Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Klingon!

The new Klingon sprayskirt from Immersion Research replaced the popular SBD (Simple, But Dry) series and has clearly evolved from the earlier design. For those unfamiliar with this style of sprayskirt, it is a bungee skirt that sandwiches a flap of neoprene between the bungee and the cockpit rim. What was unique about the SBD (and continues to be so great with the Klingon) is the rubberized coating on the underside of the neoprene where it contacts the cockpit rim, which creates an impressively dry seal.

My first exposure to this design came a few years ago while gearing up at the put-in for the Gauley when a friend showed me the SBD design he was using on his playboat. As soon as he showed me the rubberized coating on the neoprene, the light bulb went off in my head. It was so obvious! The give of the neoprene, combined with the sealing ability of the rubber coating, would mate much better with the cockpit rim than skirts with a hard rubber rand or regular bungee skirts. I was sold… I ordered one for my playboat the following week.

(Little River Canyon, AL - photo by Cliff Knight)

As a Pyranha paddler, every boat in my fleet has the one screw on each thighbrace that sits right where the rubber rand of a skirt would seat against the cockpit rim. Once I started using the SBD on my playboat, difference in how dry my boat would be was remarkable. The harder rubber rand of the skirts that I had been using were not as malleable and therefore couldn’t seal against the screw the way the soft neoprene of the SBD/Klingon does. I was so impressed with how dry my new skirt was keeping my playboat, after a few months I ordered one to fit my creekboat and immediately started using it as my primary creeking skirt.

(Johnnies Creek, AL - photo by Drew Armstrong)

Last year I tore a sizable hole in my creeking skirt right around the time the SBD was upgraded to become the Klingon. Naturally, I upgraded as well and couldn’t be happier. The Klingon is easier to put on (especially when dry) and so far seems to be more durable (better reinforcement on the topside and a more durable rubber coating on the underside). The rubberized coating of these designs also makes them more implosion resistant than other bungee skirts because of the way it seals/sticks to the cockpit rim. Before the SBD, I had always used rubber rand skirts due to fears of implosion, but now use the Klingon with the same degree of confidence.

(Short Creek, AL)

Since switching to the Klingon, I’ve paddled lots of creeks, waterfalls, and a speedy (7-day) self support trip down the Grand Canyon. The Klingon has served me well under all of these conditions and it provides the driest fit of any skirt I’ve tried (especially for that tricky Pyranha thighbrace screw). In the spirit of fully testing this skirt, I’ve even tested the grab loop (twice!) and can fully testify to its functionality (but those are stories for another day). As with all IR skirts, it’s available in a full line of tunnel and deck sizes or it can be mated onto their drytops to create a custom drydeck (which I hope will be my next purchase!). Weather you’re playboating or creeking, anyone who prizes a dry boat should consider the Klingon as their next skirt.

Until Next Time…

Adam Goshorn

(Little River Canyon, AL - photo by Cliff Knight)

kayak session