Whitewater Kayaking Hub

Review: IR Lucky Charm

Author: Matthew Brook

Immersion Research: Lucky Charm

Once again, just like my Devil’s Club review before I get to the Lucky Charm spray deck review, a disclaimer: I get my Immersion Research stuff on a pro deal. I have distinct incentive to tell you that IR is amazing! Frankly though, all reviews are biased and comparison is a crude science at the best of times, but if you want to use this to inform your buying decisions then at least I’ve warned you! 

The IR Lucky Charm

If you’re here, it’s likely you have already decided you want a rand skirt, but you just want some more detailed information. If not though, IR have produced a really handy guide about the difference between bungee and rand decks so check that out here and then come back!

Over the years, I have owned various iterations of this same deck, which I would describe as IR’s workhorse rand deck, and it is interesting to note how the product has developed. 

"providing you with completely dry legs and total peace of mind from implosion."

In terms of features, the latest version differs from its earlier brethren by borrowing the outward-turned apron concept from the Royale, providing an even drier seal.

IR have also made a general move away from the old asymmetric plastic grab-handles towards a sturdy fabric one – named the Eagle Talon in true ‘Murican fashion! Personally, that is a move that I massively welcome, if only for the entirely ridiculous reason that the old handles used sit awkwardly on the cockpit rim and stick up in the air, which looked silly! But also, having had those old plastic handles take sun-damage and snap before, the switch to fabric is a positive one. 

A modern alternative to the RPM, the Pyranha Ripper. Paddler: Jack Grace Photo: Tom Clare

IR’s rand decks have always had some form of sticky silicone strip for grip on the cockpit rim. Having used several of them, this latest (I believe) brushed version, with its slight ridges running parallel to the cockpit rim, is by far the best yet. Even when the grab handle is released, the silicone will sit in place happily until greater force removes it – ideal for those playboating moments when you just want to quickly adjust your over-thruster but don’t want to have to faff around putting your spray deck on again. 

These design details are secondary, however, to the material choices. Where the very first IR Lucky Charm I owned, back in 2012, had very little by way of edge protection and required patching after a season or so of use. This most recent iteration features Schoeller Dynamic® abrasion resistant sections, which are thus far proving incredibly rugged. 

In fact, the only feature that now separates the Lucky Charm from the Royale is the precise material used for this edge protection: Schoeller Dynamic® on the Lucky Charm and Schoeller Keprotec® on the Royale. The Dynamic fabric is described as a “high endurance” generic sportswear pattern – water-resistant, stretchy and abrasion resistant – whilst the Keprotec® is for use in motorsport, military and workwear clothing. Essentially, if you’re looking for something to take on expeditions to the most demanding and gear-abusive environments, the Royale probably remains the weapon of choice. For most weekend warriors, and even those going to more hardcore locations, the Lucky Charm will serve as a reliable, implosion-resistant, dry tool. 

By way of a conclusion: like I said, the Lucky Charm is a workhorse and an able one at that. It will go pretty much anywhere you need it to, withstand all but the very harshest conditions and last for a healthy number of seasons, all while providing you with completely dry legs and total peace of mind from implosion.

The Author

Matthew Brook is a whitewater kayaking coach from the South of England. 

He focuses predominantly on down river freestyle but loves creek boating,  play boating and is happiest any time he can get on the water.