Kayaks generally do not need much maintenance, but a little bit will go a long way to enhance your pleasure in using the boat. It will also increase the longevity of its appearance and even its structure.
Rinsing out or washing the interior (particularly the cockpit) to rid it of sand, food waste, beach scum and general debris is a good idea after each use and will prevent the growth of mold or other things that can “foul” the interior. A rinse using freshwater is usually sufficient. An easy way to accomplish this is to set the kayak upside down on saw horses and hose out the interior through the cockpit. Excess water and dirt can simply run out of the cockpit. Use a damp cloth to wipe out the insides of your bulkheaded compartments.
Check the foot pedals for freedom of movement. If necessary, wash the sand or mud from the rails with a hose to prevent abrasion and sticking.
A water rinse is often sufficient. Water born scum can be removed with soap. Use a mild solvent like rubbing alcohol to remove stubborn stains. NEVER USE acetone, toluene, MEK, lacquer/paint thinner, or ammonia-based cleaners on Carbonlite 2000.
Rough edges may be sanded with fine sandpaper. Inspect your kayak for extra deep cuts or other damage after use and make appropriate repairs so its performance is never jeopardized when you need it. Keep the hatch cover and rim free of sand or other material that could prevent a good seal.
It is a good idea to inspect your deck hardware occasionally. Make sure all nuts are secure and there is not any unusual wear in the deck where the bolt inserts.
Check the shock cord ends where they attach to the fittings and check the shock cord itself for wear and abrasion.
The nylon that covers the shock cord is susceptible to UV damage and will age with time. If this is so, it is easily replaced. It is important that the 4-point self-rescue bungies behind the cockpit are maintained in good condition.
The carry handles at each end of the boat should be able to support the weight of the boat. Check for wear on the rope. It can be easily replaced as well.
Carbonlite Kayaks are easy to repair. The method used varies somewhat with the extent of the damage. The key ingredient in the adhesive we recommend is Methyl Methacrylate. It is commonly referred to as Plastic Welder and sold under several brand names:
Eddyline offers Devcon Plastic Welder in a 25ml blister pack on our store (ground shipment only). You can also purchase a Carbonlite Repair Kit which includes the Devcon Plastic Welder and everything you need for a basic repair Carbonlite Repair Kit.
Light to moderate surface scratches on Carbonlite kayak decks and hulls can be repaired in the following manner: The procedures begin with the most gentle treatment and move to more an aggressive and detailed process. Start anywhere on the list and move up the list until you are happy with the result.
Here’s a fracture from this kayak being pinned against a piling with a lot of water pushing against it. No one was hurt and this kayak will be as good as new in one hour.
Here is a detailed step by step photo tutorial on how to repair thermo-formed kayaks. This repair was completed in less than 1 hour with materials easily available at any local hardware or big box store.
1. Devcon Plastic Welder
This adhesive is very similar to that used to build Eddyline kayaks. It is readily available at most local hardware and big box stores in the adhesives section.
2. Fiberglass Cloth
2-3″ wide fiberglass cloth can be purchased from most marine hardware and auto parts stores. The material sold in Eddyline’s online store is especially nice because the sides of the cloth are closed with stitching and won’t fray.
3. Cardboard Working Surface
4. Squeegee or Spreader to Spread Adhesive
5. (Optional) Hobby Pigment
Used for coloring Devcon Plastic Welder adhesive for highly visible repair areas (i.e., exterior). Krylon Fusion Acrylic Spray Paint can also be used by spraying a small amount into the glue while it is being mixed.
6. Rubbing Compound for Final Sanding
400, 800, and 1200 Wet sandpaper for finishing.
7. Masking Tape and appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (gloves, etc.)
Keeps it all clean and your work within the “lines”
Clean the repair area of the kayak with isopropyl or rubbing alcohol. Mask the repair area. Apply Devcon Plastic Welder on one side of the fiberglass tape and use a squeegee to spread evenly over the entire cloth. Pick up this strip and apply the wet side down to the inside of the damaged surface.
Wait a minute and then add and spread Devcon Plastic Welder to the exposed “dry side” of the fiberglass tape. Repeat the same process for a second patch, covering the first patch.
The inside repair is finished and you can remove the tape.
Move to the outside of the repair and use a Dremel or similar tool to create a groove where the fracture was. This will receive pigmented Devcon Plastic Welder for the exterior cosmetic repair.
After filling the groove with pigmented Devcon Plastic Welder, you can use a razor blade to take down the extra adhesive before it gets hard. Otherwise, wet sand the finished repair until smooth, then polish.
Back to the Water!
I use the above repair materials for repairing Royalex Canoes and even Composite (Glass, Kevlar and Carbon) Kayaks and Canoes. The reason I prefer the method and materials described above is that the materials store easily in the field and mixing the adhesive is a cinch. Using conventional polyester resins and hardeners like MEK (a known carcinogen) in the field is not only hard to mix correctly but also more cumbersome to carry and store after use. Devcon Plastic Welder is really an amazing adhesive that cures to handling strength in 20 minutes. In the repair above we use Devcon Plastic Welder as the “resin” to laminate glass to the inside of the kayak. We also use Devcon plastic welder mixed with a small amount of hobby pigment to match the color to the outside of the boat. This step is not necessary in the field.
The repair materials pictured and used above are small enough to even fit in my PFD as a field repair kit.
You can also just use Devcon Plastic Welder as a filler for scratches and gouges:
Carbonlite is harder than a gel coat (composite kayaks). Carbonlite boats will not scratch or gouge as easily as a Fiberglass boat. I think that Carbonlite does even better on glancing impact than a fiberglass boat that can get spider fractures. Loaded Impact and Torsional Flex is more debatable and probably unique to individual injury. In a rough surf zone crash, you might end up doing repairs on both glass and carbonlite. Different types of repair…and, in my opinion, a glass boat is more difficult because spidering gel cracks are a real pain.
If the area is stable you may proceed with the following immediately, if not wait until the previous application sets (usually about one half hour), then proceed with the remaining steps.
Modulus hulls, in a nutshell, are Carbonlite 2000 on the exterior, and composite (Fiberglass/Kevlar) on the interior. Therefore they may be repaired with methods that would work on either Carbonlite kayaks (for the deck and exterior of the hull) or Composite kayaks (for the interior of the hull). Modulus Extreme kayaks are a hybrid of Carbonlite and Kevlar on both the deck and hull.
For the interior of a Modulus hull
A Carbonlite 2000 repair kit available from your dealer will repair most damage sustained in the field on Carbonlite 2000 or Modulus kayaks. It can be used on Carbonlite as well as the Kevlar interior of the Modulus hull. Duct tape can be used for emergency repairs.
The Skeg system is quite simple. The skeg blade pivots down from the skeg housing. At the top of the housing, the skeg cable exits through plastic tubing that is attached to the underside of the deck. The skeg cable attaches to the skeg, runs through the tubing, and ends at the steel rod found in the recess on the right side of the deck. The black control knob slides over the rod. The center of the control knob has a screw that penetrates the rod and the cable and allows you to raise and lower the skeg. (See diagram below)
If the skeg does not deploy freely, first check the housing for debris such as small pebbles or sticks. These objects can enter the housing when launching from a beach. If the skeg is really jammed, do not force the control knob. Use a wire or string through the pull hole at the end of the skeg to free it. If the skeg housing is clean, next check that the screw on the control knob is screwed into the cable. When you move the knob, the rod should move also. Then check that the cable tubing is secured in its connections at the skeg housing and recess. Those points have compression fittings. If the tubing is free of the fitting, reinsert the tubing by pushing it in firmly through the ring and seat it into the fitting. You can also remove the cork and flush water through the entire assembly for cleaning out debris.
Unless your kayak has a crack, leaks primarily occur in the following areas: seams, ends, hatch rims, bulkheads, skeg housings, or fittings. Over time, leaks can develop from various sorts of stresses including freezing and thawing, shock, overtightening car tie downs, etc… Most leaks are easy to fix, the trick is finding them. The menu below contains some procedures and suggestions.
On a dry day on the lawn or on sawhorses, put 3-5 gallons of water in each compartment (one at a time). Watching carefully, roll or lift the kayak to force the water over any suspect area and watch for where it runs or drips out. It is surprising how much water accumulates in a few hours with a drip. Also watch for the transfer of water from one compartment to another. This would indicate a bulkhead leak. Remember, the bulkheads are vented with a tiny hole in the center, so you will be looking for leaks or seepage around the perimeter.
Since a leak rarely means a structural problem, simple sealants like a marine polyurethane sealant are quite adequate for stopping them. Once you have identified a leak, press a very small amount of sealant into the area with a finger or rag. Be sure to wipe off the excess, you just want to seal the pore that is allowing water to pass. We prefer to do the sealing on the inside when you can reach the problem, otherwise, apply the seal to the outside or both sides.
3M 5200 Fast Cure or any other marine grade polyurethane sealant. Silicone may be used, however, once you use silicone in an area, nothing else will stick to it in the future. This may cause problems if you need to do further repairs.
If your hatch rims leak, it is best to seal them from the underside. Spread a small amount of sealant like a marine polyurethane sealant into the gap between the rim edge and the kayak deck edge. This is an easy area to reach and will not affect the appearance of the kayak. Wipe off the excess.
Seal the skeg housing from the inside of the kayak, which is located inside of the rear hatch. If you are unable to locate the specific area of the leak, seal around the perimeter of the housing by pressing into the joint. Pay particular attention to the ends. Wipe off any excess.