This past week we received our first shipment of AquaGlide splash decks – optional accessories which can turn your AquaGlide kayak from an open design to an enclosed one or two seater. The decks can be used with the Chelan, Columbia XP and Columbia HB series inflatable kayaks.
There are two deck options in three lengths – a single for solo paddling and a double for tandem paddling – sized to fit the single, two and tandem sizes. The spray decks keep water and wind out during chilly or inclement weather, while the coaming tubes allow you to attach optional spray skirts for even more protection from the elements.
We initially looked at the Tandem spray decks, a single and a double-seater sized for the Columbia XP, Columbia HB and Chelan Tandem XLs.
Installing the AquaGlide Spray Decks
The decks are quite portable. They each arrive rolled up in separate, draw-string, carrying cases measuring 42 x 3 x 12 inches and weighing in at 9 lbs each. (AirKayaks note: As the cases are identical, you may want to mark them 1 and 2 for differentiation.)
Each deck comes with a repair kit and a set of 14 clips.
There are no instructions included, but once you get the hang of it, installing the decks is pretty simple. We began with the double deck.
Remove the deck from the bag, and drape it over the kayak, aligning ends with the raised visors. (AirKayaks note: As we learned the hard way, there is a right and wrong way to orient the decks. Make sure that the plastic zippering “map case” is positioned in the bow, and that the twistlok valves on each of the coaming areas are on the back side of each cockpit opening.)
With the kayak fully inflated, take each of the clips and attach them to the cloth d-rings, located 6 on each side, and one each on the front and back raised visors. To make things easy, the clips can be left in position – if you purchase both decks, you’ll then have one full extra set if any clips are lost.
The visor portion is quite simple, but not intuitive at glance. Roll over the deck bow so that it slips over the raised visor – repeat this in the stern.
You will notice that each of the d-rings lines up with velcro strips on the spray decks.
Run the velcro loops through the clips, and fasten shut, pulling slightly to make it taught.
Next, inflate the two coaming tube twistloks (1 per seat). The coaming tubes help deflect water, but also can be used to attach optional spray skirts. The Boston valve adaptor will not friction fit over the twistlok so you will have to do one of