Extreme Kayak Repair E-mail
Wednesday, 24 August 2011 07:25

When I was a retailer I had a lot of opportunity to repair kayaks. I got to experiment with kayaks that most would think were totals and I was able to repair them. In my early days a ski welding gun was the best available means for most hull repairs. That was then and this is now.

My second winter in Florida I stopped by Saltwater Sports in Naples to say hi to Chris and see what was new. He asked if I was familiar with G Flex and I wasn’t. He said it was the first epoxy he’d ever seen that said it worked on plastic kayaks. It even mentioned them on the packaging! I immediate bought some and have been using it ever since.

Several years ago I received a Tarpon 100 that was stabbed by a fork lift in shipping. The fork lift left a hole that was immense and the kayak was a total. The trucking company paid for the kayak and I got to keep the hull as a display kayak. I decided to see if I could repair it. At the time welding was the best technique we had. So I made the repair. I got many years out the kayak in some challenging conditions as I tend to use the 100 for small waters and rivers. In some of the rivers I bounce down the rapids hitting rocks on a regular basis. After I became aware of G Flex I kept saying to myself that I ought to redo the repair but since the weld was holding up nicely there were always other things to do. Why fix what isn’t broke?

Hole created by fork lift

Early this month Bill and I did a float on the Passaic River below The Great Falls. This part of the river has the largest drop and there are several riffles and rapids. Besides bouncing over rocks the river runs through one of the oldest cities in the US. There are all sorts of things in the river. Bill didn’t have any small kayak appropriate for the trip so while I was in the Coosa he used the 100. When we got to our take out spot I noticed the 100 was very low in the water. Bill said it was a bit sluggish. No wonder it was full of water. On either a rock or something else the weld been torn. It took quite some time to drain all the water.  Now I had my chance to repair the kayak using G Flex.

Old weld

close up of weld with tear in upper right

First I used a Dremel™ tool with a sanding bit to remove all the welding material and clean out the hole. Since it was a large hole (5 by ½”) I used a piece of Gorilla tape on the inside of the kayak to give the epoxy some barrier so it could set up.  I mixed up a batch of G Flex and placed it over the area. I didn’t mix up enough to completely fill in the entire area fully because I felt I should do it in two applications. I let the epoxy cure for several days due to the thickness. It didn’t need this long but I had other things to do and it was over a week until I got back 3_copy_copy_copy to it. I roughed up the epoxy with the Dremel™ and built a dam out of cardboard so I could fill in the area near the bottom channel on the kayak. It was several days before I got back to it and finished off the kayak using the Dremel™ again. Iexpect this repair to last the life of the kayak.

5_copy_copy First layer of G Flex Dam to support epoxy drying

Second layer filled in

Finished repair

 

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