Paddling Gear Reviews

Using the Advanced Elements Convertible Kayak Single and Double Spray Decks

When recently writing up a review on the Advanced Elements AE1007 Convertible kayak, we had a chance to use the AE2021 and AE2022 single and double spray decks, which convert the kayak from an open design to an enclosed one or two seater.

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. There are two deck options – the single for solo paddling and the double for tandem paddling.

Getting Started

The decks are quite portable. They each arrive rolled up in separate mesh bags measuring 25 x 8 x 3 inches – the single deck weighs approximately 3.3 lbs while the double deck weighs 3.85 lbs.

There are no instructions included, but installing the decks are pretty simple. The kayak needs to be fairly deflated to get the zippers attached – I have managed to get them on inflated but it’s tough, and you don’t want to put too much pressure on the zippers. If your kayak is already inflated, then deflate the outer main valve enough that it is “saggy.”

Your convertible has a “hidden” half zipper running around the open cockpit, which matches up with the zipper on the spray deck.

To install the double deck, roll out the deck across the kayak, with the velcro strip towards the kayak bow and the zipper head towards the stern. There is a matching zipper head on the kayak zipper. Insert the flat zipper end on the deck into the zipper head on the kayak, and then the flat zipper end of the kayak into the zipper head on the deck. Pull the zippers around until you reach the front velcro tab – unbuckle the clip, slip the velcro underneath and then reclip. The velcro tab helps keep water from dripping in at the “connection points.”

Continue by pumping up your kayak in the standard manner – the outer valve first, then the inner and then the floor. Inflate the deck lifts. Then, inflate the four coaming tube twistloks (2 per seat) using the conical Boston valve adaptor, which slips over the twistloks. Each tube inflates with just one or two pumps. The coaming tubes help deflect water, but also can be used to attach optional spray skirts. Install the thwart, attach the seat. Done!

The single deck has a different set of instructions – as there is only one centrally-located opening, it is tough getting to some of the inflation valves. First pump up the inner main chamber until it starts to fill out, then pump up the front deck lifts. Now follow the same instructions for attaching the deck (attach the two zippers, zip up the deck and place the velcro tab under the buckle). Finish pumping up the kayak using the outer main chamber, then the floor. (Please note: if using the dropstitch floor rather than the standard floor, pump this up initially after the inner chamber, as the inflation valve is at the far rear and not accessible when the deck is in place). The single deck does not use the thwart, so pump up the two coaming tubes around the cockpit opening and attach the seat. Done!

Features and Specifications:

The deck material is the same diamond ripstop material and color as the kayak. Both decks have outer dimensions of 86 inches long by 25.5 inches wide, with cockpit openings of 30 x 18 inches.

The double deck has one “stiffening rod” in the center between the two seating areas, which helps maintain shape/prevent water from pooling. The front paddler has approximately 53 inches of leg room from the seat back to the front interior, while the back paddler has approximately 43 inches. There is 19 inches of “deck top” between the two paddlers.

The single deck has two “stiffening rods” (before and behind the seating well). It also has 4 d-rings spaced 12-14 inches apart – this is a great touch because it is impossible to reach the front bungee deck lacing while paddling. The bow bungees are best used to store items you want to transport but will not need to access. There are 57 inches of legroom in front, and 36 inches of potential storage space behind.

On the Water
Both the single and double decks are easy to put on, take up minimal space, and can provide some additional “deck top” real estate for storage.

Thick cording runs the kayak circumference, covering the zippers to further deflect water; the only thing to note is that water can drip in through the small rear gap where the two zippers come together. We have also heard from customers that water sometimes pools on the decks, and there have been a variety of creative home-make “spray deck lifts” to counter the problem  – check out the Advanced Elements forum for details. But please note that we have not experienced pooling, but also have not been out in very choppy weather.

If I were to make a “spray deck wish list”, the addition of d-rings on the double deck between the two paddlers – or a built in mesh pocket such as on the Lagoon – would be a great touch. Rear d-rings on the single deck would allow for additional closer storage options, while bungee deck-lacing through the front d-rings would allow it to be more versatile.

The only other item  of note – it becomes apparent that the Rapidup sail would be difficult to use when solo paddling. While one of the Rapidup strong points is the ability to paddle without holding the sail line, utilizing the bow d-rings would be impossible to reach. One option is to use the four d-rings on the single front deck, with the dowsing line looped through the buckle clip by the coaming tube twistlocks. While not perfect, it does allow you to sail downwind though there isn’t much “swing room” for paddling. So just sit back and enjoy the ride. Additionally, a WindPaddle sail would also work well by connecting to the two further d-rings on the deck.

Bottom Line:

The spray decks are a great addition when you want to 1) keep out of the sun 2) protect from wind 3) reduce the amount of water entering the kayak or 4) store gear undercover or 5) add a spray skirt. And then there are some people (like me) who prefer the more enclosed feeling. These are just two more options that further expand the versatility of the Advanced Elements Convertible, making it a classic, all-time winner.

Watch our YouTube video on the deck installation and features.

For more info visit the product pages for the Convertible Single Deck and the Convertible Double Deck at as well as the Advanced Elements AE1007 Convertible Kayak.

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