IR’s triple-grooved rubber rand privileges a bomber seal, rather than ease of fit—it took some serious muscle for us to stretch this spray skirt around our cockpit rim, but once in place the Royale didn’t budge until we pulled the oh-crap strap.

Super sticky rubber strips line the inside of the spray skirt’s deck, intended to further reduce the risk of implosion. The rand holds up so well that it was impossible for our testing to check how much extra hold this feature adds, but they do cling to the side of the kayak, helping it stay perfectly in place.

One of the challenges of spray skirt deck design is the necessity for a single skirt size to fit dozens of different cockpit shapes. Even snug-fitting skirts can leak a bit around the cockpit rim in big water. IR uses a clever apron design—extending the neoprene past the rand a couple of inches—to further improve the Royale’s dry seal.

Read More: 7 Cold Water Paddling Essentials

Four-way-stretch Kevlar and ultra-reinforced seams mean the Royale will last. These top-of-the-line materials, plus extensive R&D and quality workmanship all add up to a top-of-the-line price. IR is unapologetic. The whole point is that it’s a high-end product using the highest quality materials. If you don’t think the Royale Rand spray skirt is money well spent, you’re probably not paddling big enough water.

$235 | www.immersionresearch.com

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