Spraydeck Sizing

Fitting the correct spraydeck size to your kayak


Spraydecks are a common item of equipment across almost all types of kayaking. The piece of neoprene or nylon that covers the open cockpit area holds the kayaker in place whilst also protecting against the ingress of water and the elements.

Kayaks come in all shapes and sizes. However there is not a de-facto spraydeck size, shape or material; there are many different types to suit different paddling disciplines. Choosing the right spraydeck for your kayak therefore can be a little difficult, so we've written this guide to help you find the right spraydeck size for you and your kayak.


Anatomy of a Spraydeck

There are 2 main parts to any spraydeck, the waist-tube and the deck. The waist-tube is the cylinder of material which goes around the body of the wearer and helps keep water from entering the kayak by running between the deck and the paddler. The Deck is the section of material which attaches to the kayak and covers the cockpit area.

The waist-tube is usually the easiest measurement to get right (most people have a rough idea of their waist size!). once you have chosen a make and model of spraydeck, check that it will fit your waist, simple!

Deck size is a little more difficult. Kayak shapes are less than standardised and over the years there have been countless shapes and sizes of cockpit. The best way to make sure your spraydeck is a perfect fit for you kayak is the measure the dimensions of the cockpit rim (the hole you sit in!) and compare it to our table below:


UK Size USA Size  Whitewater Size Max Cockpit Length (cm) Max Cockpit 
Width (cm)
1 XXS   70cm 40cm
2 XS      
3 S Riot 85cm 50cm
4 M Keyhole 92cm 55cm
5 L Bigdeck 100cm 60cm
6 XL Super Big 105cm 60cm
7 XXL Super Duper Big 110cm 62cm

Make a note of what UK sizing number, or whitewater size name and then get in touch with one of our Stores. Let us know the boat you are using the deck with and the size you have measured the cockpit to be. We can then find the right deck for you and your boat.


Neoprene or Nylon?

Both serve a purpose, but whats the difference?

The answer is fairly simple. Neoprene offers a stretch and grip to the boat that nylon simply cannot, and nylon is far easier to remove in an emergency (and to get the right waist size). The option to go for is basically on both the type of paddling you are doing and pure personal preference. If you are looking for a spraydeck to take you down whitewater or mess about in the surf and need a fully waterproof seal, a neoprene deck is a must. More experienced Touring and Sea Kayakers will also favour a neoprene deck for a more watertight seal to cope with a range of different paddling conditions. For almost any other paddling activity, a nylon/fabric/recreational deck is perfect.

Most of the staff at Canoe Shops Group will paddle with a neoprene spraydeck for the vast majority of paddling discplines but in some cases will still adopt the use of a Nylon spray deck. Almost all of our reviews feature nylon spray decks as they are an excellent choice for the recreational paddler..