Product Reviews Category

Immersion Research Klingon Sprayskirt

Immerson Research Klingon Sprayskirt Review
by Ethan Boswell

Rogue River

Ethan Boswell at Rainie Falls on the Rogue River. Photo by Andrew Romanelli

I recently decided that I needed a new spray skirt. There aren’t too many options on the market, but I had been impressed by the designs coming out of Immersion Research. To my eyes, it seemed as though IR was the only brand innovating in the skirt department.  So, I decided to give them a shot. I was originally going to pull the trigger on a Lucky Charm sprayskirt, with its rubber rand making it the most implosion resistant skirt in their lineup.  However, a little bird told me that the Lucky Charm was not the driest skirt that IR makes. That position belongs to the Klingon sprayskirt, which surprises many people considering that it’s a bungee skirt.


Choosing The Right PFD For You – Feel Comfortable & Safe

Not sure how to choose the right PFD?  Here’s a simple walk-through to highlight some PFD features and their purposes!


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Waterproof Duffel Bag by Ortlieb

You can add the Ortlieb Waterproof Duffel Bag to your list of gear “needs.”  Rugged, Waterproof, and Versatile, this zippered drybag can be carried like a duffel or worn like a backpack.  I recently used it as a checked bag with all of my paddling and camping gear (60L).  When not being used to keep its contents dry, I’ve been using this duffel to also contain wet and dirty gear.  Replace that Rubbermaid bin with a large duffel that’s easier to carry and won’t break!  Coming in at 3 sizes, 4060110L, this bag won’t fit INside a sea kayak, but it’ll hold a Coleman 2-burner stove wonderfully!  Perfect for SUPs, canoes, sit-on-tops, rafts, IKs, and recreational boats, bring your beach towels, lunches, and cameras with the assuredness that everything will be dry.  Ortlieb Waterproof Duffel Bags, in addition to the rest of Ortlieb’s drybags, come with a 5-year warranty to further put your mind at ease!  Duffel-style entry makes packing and finding gear an ease!

What are you waiting for?  You can buy Ortlieb drybags HERE!

Andrew Romanelli

Ortlieb Waterproof Duffel Bag is perfect for keeping your important gear dry and keeping your wet gear contained!

Ortlieb Waterproof Duffel Bag is perfect for keeping your important gear dry and keeping your wet gear contained!

Kokatat Goretex Knappster

For your warm-weather paddling, the Kokatat Goretex Knappster is a secret weapon against the PNW’s cold water.


From mellow sea kayak touring in the San Juan Islands to Class V creekin on the Green Truss, Kokatat’s Knappster is a versatile, short-sleeve splash top.



Made with Goretex Paclite, the Knappster packs down smaller than a grapefruit and has no zippers or latex gaskets to maintain.  In the San Juans, it hides easily in my day hatch, and on the river, effortlessly rides in the back of the boat or in a small drybag.  As a Goretex product, this splash top breathes only like Goretex can!  Why swim in your own sweat, only to get cold when you stop paddling for lunch?



Short-sleeves helps me stay comfortable with the added bonus of soaking up Vitamin D!  Punch-Through cuffs at the arms and cinch-able neoprene neck keep most of the water out of the top, even when rolling in the surf zone!  Double tunnel lets this top pair with your spray skirt, keeping the cockpit nice and dry.  Throw a pair of Sweet Protection Shambala shorts on for some quick-drying shorts with thin neoprene to keep your bum cozy!


The Kokatat Knappster is my secret summer weapon for paddling in comfort and style in the Pacific Northwest.

Andrew Romanelli

Immersion Research K2 Union Suit

Let me just say that comfort is pretty darn important for anything, and the Immersion Research K2 Union Suit is my new favorite base layer for paddling.  Sure, I wore it like pajamas the day I got it, but it’s even better on the water than on the couch.


Coming from a mid-weight fleece onsie previously, I was skeptical about the warmth of the K2 suit.  It’s thin and light weight, but it’s still cozy warm.  This lightweight Polartec dries fast and insulates efficiently.  No zippers on it translate to less bulk under your suit.

It was about 40*F when I took it for a casual float down the river wearing my K2 suit, wool socks, and an extra mid-weight top.  I was cozy all day without ever raising my heart rate.  (IR’s Lucky Charm sprayskirt also kept my boat bone-dry, which helped, I’m sure, but this is one comfy fleece!)

Climbing in through the neoprene neck/yoke is strange to me, but I don’t notice it climbing into the suit anymore.  Even with wide shoulders, getting in is easy.  Getting out is a little trickier, admittedly.

If you’re in the market for some new base layers, Immersion Research’s K2 products are amazing.  Tops, bottoms, and union suits, K2’s will keep you cozy.

-Andrew Romanelli


Immersion Research Lucky Charm Sprayskirt


I learned something new this year:  Not all sprayskirts are created equally.

For a while now, I’ve wondered why I would buy a $200 sprayskirt when my $100 skirts work just fine.  I’m here to tell you this:  you get what you pay for.

It’s the difference between any roll-top drybag and a Watershed drybag.  It’s the difference between a proprietary, waterproof material and Gore-Tex.  The Immersion Research (IR) sprayskirts are a premium piece of kit, and I didn’t think I could be so excited about a skirt.

I’ve recently purchased the Immersion Research Lucky Charm sprayskirt.  IR bills this skirt as being their most implosion resistant due to the rubber rand.  IR’s “dry” skirt is the Kling-On, a bungeed deck instead of the rubber rand.  That being said, the implosion resisant Lucky Charm is the driest skirt I’ve ever used.  Gone are the days of two inches of water inside my boat (unless I forget my drainplug).

So after two years of hemming and hawing, I made the move and bought the Lucky Charm.  This is my first rubber rand skirt, and it was definitely time to try something new.  I wasn’t just pleased with the skirt, I was floored!

What makes the Lucky Charm so dry?  A lot of it is the “three-fin” style rand.  Each “fin” channels water away, providing 3 lines of defense.  The extended fabric on the deck further helps deflect more water, resulting in the driest ride I’ve ever had.  Add the abrasion resistant nylar tape and you’ve got a dry and durable skirt!  It’s a little cheaper than the Royale, which has kevlar instead of nylar.  Personally, I’m not using my skirt to rassle bears, so the kevlar was a little rich for my taste.


Other upsides:  IR is a company founded, designed, and run by paddlers.  Support local, and support small!  Their customer service is also through the roof!  So patient, informative, and all-around nice, helpful folk.  The new grab loop is easy to grab, even with gloved hands.  It might be a tiny detail, but it’s a big deal!

Downside:  The smallest deck size they currently offer is a large, which is too big for my sea kayak (Valley Nordkapp).  But that’s ok.  Maybe that’ll change in the future.  For now, it’s a strong reminder of how awesome sprayskirts CAN be!

Now I know what #IRdry means, and you should too!

-Andrew Romanelli

P.S.- IR tunnels fit different than, say, Snapdragon or Seals tunnels, and their deck sizes are based on cockpit circumference.  Check out sizing info below
IR sizing

Adidas JawPaw Lace paddling shoe

From wading through the slippery rocks of the Upper Clackamas, to everyday-wear as I teach Basics Skill Classes the Adidas JawPaw Lace water shoe has been treating me very well.  They accommodate a neoprene socked drysuit booty quite comfortably and solidly, and also feel great bare foot.  Their low profile fits well into snug cockpits though is hardy enough to protect from stubbed toes on slippery rocks.  These shoes are light and dry quickly.  They do retain sand to some extent; which will remind your feet of the good times they’ve just had.  My pair of JawPaw Lace water shoes have passed the trials of Spring and will be my footwear of choice for the Summer to come.

-Alex Lanz

Check out these sweet water shoes HERE!

Adidas Jawpaw Lace

Adidas Jawpaw Lace

Eddyline Kayaks

Eddyline Kayaks

Alder Creek Kayak and Canoe has a full line of Eddyline Kayaks to demo. Our Eddyline Kayaks demo fleet includes these recreational kayaks: Sky 10, Sandpiper, Rio, Skylark, Equinox. These Sit on Top Kayaks: Caribbean 12, Carribbean 14 and C-135. We have these touring kayaks: Samba, Denali, Journey, Raven, Fathom and Fathom LV. We also have these tandem kayaks: Whisper CL and Shasta.

This fleet is available to test paddle at our Jantzen Beach location: 200 NE Tomahawk Isl Dr, Portland OR 97217 Our shop is  on the North Portland Harbor of the Columbia River. The water is right behind our building. We can have you out kayaking 7 days a week in just a couple minutes. When it comes to deciding on the right kayak there is no better way to decide than spending a few minutes (or a few hours) test paddling.

Call to make a demo reservation: 503.285.0464

We stock most of the fleet for sale but if we do not have the color or model in stock you desire our close proximity to the factory makes getting you the correct Eddyline Kayak a snap. Most of the year we can have your boat delivered to our shop within 2 weeks form the date of order.

What makes an Eddyline kayak special? They are light in weight, pretty to look at, comfortable to sit in  kayaks that have been designed to paddle efficiently. Each boat is a “best in class” design matching the desired use to the paddler who is targeted to that boat. Come try out an Eddyline Kayak at Alder Creek Kayak and Canoe today!

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Check out Eddyline Kayaks Skylark. The top selling 12′ thermoformed kayak.


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Check Out Eddyline Kayaks Denali. This is a very comfortable kayak for the larger paddler.\


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Check Out Eddyline Kayaks Samba. A very light full performance touring kayak for a smaller paddler.


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Check out Eddyline Kayaks Caribbean 12. A light and full featured Sit On Top Kayak.

Stand on Liquid Native 12’6” Touring SUP

Stand on Liquid Native 12’6” Touring SUP review
by Jeffrey Briley

W: 30”
Thickness: 6.7”
Vol: 282 L
Weight: 28 lbs
Price: $1399 $1099
Buy it now at

Native 12'6" SUP

Native 12’6″ SUP

Recently I had the opportunity to take the Stand on Liquid Native 12’6” Touring SUP for a paddle, and the speed and stability profile here is excellent. This board has it all. It’s sleek, it’s really really fast for a 12’6 (actually faster than another manufacturer’s 14’ racing model), it comes outfitted with gear bungees for packing plenty of gear for touring and oozes northwest style.

As I paddled East from our shop on Hayden Island on the Columbia River, I sliced into the current and noticed little resistance with this board. Its displacement nose design reduces drag and assists the single fin in making it an excellent tracking SUP. For the first 2 miles I was able to hit an average of 3.18 knots and once I turned down stream for my return, I was cranking along at a blistering 4.77 knots average and a top speed of nearly 6 knots! Overall that day, the SOL Native 12’6” did just over 4 miles right at 55 minutes. Catching the eye of many a boater on this beautiful sunny morning, one sailor even shouted “Hey! It’s a no wake zone!” So for a board not designed for racing to hit consistent speeds that could keep up with the pack in any SUP race out there, that’s exceptional.

Beyond it’s speed, this is one of those boards that can do it all for anyone. Regardless of your size, the 282L volume ensures stability and adequate flotation to log some knots and enjoy the glide.

Come on up to Alder Creek’s Jantzen Beach location to give the Stand on Liquid Native 12’6”, priced at just $1099 $849, a look and we’ll get you out on the water.

Dry Bag Comparison

A thorough dry bag comparison
by Meloy Ady


On the surface, all dry bags seem fairly similar. But in actuality, they are not all cut from the same waterproof cloth. With so many intents and purposes, it can be tough to tell what will work best for you, and more importantly, what will keep your gear safe.


Sea to Summit Lightweight Dry Sack

dry bags comparison

Lightweight Dry Sack

Kayak camping requires some optimization of your gear, and the space available to store it. The Lightweight Dry Sack is made of 70D nylon, which is extremely malleable for easy storage in the small crevasses of your sea kayak or backpack. While there are lighter weight options out there, we find that the Lightweight Dry Sack is plenty compact, with moderate durability and abrasion resistance as well. Keep in mind that no roll top dry bag is truly submersible, so it’s advisable to stow the Lightweight Dry Sack below deck.


Sea to Summit Stopper Dry Bag

dry bags comparison

Stopper Dry Bag

The Stopper Dry Bag is quickly becoming a favorite with whitewater paddlers in the Pacific Northwest. The 210D Nylon material is coated with TPU to quickly shed water, provide solid abrasion resistance, and prevent damage from extreme cold. The oval design helps prevent the bag from rolling around, making a great choice for canoe’s, rafts or any other open boat. For those of us who tend to abuse gear, the Stopper features a buckle that can be easily replaced in the field. While not entirely submersible, the Stopper does feature a dual seal which greatly improves its performance in whitewater and surf.


SealLine Baja Bag

dry bags comparison

Baja Dry Bag

The tried and true Baja Bag sets the industry standard for durability. The world class toughness is achieved with the use of heavy duty vinyl, reinforced with scrim (a natural textile that prevents stretching, puncturing and bolsters overall strength). The Baja Bag is perfect for whitewater camping trips where your gear might get tossed around on rocky terrain. The dual strip seal has generous vinyl flap that forms a much better seal than your average roll top dry bag. The SealLine Baja Bag can withstand shallow submersions, and will easily float high and dry if you leave some air trapped inside. The one and only downside is the negative environmental impact of producing vinyl. That being said, if you only need to buy one dry bag every 10 years, the carbon footprint is minimal.


Sea to Summit Big River Dry Bag

dry bags comparison

Big River Dry Bag

The Big River Dry Bag shines as an example of how to make a high quality, ethical product. 420D rip stop material is extremely abrasion resistant, and prevents tearing if punctured. The Hypalon roll top closure forms a good seal, thoroughly protecting against splashes and waves. However, it is not intended to be submerged. For best results, it’s advisable to stow the bag below deck, especially if you’re carrying valuable equipment. The cost of the BigRiver is only slightly higher than a run of the mill dry bag, but it’s made without the use of PVC, with a long life span to boot. PVC production accounts for 40% of the United States chlorine consumption, causing serious adverse effects to our ozone layer. While buying one BigRiver dry bag won’t stop global warming, it’s certainly a step towards the right consumer mindset.


Watershed Ocoee

dry bags comparison

Watershed Ocoee

Watershed has a lasting reputation for serious over engineering, and the results are spectacular! The Ocoee features the ZipDry Seal, (think super industrial zip lock) and rolls down for added waterproofing, and compact storage. Unlike any other dry bag on this list, the Ocoee is totally and completely submersible! If you are carrying cameras or other expensive electronics, there is absolutely no substitute for a Watershed bag. The highly durable, abrasion resistant and tear resistant material is designed for years of use in demanding environments. You might be wondering, why would I buy anything else? well…the Ocoee is four times the cost of most 15 liter dry bags. However, I cannot emphasis enough the immense build quality and waterproof properties of any Watershed product. They are indefeasibly the best of the best!

Werner Powerhouse Paddle Review

Werner Powerhouse  (The “go to” unit)

The Pacific Northwest has so much to offer all types of paddlers.  I often find myself grappling with a familiar decision as I stand, staring blankly yet again into the rack of blades in front of me.  Between the two of us, I think my wife and I have accrued some dozen or so paddles that all hang vertically near the base of the basement stairs waiting for action.  Short surf and freestyle blades, burley creeking ones, slalom, long light weight sea touring paddles, canoe, carbon, glass, wood and all the rest…The perfect paddle for every occasion if I could just manage to fit them all on my back like a quiver of arrows, able to pull each of them out as the perfect situation for their use presents its self.

It’s been a dry summer so the rivers have been low.  My plan was to head out to the coast for a little long boat surf session and perhaps a tour around to check out the caves and arches on the outside of the break as the tide drops out.  Before I know it, I yet again find myself reaching, almost reflexively at this point, for the same one.  My trusty 200cm bent-shaft Werner Powerhouse.

It’s tough as nails for the surf and rocks and still light enough to crank some miles without taxing my shoulders too much.  The full carbon shaft is super comfy with great ergonomics and shape making it easy to feel not just where my hands go but what the blade angle is without looking.  The glass blades tend to wear down over the years but crack and chip less than any carbon paddle I’ve ever owned.  It’s just at home dropping into the maw of a towering curler on the sea as it is on the creeks and rivers it was designed for.  If you boat whitewater, be it salty or not, be sure to check this one out: the Werner Powerhouse.

Paul Kuthe

Immersion Research Royale sprayskirt

IR Royale Sprayskirt

Immersion Research Royale Sprayskirt

For enthusiast paddlers that demand the most from their kit, the Royale sprayskirt from Immersion Research is a must have item.  The design, technology and performance of this heavy duty sprayskirt is unmatched in today’s industry and provides an outstanding level of dryness and reliability out there in the water.  The Royale utilizes IR’s proprietary “fin” shaped rand that provides maximum contact between skirt and cockpit, making the Royale a super secure fit that will not end up in your lap if you happen to miss a boof stroke and spend some time throwing those “unintendos” in a stout hole.  Another benefit of the “fin” shaped rand that surprised me was how easily it goes onto my kayak compared to other traditional rubber rand skirts; the added flexibility of the fin makes it stretchier even when the temperature drops, meaning less frustration at the put in and no more fighting with a cold, stiff rand.  An extra lip lock flap of neoprene helps to fill in all the little gaps underneath your cockpit coaming, helping the Royale sprayskirt stay super dry even on those odd shaped cockpit rims (I have extensively tested this skirt’s dryness by spending LOTS of time upside down), and every seam on the Royale is stitched, glued and taped to insure that the inside of your boat stays dry.  Rounding out the amazing set of features on the Royale sprayskirt are 4-way stretch kevlar panels that protect the highest wear areas of any sprayskirt, meaning this ultra rugged deck is built to last.  The Royale is truly an amazing piece of gear that separates itself from everything else in its category, and with its premium combination of features and well deserved reputation for durability and performance in the harshest environments, this latest and greatest design from IR is well worth the investment!

David Trageser

Check one of these sprayskirts out HERE!

Astral Brewer shoe

Astral Brewer shoe

Astral Designs, in their pursuit of premium paddlesports gear, does footwear!  I’m a huge fan of a “do-it-all” sole they make: the Astral Brewer shoe.

Astral launched their footwear in 2012, and it’s more than a pet project, it’s a mission.  Since then, they have not only expanded their shoe line, they’ve already made improvements to their Brewer shoe.

I loved my old Brewer shoes.  I used them for sea kayaking, canoeing, stand-up paddling, hiking, biking, you name it.  The Cordura and AirMesh upper, same stuff from their PFDs, is not only rugged, it also dries fast!  The heel is built to fold down so I can quickly use them as slippers for padding around the car looking for my other pogie or taking the trash out.  Small drain holes in the sides and a drain port at the heel keep large debris from getting in and let water and sand out.

The sole itself is loaded with sneaky features.  Last year, Astral used FiveTen’s Stealth rubber on the Rassler boot and the Brewer shoe.  The new and improved Brewer shoe now uses Astral’s very own G.14 outsole!  This new, rubber sole already provides great traction, but by adding siping, Astral has a competitive proprietary sole.  That’s just the rubber.

The Astral Brewer shoe uses a Balanced Geometry midsole, shaped to ensure stable and predictable footing in uncertain terrain.  There are even plumbed drains to let water out in the midsole around the toe.  Wider in the toe box, these shoes are super comfortable without socks by allowing your foot to spread out naturally.  As I sit behind a computer typing this, I can tell you that the Brewer shoe is also comfortable with socks!

On Thursday, I wore my Brewers whitewater kayaking.  On Friday, I wore them to bike to the bowling alley.  On Saturday, I wore them to the Roseland for a show.  On Sunday, I wore them to teach canoeing at the lake.  Today I’m wearing them at work.  Tomorrow I’ll wear them to teach sea kayak stroke refinement AND work in the shop.  Wednesday they’ll be on my feet running errands around town, and Thursday they’ll be on my feet when we’re running waterfalls.

Ladies:  Check out the Brewess.  Fellas:  Get some Brewers.

I’ll definitely be buying a pair of Astral’s Rassler boot this spring as well.  I only buy new shoes when the old ones have fallen apart, and I’ll be stocked and stoked on the Astral Brewer shoe for quite some time.

Andrew Romanelli

Saltwood Paddles Vitamin C

I’d been eyeing up Saltwood Paddles Vitamin C for a while and finally took the plunge.  It is easily one of my favorite paddles now.

Here’s the bottom line on this beauty — light and aggressive.

Top to bottom:  The over-sized T-grip gives me a great handle to control fine feathering with sure grip.  With a slight curvature above and aggressive curvature below, my palm comfortably saddles over the top of the T-grip and the underside makes a great hook for reeling in stuff (like canoes).  Saltwoods’s signature hollow, laminate, wood shaft with glass sleeve reinforcement is as good as it sounds.  Although this canoe paddle isn’t indexed like their kayak paddles, their construction remains warm in the hand while being both light AND durable.  Lastly, the blade.  Certainly the highlight of this paddle is not it’s sharp looks and light weight, but the draw of Saltwood Paddles Vitamin C is how the blade performs.  From slalom design, this blade is AGGRESSIVE.  Square corners frame a carbon blade spooned yet flat.  With such powerful catch, acceleration is always waiting.  Still, the blade has a flatness to it that makes slicing and blending strokes smooth, strong, and predictable.

I look forward to pushing this paddle and myself, just to see which breaks first.

-Andrew Romanelli

Saltwood Paddles Vitamin C

Saltwood Paddles Vitamin C; Photo by Andrew Romanelli

All of Saltwood Paddles’ blades are available through Alder Creek Kayak & Canoe.  Don’t see what you’re looking for?  Give us a call at 503-285-0464 so we can get it for you.

Valley Gemini SP poly

I first paddled the Valley Gemini as a prototype at Alder Creek’s Paddlefest in April 2013.  For those who don’t know, the Gemini comes in two varieties, SP or Sport Play, and ST or Sport Touring.


Valley Gemini SP Poly; Photo by David Dalbey

My current boat was a hoot.  With it’s flat bottom and lots of rocker, it loved to surf.  It was also relatively efficient, so I had no problem keeping up on day trips.  The problem was that it was a bulletproof composite layup that weighed a ton!  When I tweaked my back getting it on my truck solo, I decided it was time to make a change.


The Gemini I demo’ed at Paddlefest was composite, but I was drawn to the new triple-layer polyethylene version partly due to economics, but also because it would be durable for rock-garden play, and I just wouldn’t have to perseverate over gel coat chips and the cosmetic stuff.  I knew I needed a lighter weight boat and I was pleasantly surprised to find the poly Gemini was about 15 lbs lighter than the composite boat it would replace.  I had no problem throwing this one up on the truck by myself!


I was never worried about the Gemini’s ability to excel in dynamic water.  With its fairly flat hull in the mid-section and decent volume in the bow, it surfs easily.  It has quite a bit of rocker and defined edges, which keeps it pretty loose for a sea kayak.


More concerning was that this would be my every-day boat.  How would it feel to paddle it 10-15 miles with my friends on flat water?  Would it be a dog in flat water, like some of the other rough water play boats?


Even though my Gemini was the Sport Play variety, I was very pleasantly surprised by it’s performance on benign water.  Its first test was an OOPS club trip to the San Juan’s.  We’d be camping at San Juan County Park and day touring, so no need to bring my full on touring boat, so brought the Gemini.  Day one we paddled about 15 miles down to False Bay and back.  This boat was easy to paddle at cruising speed.  Day two was 12 miles from Griffin Bay, across Cattle Pass to Lopez Island & back.  Again, no problem keeping up and it was a hoot when we had the opportunity to play on eddy lines and in current.


I’ve owned the boat for about 4 months now and found that it works well for just about any kind of paddling I’ve done.  I’ve had it in the ocean & surf, in the Columbia River gorge on wind waves, on small rapids in rivers, and paddled it on flat-water trips on the Willamette.


Many people have noticed that the cockpit in the poly version is tighter than the glass prototype.  I originally planned to pull the stock seat out and put in a Valley foam seat, however, I found that quite un-necessary.  What I did do was lower the stock seat about 1/2″ by shaving the foam on the under side of the seat pan and adding spacers between the seat pan and where it attaches to the under side of the deck.  It would be easy to lower it up to an inch.   I also moved the thigh hooks into the forward position and added some very thin foam at the thigh hooks to make it easier to grip the boat.


All in all, my Gemini has proved to be an entertaining all-around day paddling boat!
-David Dalbey



How I lowered the seat:

Step 1 – Remove the seat pan from the boat.

Seat-less cockpit; Photo by David Dalbey


Step 2 – Mark the amount of foam to trim and cut it with a hand saw.

Seat pan marked for trimming; Photo by David Dalbey


Trimmed seat; Photo by David Dalbey

Step 3 – Cut 1″ wide and 1/2″ thick blocks out of polyethelene and drilled holes to correspond to the holes in the top flange of the seat pan

Seat shims; Photo by David Dalbey


Step 4 – Matched the blocks up on top of the seat pan and bolted it all back together again!

Bolt it all back together! Photo by David Dalbey