WW Spray Skirt for Women

Hi Everyone, I’m in the market for a spray skirt for my Pyranha Fusion, ideally with secondary duty on my Alchemy. They have very similar cockpit measurements, so I think I should be good to go deck-wise. I’ve worn a skirt for rolling class, so I have some sense of how they work. If only I could remember what I used for class…but I can’t.

I’m NOT looking for something that will handle Class V without imploding: I have a hard time imagining doing more than Class 3. I’ve done I and a little bit of II without a skirt, but it’s time to get my roll down and try some Class 3.

Here’s the deal: I have girl hips. I’ve been looking at the IR J-Lo and the Snapdragon Flirt options (I guess I should just be grateful they aren’t pink). I did read a review of the J-Lo that mentioned that there were complaints out there that the side panels let more water in, but I haven’t seen those other complaints.

Do any of you have any experience with or recommendations for spray skirts for women? My hips are 40" and my waist 36". I’m 5’ 8", 31" inseam. Would it make more sense to get a shorter tunnel on a non-women specific skirt, assuming I can get the thing over my &%$&%$&! hips?

Putting it on over my head isn’t really an option for me. I may get my waist down an inch or two this year, but the hips ain’t getting any smaller no way no how. Apologies if this topic is already in the archives: I couldn’t find any threads about spray skirts for women.

Thanks for any advice, and happy new year!

Snapdragon Flirt tunnels

– Last Updated: Dec-29-14 11:45 PM EST –

The Flirt tunnels are shorter than the standard tunnels. I had Flirt version sprayskirts for two sea kayaks but later went back to using the unisex style. You can fold the top of the tunnel down if it's too long.

The skirts I've used on the WW kayak are both unisex versions also. I haven't seen any real advantage to using the Flirts, but no doubt this depends on your particular body shape.

I'm puzzled why a regular tube won't work for you, since there is only 4" difference between your stated waist and hip diameters. If you can get it over your hips, it should be OK on your waist (no need to lose inches off the waist, then).

Snapdragon will make custom spraydecks; I don't know if they customize the tunnels but it might be worth calling them to ask.

Seals Sprayskirts
They make a good skirt and will make custom sized skirts.

I really like the shorter tunnel.
I’m a guy, and I really see no advantage to the extra length of the tunnels. I’m 6’, and the standard tunnels are all too long I think. They don’t fit easily between the inner tunnel and outside of drytops - I end up folding the tops of the tunnel down. When it’s warmer, and I don’t need the drytop, I really don’t need the extra inches wrapped in neoprene. The V in my back seems to become more pronounced higher up on my torso, so instead of the extra material making it somehow more waterproof, it makes it less. And if it comes up on my chest at all, that makes it even worse. As it works with waterproofness, if water gets in the top, 4 more inches of tunnel on the bottom aren’t going to make it any more waterproof. The water that’s getting in the top is eventually draining through either way. So I’ve determined that the extra tunnel length is superfluous for my purposes, and more than that, I really wish the extra tunnel length wasn’t there.

I regularly roll, paddle in the ocean, and play in the surf, so it’s not just that I’m a person who doesn’t really need a skirt. I actually do put them to the test.

So the last 4 skirts that I’ve bought have all been the Snapdragon Flirt. 2 are the Trek version, and 2 the EXP version. The Trek version is a little more flexible, and a little less expensive. The bungee is also a little less heavy duty, so easier to get on and off of your cockpit rim, but still plenty to get the job done without any worries. I’d recommend that one for you. Sometimes less is more. Less tunnel can mean more comfort and more waterproof. Lighter, more flexible neoprene can leave you more flexible for your strokes. Lighter grade bungee that still gets the job done can make it easier to get on and off when you really need things to go like clockwork, such as a wet exit after failed roll attempts. If you’re doing a lot of assisted rescue work, the EXP will give you a little more durability for repeatedly dragging other kayaks on and off for T rescues. But for most, I think the other advantages of the lighter version will outweigh that. Snapdragon makes durable skirts, so you should get an awful lot of wear either way.

So if you thought you might somehow be getting less performance by getting the Flirt Trek or Flirt EXP, my experience has been otherwise.

I haven’t tried the other brands in “female” skirts yet.

Seals Spray Skirts
You can size the deck and tunnel to get the fit you need. OrDer a medium deck with a large tunnel. They do have a proprietary sizing system for the decks though, need to look them up on the Seals website.


– Last Updated: Dec-30-14 1:11 PM EST –

I use a Snapdragon for touring with a large tunnel. I could probably get a medium but wanted a little more space for a suit underneath. I'm 5'7", 170 lbs. and I have 45" hips! If I can do it, you can lol!

Thank you!
Thanks, everyone, for the super helpful information and the encouragement! What you all wrote is exactly the kind of information I’m looking for.

SonnyJane, I’m 160 lbs, have been 170 within the past year, so we’re decently close on basic specs (though we all seem to carry our weight differently!).

Kudos to gear manufacturers, who have to deal with all of humanity’s physical diversity…

Extra-tight doesn’t benefit either.
I have a 33" waist, and the large Snapdragon size is plenty tight on me. With my winter gear, I prefer the extra-large tunnel, especially since it goes under my drytop anyway. I have an older one with a medium tunnel, but much like a latex gasket around your neck in a dry top, extra tightness isn’t more effective, it’s just less comfortable and harder to get on and off. I’m only 1" over their size guide for the medium tunnel, and I don’t use it anymore. It is older and the neoprene isn’t very flexible anymore, but even so, the medium size vs. large offers no advantage for me. If I had a 36" waist, I’d follow their size guide, and avoid unnecessary struggles. You’ll still be fine, even if you drop to a 34" waist, with an XL without the winter gear. No need to try and squeeze in any more than necessary.

M Medium 30"-32"

L Large 32"-35"

XL ExtraLarge 35"-38"

Makes sense
I’m really not into extra-tight clothes, so going the XL route I think is probably the way to go. Great to hear that I might be able to drop an inch or two and still be ok. I’d think that would only help with layering in colder weather. I’m not looking to keep every drop out! I’d rather be comfortable. Sounds like we are of similar philosophies with this, CapeFear, which is super helpful.

I think I’m going to get a Snap Dragon Trek Flirt XL deck, XL tunnel, and see how it goes.

Large Tunnel

– Last Updated: Dec-30-14 4:46 PM EST –

The only reason to avoid an XL tunnel would be to avoid getting water in your boat if you're rolling without a drytop/drysuit. If you have a top on over the skirt, then you'll stay dry. When I'm paddling here in the summer with the large top without my drytop on, water does get in my tunnel b/c it's not as tight as it could be when I roll.

I hope it works well for you.
I’ve had regular tunneled Snapdragon, Immersion Research, Seals, NRS, and a couple others, and I’m definitely a fan of the Flirt design. I know with my partner, the Flirt just fits better. No fold-over on top that creates a better ingress for water against her skin, and not a bunch of excess pushed down around her hips for water to gather after washing over the deck. Trying hers is what got me turned onto them.

Have fun getting into rolling and bigger water!

Neo skirt w/nylon tunnel & neo topband
SnapDragon also makes skirts (both Flirt and regular) that use a nylon tunnel topped with a neoprene band and Velcro adjustment. One of my Flirts was this style. It’s fine for rolling in, and the adjustable top band means that in summer on flat water, you can open it up for a little ventilation.

You can also get the suspendered nylon tunnel style, but I wouldn’t use this in WW.