The HF stand at Paddle Expo had a range of really cool gear on display from both HF and Astral.
The cowtail shown here stood out as the tape/bungee used did not have a flat profile when stretched but was actually cylindrical as a bungee cord has been used. Simple idea but looks really well executed.
It’s been some time since Palm Equipment had a rand based skirt in the range and it’s something that Palm followers have been crying out for. Not wanting to disappoint they have developed the new Palm Equipment Orbit Spray Skirt.
Spray skirts/decks have a pretty tough life but do an incredibly important job. I’d been on the look out for a spray skirt to rescue from an inevitable trip to the bin and found one close to home.
Unsponsored’s little brother River (Militia) has a Palm Kevlar RT rand deck that has seen better days. I had offered to repair it for this post without seeing the total extent of the damage.
In fairness the skirt should have been consigned to the bin years ago or at least set on fire and given a grand send off. However the skirt was in such a bad state that it made the perfect subject for this post as most types of repair were required to bring it back to life.
To put the repair into context most joints on the skirt were compromised and in other areas the skirt had separated from the rand. In two key places the kevlar/neoprene had worn out/through and large holes had appeared. Even the top part of the tunnel had separated from the skirt and was also torn in a couple of places. All in all it was in a sorry state.
After reading through some old threads on liquid latex, I found some good reviews on the stuff but no pictures of how people got on, so I thought I’d share with you the pics of my repaired spray deck. Time for a little spray deck modification.
My spray deck had always been fairly loose fitting so I could get it off easier in a panic, but now as my confidence has built up, I wanted a tighter fitting deck to keep me drier in pushier water or waves.
Check out my thoughts on the Royale here.
The Immersion Research Royale is a rand based spraydeck with a lip that sits on the outside of the rand.
Getting a spraydeck that fits you and your boat is crucial if you want to keep the water out. All boats are different and all decks are different, so it’s important to do a little research on what deck fits your boat the best.
One of my favourite resources is Skirt Fit. It is an online database that contains most of the popular boats and decks that are currently on the market. It is well worth checking out.
Those of you who have followed the site for many years will know that I usually only ever use Playboater spraydecks. I have owned a few and they are always superb. Well today I tried my new Immersion Research Klingon Empire Spraydeck and have been simply blown away.
This is what IR say about the deck:
The Klingon Empire is the same skirt as the Klingon with one major difference- the front casing (the high wear area going over the front portion of the cockpit rim) is laminated with a high thread-count Kevlar™. This very costly strip of woven gold is simply the best possible fabric when it comes to flexible abrasion resistance, making it the perfect choice for people who are exceptionally hard on spray skirts.
The Klingon skirt, with it’s high-tension bungee and extra neoprene extending out past the bungee make it a perfect choice for keeping even the most difficult rims dry. Typical use would include high-end playboating and on creek boats where all other skirt designs seem to leak.
The Klingon Empire had been bought for my new Pyranha Jed as I wanted something with a dry lip and bungee. An order to IR in the States and a couple of weeks later it landed. The deck arrived early last week and despite opening it up it has sat unloved in corner of the dining room. Work has been getting in the way of fun out on the water. So today was my first chance to get the deck onto a boat and get it wet.
For the past 15 years I have been exclusively using playboater spraydecks. However as I was buying a new Immersion Research (IR) Double D Drysuit I thought I’d take the opportunity of ordering an IR deck for my LL Stomper at the same time.
The model I chose was the Immersion Research Special K spray deck. This is IRs top of the line rand deck. The deck is a rand deck which means that rather than using thick bungee cord to seal the deck onto the boat the deck has a strip of rubber. In this case the rand has a couple of ridges/fins that help improve the seal. The first couple of times I used it I did need assistance with putting it on. A bit of time on the boat helped sort that out – I expect to do this with all well fitting decks.