How To Stretch a Sprayskirt
To prevent water leakage and implosion, you want a neoprene-deck sprayskirt to fit tight to your kayak’s cockpit rim. However, if it’s too tight, you will have trouble getting it on the rim or pulling it off in an emergency. In this video, we show you how to stretch a sprayskirt.
Before shopping for a sprayskirt, measure your cockpit. Take the maximum length and width out to the edge of the cockpit rim. Manufacturers give a range for these measurements for each cockpit deck size. If you’re boating in milder conditions, you can go with a looser fit. However, if you’ll be doing a lot of rolling in heavy waves, you’ll want to lean toward a tighter, more water-resistant fit.
When the skirt is too tight for reasonable ease of putting it on, or for releasing the skirt if you need to wet exit, you’ll want to follow the steps in this video to stretch the deck.
First, thoroughly soak the skirt in warm, but not excessively hot water. You should be able to handle it with bare hands. Now, start by securing the skirt around the back of the cockpit rim, then stretch the skirt forward to wrap the edges of the deck around the rim. You’ll probably find this easier to do with someone else helping.
If you’re by yourself, put the skirt on, as though you are going paddling. Sit in the kayak and stretch the skirt over the rim, again starting at the back. Once it is secured, carefully slide out of the skirt.
Leave the sprayskirt on the kayak, at least overnight. If it’s still too difficult to put on, repeat the procedure until you get the desired result. When you’re putting your skirt on the kayak rim, always be sure to have the grab handle exposed. It’s very disconcerting to need to wet exit and have no “ripcord” to pull!