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Plastic Kayaks are NOT Indestructible

Just a heads up for those of you who are new to kayaking and may have just purchased your first polyethylene plastic kayak – don’t drag your kayak to and from the water, and don’t get in your kayak on shore and then push yourself over sand and gravel to get your boat floating.  Whenever possible, the kayak should be fully floating before you get in.  If you don’t like to get your feet wet, buy waterproof, knee-high boots.  And when you land, try not to run the bow of your boat into the shore.

Rotomolded polyethylene plastic kayaks are extremely “impact”-resistant, but they are not particularly “abrasion”-resistant.  The plastic is very soft and easily scratches when the kayak is dragged on hard surfaces like gravel, pavement, and even coarse sand.  When I sold kayaks at a paddle sport shop, I saw at least a handful of kayaks that were brought in by the owners because they had worn a hole under the very back of the hull from dragging the kayak around on shore.  Needless to say, the manufacturers do not consider this a defect in materials or workmanship and is therefore not covered by the warranty.  Don’t expect the store where you bought the boat to take it back, either.  They can’t return in to the manufacturer, it is difficult to do a satisfactory repair on this kind of damage, and a store can’t afford to eat the cost of a kayak that you destroyed by careless use.  A kayak with a hole worn in the hull generally makes a good planter or sandbox and not much else.

Don’t let this happen to you.  Take care of your kayak properly.  When you are moving the kayak from the car to the water, get a friend to help you carry it by the handles or learn to do a solo shoulder carry.  If you aren’t strong enough to do the solo shoulder carry, buy a cart.  Even an expensive cart is cheaper than buying a new kayak.


This Post Has 2 Comments
  1. I have not used G-Flex either, but it still doesn’t change the fact that this damage will not be covered under warranty and stores will not take back a boat with that kind of damage. G-Flex may work very well, but it’s still a lot easier not to wear a hole in your boat in the first place. The repair in the article you linked looks very good, but I suspect that most people would not achieve a repair that was even close to being as cosmetically pleasing since most people who own recreational kayaks have no experience working with epoxies and kayak repair. At least it appears that G-Flex will help some people avoid turning their kayaks into planters which is a good thing. : )

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