’d also be using it on some South Western rivers for river camping.

I’d love to invest in multiple ones but right now I’m having to decide between a backband or a different skirt. I learned right away that the seat back interfered w/ the skirt so I removed it and rigged up a homemade band.

The Odyssey has been out since 2017. Why seals doesn’t feature it I can’t answer. Far more durable than their stretch nylon.

Here’s my review of it on the Store FB page.

See you on the water,
Marshall Seddon
The River Connection, Inc.
9 W. Market St.
Hyde Park, NY. 12538
845-229-0595 main
845-242-4731 mobile
Main: [www.the-river-connection.com]
Store: [www.the-river-connection.us]
Email: marshall@the-river-connection.com
Facebook: [fb.me/theriverconnection]
Instagram: Instagram.com/marshall.seddon

I’ll just toss in a couple comments on this. I find the same situation in my boat (Northshore Ocean) when rolling or deep edging; even with a neoprene skirt. True, it’s annoying to have that river of water running down my hip…. A couple seasons ago I switched from a Snapdragon neo skirt to a Reed Chillcheater Aquatherm skirt. That made a considerable difference. Though there is still some leakage it’s distinctly less than with the Snapdragon. A point of consideration is that it’s also distinctly harder to remove though if you’re well practiced that shouldn’t be an issue.

I think there are a some things that contribute to the leakage beside the skirt material. The tightness of the rand that fits over the coaming; the SHAPE of the coaming top surface…. a flat surface would seem to be harder to seal, some brands seem to give the coaming a more rounded surface; the under side of the coaming…. the joint between the deck and coaming is frequently not totally sealed. True it’s a water sport, but that leakage is a nuisance at times.

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I used to think that a nylon spraydeck would always be prone to a ‘moat’ around the waist, or a poor seal around the cockpit. This does not have to be the case. I use a nylon Traveller spraydeck from Prijon. https://en.prijon.com/traveller-nylon.html This has never leaked when practicing bracing (I haven’t done an Eskimo roll yet) and the deck is always flat and tight with no build-up of water on it. The good points of it are : fits my Prijon kayak exactly with no wrinkles or looseness. The deck also has a stiff plastic rod sewn into it, which keeps the deck flat and prevents water building up and causing sagging. I also find it easier to put on and off than a neoprene spraydeck, and it’s cheaper as well.

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I generally tighten the bungee around the coaming for a more secure fit. You just need to be sure that you are comfortable removing it.

Outdoorplay has the Level Six Club neoprene skirt on sale for $88. I have the older version of this skirt and it’s provided good service on multiple boats. The adjustable tunnel is nice if you’re just moving into a neoprene skirt or just want a more relaxed feel for a casual paddle.