tight spray skirt

I just bought a tsunami160 kayak from Wilderness Systems.It recommend a Seals 1.7 spray skirt,when i try to put it on it is a very tight fit{my husband has to put on for me}i cant get it on myself.Is this normal for a new spray skirt,will it get broke in and easier to get on or should i send back.I am new to kayaking so this is all a learning experience for us.thanks for your help.

Should not be that hard…
… assuming you are putting it on while wearing it and sitting in the boat (I’ve seen people trying to put them on from outside, dry and wonder why it’s so hard), hooking rear first and they pushing forward. A wet skirt is often easier too.

If you can’t do it yourself, it’s probably the wrong size/model for you.

but . . .
a lot of it is technique. I know the first time I tried to put a neoprene skirt sitting in the backyard, I broke a sweat and am sure was quite a sight for the neighbors. Now I can put the skirt on that same boat with no problem.

Hook the back, relax and lean forward gently as you pull forward with hands at 11 and 1. If necessary at first, have your husband hold the skirt about half way up the coaming while you pop it over the front. Also, get the skirt and cockpit coaming wet before your next try. Generally, if the skirt is what the manufacturer recommends, it should work.

but …
It may fit fine for an experienced paddler, if you are just starting out you might want a skirt you can get on and off without any hassles. Go to the store where you bought the kayak and see what the cheapest neoprene skirt that will easily fit your kayak. Use that skirt until you are comfortable getting in and out of your boat in a hurry, wet exiting ect.

You might also want to go to the gym and work on that upper body strength too. Also make sure you try putting the skirt on on dry land sitting in the boat and using your body for leverage.

tight spray deck
it helped a lot to get mine totally wet the first couple of times I used it. Please make sure you try this before going to a bigger size cause if anything, Seals fits on the roomier size with their fit guides. We know since we own six between me and my husband.

I’ve never seen…
…a touring boat’s skirt to be like that.

A WW skirt sometimes can be very tight to help

prevent implosions.

What worries me more is you getting it off for a

wet exit. If you end up keeping this skirt, grab

the safety loop with both hands, put your elbows

on the rim and pull the skirt off.

If you can’t get it off, get a new skirt.

But I have to tell you that it sure doesn’t sound

right the way it is.

I think skirts are being “set” too tight
Not only is getting one off for a wet exit a concern, but there are circumstances where one may need to get that skirt ON in a hurry, such as when embarking from a difficult rock ledge. Whitewater paddlers who do creeking can sometimes put the skirt on and then seal launch off a ledge, but there are circumstances where one has to get in the boat, in the water, and then get the darned skirt on FAST before being washed into something dangerous.

If anyone orders and gets a skirt that requires a focused struggle to get on the boat, seriously think about asking for the next size looser.


– Last Updated: Sep-30-07 9:25 AM EST –

Is it the spray skirt with a bungie around the edge? Those Seals skirts are usually not terribly tight, but the Tsunami 160 may have a big cockpit.

Torn here - I myself always recommend erring on the side of looseness for a skirt. And it shouldn't be that big a deal to get it on.

I am not sure strength per se is the issue here. Do you have trouble because it is at the edge of your physical reach in terms of arm length to hook it up front? If that's the case, you may still need to go with a slightly oversized skirt for the boat so that your strength out there is enough.

go on the rim last.

back, front, then pop the sides down over.

try that.

It won’t get looser

– Last Updated: Sep-30-07 10:05 AM EST –

I had problems with Seals sizing but on the waist.

I take a 34 waist pants and I have an Ex-Large skirt tunnel and I actually split it and added and inch of neoprene and I still struggle to get it over my hips.

Mismarked size?

My brother who is thinner bought a large tunnel and he has a 32" waist. He can just about pull it over his hips.

My fit on the boat is kind of tight and I went by their sizing chart with various kayak models on-line.

It will not get looser, if anything it will get tighter. The bungee might stretch a bit but the skin on the neoprene will shrink. Send it back for a larger size.

The quality of Seals is good but I would be very cautious if I purchased from them again and wouldn't hesitate to send it back.

One tip: if you pre-wet it it will stretch on easier. Water softens the neoprene skin.

What water does is it soaks into the
Nylon facings and relaxes the Nylon somewhat. The neoprene bubble sheet itself will be looser when warm, tighter when cold.

Neoprene certainly does shrink with age. The gas in the bubbles, nitrogen I believe, slowly escapes. A 30 year old wetsuit custom made for me now will not fit my wife comfortably.

I have a Seals WW skirt over ten years old. In the 90s, skirt designers typically provided looser rands or bungee cords. That old Seals was never hard to get onto the cockpit rim. Skirts from Harmony (rand) and Snapdragon (sewn bungee) require MUCH more force to get on. They don’t leak, while the old Seals leaked slightly. The new skirts don’t come off with water pressure. But I wonder whether they need to be SO hard to get on. Isn’t there a better balance for the average paddler? Mountainsurf, at least, seems to be trying to offer a selection, with some skirts designed specifically to be easy to get on.

Seals Skirts and Tsunami 160
It took some searching, but I finally found dimensions for the Tsunami 160 cockpit opening (not on Wildy’s site - hint, hint, flatpick). If this measurement is correct, 19" x 35", there is no way that the Seals 1.7 is going to fit - whether it’s nylon, breathable sympatex fabric, or one of the neo skirts. I would not use a 1.7 skirt on this cockpit size, it might be dangerous.

I have seen specifications of the Tsunami’s that say the cockpit sise is 19" x 35", 19.5 X 35" for many of the models, including the 140. I have also seen references to the Tsunami 140 having a smaller cockpit for smaller people, so I’m confused. This from Rutabaga: “Compared to the Tsunami 140, the 145 has a larger cockpit and greater volume.” It lists the 145 as having a 20" x 36" cockpit and the 140 as 19.5" x 35"!

I have several Seals skirts in both nylon and neoprene - 1.2, 1.4, 1.7 and a custom made one. None of these would fit a 19" x 35" cockpit. The 1.7 fits on my boat that is 16" x 30". The 1.4 fits on my boat that is 29.5" x 15.5". The 1.2 is slightly shorter and wider than the 1.4. I believe the circumference of the 1.2 and 1.4 is the same, but the shape is different. A 2.2 would likely fit this size cockpit. Eddyline makes a number of boats with 18.5" x 35" cockpits, and the latest “Book of Seals” (came last week with my custom skirt) says 2.2 for these. The “Book of Seals” does state 1.7 for the Tsunami 160, but I’ll bet they were given incorrect information.

So, I would recommend you measure the cockpit opening on your boat. If your cockpit is truly 19" wide by 35" long or larger, call Seals and let them know that there sizing guide is in error (518) 762-9558. I’m sure that they will make it right for you through your local dealer. They are good folk.



High Seat Back?
If your boat has one of those shown on the website you may have problems with any snug neo skirt going over it. A nylon skirt may work better on that boat.

here here on being in the boat
and the skirt being wet.

(especially the skirt being wet made a huge difference in installation and removal of the snap dragon I got for my artic tern)

re: tight spray skirt — thank you!
Hi everybody!

Thank you for all of your replies!I am impressed with how helpful you all are! :slight_smile:

Wetzool, I think you have found the answer to the mystery of the super tight sprayskirt:

We measured the cockpit and it is 35 x 19 inches!!! So it appears to be a sizing error, just like you concluded. I will make some phone calls and try to get a bigger spray skirt. Thanks again!