Applying a Kevlar skid plate to a


Did a rocky beach surf landing the other day and it beat up the bow. I want to give it some abrasion resistance so I bought some Kevlar mat fabric for the job.

Any tips on applying?

I have built 2 S and G boats, so I have epoxy and have used it a lot.

My advice is, make a hat from the felt
and order some S-glass from .

The S-glass should be applied in 3 bias-cut, concentric pieces, largest first. It isn’t much harder than doing a Kevlar felt patch, and you get a sleeker, harder, stronger, smooth wearing, and easier to repair skid pad.

I hate to see a good kayaker go bad.

Sunrift has some of that; i’ll take this
back and trade.

Not big on mat
If it were me I would not use mat. Mat soaks up a LOT of resin and adds a LOT of weight. I’d use some light weight woven cloth and epoxy resin. Make it as narrow as you can. If you use mat use the lightest mat you can find and trim it down as much as possible.


– Last Updated: Aug-27-11 2:03 PM EST –

I decided one day to follow g2d's advice on s-glass instead of kevlar. He is correct. I put a piece of fiberglass on the bow of my royalex canoe - it is a much cleaner and graceful abrasion strip than kevlar.
I've decided that Kevlar mat is better only for the "canoe abuse crowd" - people that do lots of D-Day landings.

Keel Strip?
I’m not sure if this is what you had in mind (not sure if there’s a difference between a skid plate and keel strip), but there’s a discussion of applying a keel strips to kayaks in the Have Kayaks Will Travel blog – It’s the most recent post, as of this moment, and talks about something called “KeelEasy.”

I am the developer of KeelEazy protective strip. Lab tests have say it is 14 times more abrasion resistant than a typical resin and cloth application. It also weighs .6 oz per foot. Roughly half that of fiberglass. It takes about 30 minutes to install and it is ready to paddle. You can see a video of the install on youtube under Keeleazy.

It looks like a great product, though
the “14 times” test makes a glass job sound like it is real draggy. In fact, my S-glass patches drag fairly easily and wear smooth. They also provide a good deal of structural support to the area. I look forward to seeing how your approach works on Royalex canoes.

How about Kevlar?

not so hot
Kevlar felt has commonly been used for commercial skid plate kits. It is fairly thick.

Kevlar cloth tends to fuzz up when abraded so it is not as good a choice as fiberglass.

If you have a royalex canoe I would be happy to send you a free sample piece to test. go to the website to order free sample and then let everyone how it works.



Kevlar fibers are unusual. Under
tension, they resist like crazy. But under compression, they tend to “scrunch” and are no better than E-glass, maybe less. On the outside of a hull, and in an exterior patch, the most concentrated stresses are likely to be compressional. So even if a skid pad is made of Kevlar cloth, rather than felt, it will be disappointing in performance.

Carbon cloth will perform well, but is too soft and wears away with dragging. Carbon is a bit brittle also, but still an excellent “outside” cloth structurally. Wonderful strength in compression, great strength in tension.

S-glass is the hardest fiber available in a cloth for composite boats. It has quite a bit better compression strength than Kevlar, better tension strength than E-glass, wears well and wears smooth. It may crack, though it’s less brittle than carbon, and it’s easy to repair.

Keel Easy looks great to me
I have been dealing with this issue on royalex canoes all my life. Tell me, does Keel easy adhere well to royalex? Will it hold up to years of running up on gravel beaches?

Three years ago when I first started testing KeelEazy I purposely drug my kayak to and from the beach over sand and gravel every time I went paddling. I just recently removed the Keeleazy and replaced with a new strip. The strip was still good I just wanted to see what the hull looked like. After removal I cleaned with alcohol and the hull loked brand new where the KeelEazy had been. I am not sure how long it will last, but it is easy to remove/replace and half the price of similar fiberglass. Go to and send for a free sample. Then you can find out for yourself.