Level Six Play Sprayskirt
Nick Bennett, September 15, 2011
Level Six is an independent Canadian designer of premium paddling and surfing gear. The company was founded by two slalom paddlers who wanted paddling gear designed specifically for paddlers. They now support many of the worlds top kayakers and have an impressive range of products for all aspects of the sport. Level Six is also know for its strong stance on river conservation, donating 1% of their online sales revenue to the Waterkeepers Alliance which protects watersheds around the world. This year Level Six are focusing on the Ottawa Riverkeepers who work to protect the Ottawa, known the world over as a paddling Mecca.
The Play Sprayskirt is their top end whitewater deck, designed to stand up to whatever you can throw at it. It has a machine moulded rubber rand which breaks in to take the shape of your cockpit and means the deck is one size fits all. The deck is made form 4mm neoprene with Armotex side panels and the tube is 3mm neoprene. The seams are all stitched glued and seam taped.
The rubber rand gives and incredibly strong fit to almost all cockpit types, fitting well on anything from a creek boat to a whitewater racer. It gives complete confidence that the deck will not implode even on the biggest of drops or in the largest holes. It is however extremely difficult to put on. When I first got the deck I needed help in order to put it on and even though over time the rand relaxed a bit it still makes getting in and out of your boat a slow two handed job. This is a nuisance in a rescue situation but a small price to pay to avoid deck implosions.
The Armotex reinforcements do a good job of protecting the sides of the deck form damage, especially if you are doing boat over boat rescues. Unfortunately the reinforcements don’t adequetly cover the front of the deck and after only 8 months of use I had developed a serious hole in the front of my deck. I also found that although the stitching and seam tape meant that initially the deck did a great job of keeping me dry, it was only a matter of a few months before the seam tape was falling off. This coupled with the hole in the front meant I would have to stop frequently to empty my boat. I found that the tube had a disappointing fit and would often roll up at the top making a poor seal and leaving an uncomfortable bulk I have never experienced with other sprayskirts.
Level Six’s commitment to protecting rivers and producing top quality products is admirable and although I can appreciate what they were trying to active with this deck, in practice its durability was seriously disappointing. With a redesign and some change of materials coupled with the super strong rand system the Play Sprayskirt would undoubtably offer the top end performance to justify the price tag.
- RRP £100
- Level Six and their commitment to river conservation.
- Product Specification
- Currents TV a stewardship-focused WebTV series Level Six sponsors.
|Level Six store
|Level Six store