Kayak care & maintenance
Maintenance. Generally kayaks don't need too much maintenance. But like everywhere and with everything, a little care will be helpful. After every using, remove sand and dirt from both inside and outside of your kayak. Rinsing with water is usually enough. Check also, that foot- braces can move normally. To keep the rubber hatches soft and stretching, you can rub them with silicone lubricant time to time. To keep fiberglass shiny, use quality car- or boat wax on that. It will protect kayak from UV-rays and keeps it looking brand new.
Storage. Storing your kayak properly is one step in good care. For long- term storage, it is important to protect kayak from sun- rays or extreme heat. So if possible, store your kayak indoors. Holding it vertically, on it's end is a good idea (suitable room is problematic). Or you can hang it by slings. In that case, put the slings near to the midsection, not to the ends of the kayak. If storing kayak horizontally on the ground, you should put some softenings between kayak and the ground. Before storage, dry the kayak and take hatches away (it lets storage compartments "breathe").
Repairing gel coat and/or fiberglass
. All kayaks get smaller or bigger damage during hard using. Hitting the rocks, scratches from bottom of the sea, falling to asphalt or concrete etc. may scratch or crack gel coat or even break fiber-glass (picture
). Repairing it by yourself is possible. Generally, it should look like this:
- Cut off all damaged gel coat. If necessary, remove also broken fiber-glass (picture);
- Inside the kayak, sand damaged area with sandpaper;
- Cut the proper piece of fiber- glass sheet. Overlap damaged area at least some 2-3 cm (picture);
- Mix resin and catalyst. Approx. 3% of catalyst is OK;
- Apply resin to hull at damaged area;
- Brush resin onto the fiber- glass. Be sure, that fiber-glass is completely wet;
- Apply wet material to the damaged area and roll it smooth;
- After curing, clean damaged place with acetone from outside;
- Mix gel coat with catalyst (3 % of catalyst is OK again) and apply this mix on repaired area (picture). After curing, sand it. Probably, after first adding of new gel coat, you can't get surface smooth and even with old gel coat. So clean the area with acetone again and fill the concaves with gel coat (picture). And sand again;
- If no concaves anymore, finish this work, using smaller and smaller fractioned sandpaper;
- Polish the repaired place.
If you have done everything carefully, it will be difficult to find the repaired area later... (picture