SnapDragon Armortex Rubber Rand SpraySkirt ($210 range)
Boat Paddled: LiquidLogic Flying Squirrel/ Dagger Nomad/ Pyranha Jed
Deck Size: L
Tunnel Size: M
Fiberglass, carbon fiber, or some sort of plastic polymer composite? Webbing or cam strap? Roto mold or heat blown? American made or Czech republic? Shock cord or rubber rand? The are standard gearhead discussion topics for kayakers when not paddling. You don’t have to run class V or stomp 40 footers to appreciate a helmet that protects your cerebral spine. You don’t to have dentures to appreciate toothpaste with fluoride. And you don’t have to hate one spray skirt to appreciate another. I went to Mexico and brought the new Snap Dragon Armortex Rubber-Rand skirt to test on some big drops. This is how it went.
With a Mexican kayaking adventure on the horizon and two ragged SnapDragon skirts in the gear bag , I thought to myself that “now might be a good time to send those in to the boys at snapdragon for some much needed love.”
The small shop nestled in the hearts of the pacific northwest is covered from wall to wall with neoprene and a couple of industrial sewing machine’s. Unfortunately, the machine used for refurbishing shock chords blew a needle and effectively took the holidays off. Good for it, those machines work hard. Fortunately, this also allowed me take advantage of SnapDrgon’s proprietors holiday spirit. A box was arriving at my front doorstep just days later. Like a xmas surprise, I ripped into the box to pull out a newly designed SnapDragon Armortex Skirt with…. A RUBBER RAND! It’s just what I always wanted SANTA!
The fresh rubber rand sealed more snugly around the cockpit of my Liquid Logic flying squirrel than my waist band after a week of holiday dinners.
The new skirt had no implosion bar, which I had become accustomed to in previous models. I was skeptical at first, but after botching A 40 foot waterfall…twice, going deep, carping multiple hand rolls, and being T rescued only to find myself securely affixed to my craft, my worries were put to rest.
The thick rubber used by snapdragon makes a tight seal around the cockpit allowing for a good bite, it is also means that it takes a little extra muscle to get the skirt on and off of the cockpit. Not so much that my swim team endeavors were hindered, but just enough to make it difficult for my ‘friends’ to pop my deck and flip me over in flat water while I’m busy eating a candy bar. What? Your friends don’t do that to you?
This new style of skirt is probably the driest of SnapDragons fleet and definitely has the tightest seal I have ever gotten.
The rigid rubber, while making an amazing lock on the cockpit, can be a little difficult to get on at times. If you’re the kind of paddler that thinks “playwave!” when the snow starts falling, you might want to size up on the deck.
Also: Being a small production facility, if you want to get your hands on one of these bad boys, you may have to contact your local paddling shop and inquire specifically.
They can make any tunnel/deck size but it may take a couple of weeks to get your rubber rand skirt.
Pros: Boaters have always loved the construction of SnapDragon sprayskirts, but the lack of a rubber rand really seemed to chew at some. Now, we can all have the best of both worlds. Rubber, Bombproof Armortex construction, USA made SnapDragon blood and sweat.
Warranty: As always, I am incredibly impressed with the owners commitment to making great products and standing by those products. After punching a hole through my skirt during a heinous portage slog, SnapDragon sent me a replacement and refurbished the torn skirt for free.
With snow pack rising here in the NW and a hopeful big water season on the rise, I am excited to take the new SnapDragon Armortex Rubber Randed skirt from crushing Idaho bigwater to flailing off of PNW waterfalls.