Spray Skirts, Spray Decks and Cockpit Covers
What do you call them? A deck or a skirt?
Whatever you call them they are intended to keep out the splashes and waves when kayaking and assist with rolling so that your kayak is not filling up as you recover. They keep the sun off your legs and the warmth in. They are seldom completely waterproof and far from perfect!
Everyone has a different idea of their use and how tight they should be. Ideally the fit should be firm - you need to be able to get the spraydeck on and off without difficulty whether upside down or right way up or inside out!
Fibreglass (composite) kayaks have a sharper cockpit combing than polyethylene (plastic) so spraydecks are far firmer and more securely fitting. They are less likely to implode when a large volume of water impacts the spraydeck surface.
Ideally, for the best fit, your spraydeck should be make specifically for your cockpit.
Make contact to discuss your needs - phone 03 9597 0549, email firstname.lastname@example.org or drop by The Kayak Shop and Training Centre at 37 Jetty Road Sandringham, Melbourne (call first to check we are in).
Spray decks and cockpit covers are available in different fabrics:
Neoprene: The most commonly seen fabric for spray decks and cockpit covers. They are durable - lasting 3-5 years depending on use. Kevlar rims can increase their longevity. Water usually seeps through even with quite new spraydecks.
Aquatherm: A very light, compact, breathable fabric. It is much more waterproof than neoprene but degrades with use and abrasion (assisted rescues). Lifespan 2-4 years with care. Great for people allergic to neoprene.
Nylon: Use either for the whole spraydeck or just in the waist tube for a cooler fit in hot climates or for people allergic to neoprene. Not very waterproof. Useful in hot climates to keep the sun and rain off. Also available as a half-deck Sun Deck.