Spray skirts are diversified in their function and price. A neoprene spray skirt, whether rubber or neoprene rand, or bungee, is chosen according to the paddler, his past experiences, his ease, and water conditions – whether the water is smooth or rough like in whitewater rapids.
What are RAND-style Kayak Skirts?
Rand is less stretchable or elastic as compared to bungee, and it does not use a bungee to meet the combing. The skirt of this kind comprises vulcanized rubber that enhances its contact with coaming by increasing its surface area. It appears as a ring of rubber adhered to the rim of the skirt. Rand skirts seal around the edge in a firm way, which makes them resistant to most misadventures during a whitewater kayaking trip.
What are BUNGEE-style Kayak Skirts?
Bungee-style skirts are more common and adored as compared to rand skirts. It is the most traditional sort of neoprene spray skirt. It is drier and easier to remove and put on too. Bungee is more stretchable and not limited to its potential uses.
Rubber Rand Spray Skirts
Rubber rand skirts have a strong and sturdy linkage between the rubber and neoprene because of the multiple layers of a peculiar fixative used. These adhesives are then unraveled on both sides, the inner and outer sides of the rubber rand and the neoprene skirts, before they are squeezed together for bond formation. This greatly enhances the overall strength of its construction as compared to a bungee skirt. The ability of the rand to stretch effectively, its elasticity, and how comfortably it fits inside the cockpit are factors that can be changed by changing the shape and size of the rubber.
One great feature of rubber rand spray skirts is that the enhanced elastic strength of the rubber makes it stay in its place. As compared to the bungee rand, rand skirts that use rubber and neoprene have greater relatedness to the cockpit coaming. The rubber adheres to the boat, which implies that it has greater and smoother contact with the coaming, increased surface area, and high elastic strength when oriented in a place. As a result, this skirt remains on the boat in a much firm and reliable way.
When put in simple words, it means that it has higher retention power on the boat, which makes it safer against the possibility of the explosion or implosion of the spray skirt on rough and high waters. Also, some boaters say that they find rubber rand spray skirts drier than bungee skirts. This is a matter of great importance for some because of the level of comfort that is associated with drier skirts.
The setback of using this kind of spray skirt is its susceptibility to the change in temperature. Rubber rand is more challenging to remove and put on as it is large and comparatively inelastic. You will have to put in much effort to take it off and put it on, and this feature often makes it difficult to use for some people. Colder temperatures further enhance this difficulty.
Bungee Spray Skirts
Bungee rand has a higher stretching ability as compared to rubber rand spray skirts. Even then, it maintains a stronghold on the thing it is wrapped around, which is the cockpit coaming. The stretching ability is directly proportional to the stiffness of the core.
The main benefit of a bungee spray skirt is the ease with which it can be put on and off. Such skirts are known for maintaining their ability to stretch at low temperatures. With the passage of time, they stretch out a little more, but not as much as rubber rand spray skirts.
The size of the bungee ring is smaller than the cockpit rim for which it is designed to fit. This appropriate size of the bungee cord allows it to be fixed on the narrow cockpit coamings. A bungee skirt is the right one for you if you face problems in putting on and removing the rubber rand spray skirts. It is also best suited for people who are new to paddling or those who need to use them in calm waters instead of high rough whitewater.
Some paddlers claim that bungee spray skirts are not that dry. This is true to some extent, but it also depends on the quality and fixation of the bungee rand to the cockpit. Another complaint against the bungee spray skirts is that they become loose over time and stretch out more than their actual size due to long-term usage.
The cold, rough weather conditions make neoprene preferable. However, in moderate whitewater conditions, nylon just works out fine. Neoprene, being rugged and tough, sticks tightly around your torso to reconcile water. Nylon, however, can be categorized into fully waterproof, water-resistant, or waterproof/breathable. Neoprene skirts possess neoprene or rubber rand that firmly holds the cockpit coaming and proves resilient against breaking water waves. A nylon rand comprises a bungee strap that gives a close-fitting seal. But in the case of a turnover, it does not protect against water.
Rubber rand, though difficult to put on, is more reliable and stays put even in strong rapids and in case of an eventual turnover. A bungee spray skirt is easy to put on and remove. For a better and dry seal, a rubber rand uses a short length of rand as compared to a bungee spray skirt in the corded deck. Rubber rand has high adherence and connectivity to the boat, which makes it less susceptible to implosion and explosion.
Moreover, in high and rugged waters, rubber rand saves you and provides you distinct benefits. However, in calm and moderate conditions, bungee rand is quite suitable with the advantage of easy take on and off. A rubber rand spray skirt is less stretchable and drier as compared to a bungee spray skirt. The durability of the rubber rand makes it useful to face high-pressure water, as in the case of whitewater rivers.
The choice of the spray skirt depends upon how easy it is to put on. Does it stay on the boat when you are using it? Is it dry and keeps the water out of the boat? Is it durable? All of these features cannot be present in one skirt. So you have to choose accordingly.
People can switch between rubber rand and bungee according to their use. The kind of spray skirt you want to choose mainly depends upon the level of expertise you possess. If you are heading to rough whitewater rapids, where the explosion or implosion of the spray skirt is a real possibility, the recommended type will be a rubber rand spray skirt.
But if you are a beginner, new at kayaking, or a person with intermediate experience, and you like to surf in moderate conditions, then the suggestible option for you is a bungee rand spray skirt as it stays under the rim pretty well.
However, if the water is breaking and you are experienced enough, you might want to go for a rand spray skirt. Though hard to take off and put on, unlike bungee spray skirts, it does not slide off the edges. And with proper technique and experience, you can choose a rubber rand spray skirt.