It is a tale as old as time. You bought a spray skirt, checked the size chart and our spray skirt fit tool, maybe even spoke with our customer service team, and sure enough, you can't get the spray skirt on your cockpit rim. But wait?! It's the right size. Why does it not fit?!
Spray skirts are innately tricky to put on cockpit rims, especially rand-style spray skirts. Here are a few tips, tricks, and hot moves to help you get your spray skirt on your rim and get you boating.
Pro Tip: If you are not paddling 30-foot waterfalls or high-volume class V whitewater, get a bungee-style skirt. Otherwise, you are wasting your money, time and giving yourself more headaches than necessary. It's not personal. We still love you, but we pinky promise it is way overkill. Bungee skirts are drier, cheaper, and go on the cockpit rim more easily.....that's a fact. Now, enjoy the show.
1) Technique. A solid technique helps a lot so practice it. There are many different iterations but look at your friends who are better at putting spray skirts on and mimic it.
Here is a quick rundown on technique:
- Lean back and hook the back of the skirt around the back of the cockpit.
- Grab the skirt next to your hips.
- Stretch the skirt as far forward as you can.
- Press the silicone strips against the cockpit using your forearms. You can take this opportunity to rest your arms.
- Adjust your grip further forward and stretch the skirt the rest of the way. You can repeat steps 3 and 4 again if you need to. Depending on how tight your skirt is, how long your arms are, and how long your cockpit is you may need to. Slide your hands up the skirt casing as you stretch onto the cockpit and snap it on
- Check around the sides to make sure your skirt is all tucked in and your grab handle is on the outside and easily accessible.
Still have technique questions? Go here for more detailed information and a video on how to put on a spray skirt.
Technique Points +1
That technique though, so smooooth.
2) Push-ups. Chest, arm, and forearm strength are essential, and some extra upper body strength can help a ton when trying to put on a difficult to stretch spray skirt. Push-ups are great for paddling and general beef mode as well.
3) Pre-stretching your spray skirt. Step on your spray skirt on a non-abrasive surface and stretch the skirt upward using your body weight. You will be amazed at the difference it makes, giving that bungee a bit of tension release.
4) Did I mention pre-stretching? Another method to help with spray skirt stretch is putting your spray skirt on the cockpit's rim (with the help of a trusty friend) and leaving it for 24-48 hours. This is not a 'forever' solution, but it will help with an easier stretch for a few days afterward.
Many hands make light work.
Let the rim do the work.
5) Lastly and most importantly, get your spray skirt wet! It is that easy. Do it and proceed at being amazed.
Slightly tasteful pre-soak image.
The Immersive Researchers