After you have a kayak, paddle and buoyancy aid, the next piece of equipment you might consider getting is a spraydeck. If you’re paddling on a river, lake, or in the sea in a sit-in-kayak, you’ll want a spraydeck to keep the water out. Your spraydeck will keep water from dripping onto you, keeps waves out of your boat and will generally give you a drier and warmer paddling experience.

Tip – if you’re new to spraydecks – Be sure to test out your new spraydeck close to the shore. Make sure you are able to capsize, pull the release grab loop on the spraydeck and exit the kayak confidently. A spraydeck adds an extra step to getting out of your kayak if you tip over, and it can take some practice in a calm, warm environment to become confident with that. Once you get used to a ‘wet exit’ from your kayak with the spraydeck on, you will find that not having to empty your kayak of water as often more than makes up for a few practice capsizes.

Let’s run through what to look out for when choosing a nylon spraydeck and give you some advice on getting the best fit. If you want a deck for more extreme conditions, you might want to consider a neoprene deck. Neoprene decks are harder to put on and take off, they are stretchy but not adjustable, and they offer the most secure fit. 

Getting a good fit

To get a great fit on your kayak, the elastic outer shock cord of the spraydeck stretches to grip underneath the cockpit rim, holding the spraydeck taught and in place. You can shorten and lengthen the shock cord at the back of the deck to fit different sized kayak cockpits.

When you step into your deck, the waist tube of the spraydeck should sit up high on your torso, around your chest, so that the bottom of the waist tube is at the top of your hip bone. This will make it harder for waves or splashes to get down inside the kayak.

Putting on a nylon deck

  1. Step into your deck and pull it up, adjusting the waist to fit you before putting on your PFD
  2. Sit in your kayak
  3. Tuck the back of the deck under your cockpit
  4. Keeping your arms low, pull the deck forward and over the front
  5. Make sure the grab loop is on the outside
  6. Look to see the sides of the deck seal well under the cockpit coaming
  7. Test how the deck comes off, pull the grab loop forward and up

Although the size is adjustable, check which size will fit your boat best before you buy. If your deck is too large and loose it will sag and collect water, and if it is too small it won’t fit your cockpit at all.

Check the spraydeck size guide on our website, look up the deck of your choice and click the size guide. Measure the length and width of your kayak cockpit to see which size deck will fit best. A lot of manufacturers will also list the dimensions or recommended deck sizes for their boats on their websites. You can also talk to your local paddlesports shop for advice on the best size for your kayak. 

The Palm range

Our entry-level decks are made from tough nylon fabric with a waterproof coating underneath. Some fabric decks are super lightweight, all of ours are 210 denier nylon, which is generally tougher than polyester and other materials. Choose from the Derwent, Ullswater or Coniston nylon decks:

The Coniston has high-wear areas reinforced with extra layers of material around the cockpit rim for those who want a tough deck that will stand up better to X-rescues and generally last longer.

If you like the freedom and feel of the nylon waist tube but want to venture into more advanced conditions, then the Loweswater and Roanoke decks combine nylon waist tubes with a neoprene cockpit cover and are both available for larger cockpit sizes

Tip — looking after your deck

  • To help keep you deck in good condition, waterproof and long lasting – rinse your spraydeck in fresh water and hang it to air dry in the shade.