Awlgrip Finish on a Kayak?

Just curious, I’ve heard some pretty odd ideas but this one is interesting. It was my idea that Awlgrip was for racing sailboats, stuff that wouldn’t have to worry about impacts and remain in deep water.

The way I see it Awlgrip requires renting a paint booth or doing major league work instead of minor touch ups that you can with gelcoat, and by comparison, thinner, softer, more fragile and creates pretty deep marks that cause loss in turbulent flow pretty quickly and a wetting of the composite under-layers which is always a bad thing. So it’s not only 10x more expensive, but a lot more work and requires repairs far more frequently.

The only advantages I see in using Awlgrip vs gelcoat is lighter weight by a couple pounds and better weather resistance; the price difference pays for an awful lot of 303 protectant!

Doesn’t seem like a very good idea to me but curirous if anyone with experience using Awlgrip to finish a kayak?

There’s no reason to use Awlgrip for a paddle craft. It’s designed as high end refinishing paint for larger hulls, and as you note, requires professional level application and working environment. If someone wants to repaint a canoe or kayak whose original gelcoat is beyond saving, there are other two-part epoxy paint systems out there designed to be “rolled and tipped” using a foam roller and good quality paint brush, and they’ll provide a much better end result than using the same technique with Awlgrip.

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Also a low cost one part topside paint I’ve used with OK results…

A friend built a kayak, all 180lbs of it, using Awlgrip as a finish. It was indeed very expensive but the most impressive part was that it accumulated deep gouges in the finish at the slightest scrape.

While you have to be careful with a composite or wood kayak too lest you damage it I would say only the biggest of impacts leave any kind of trace and even then just a superficial scratch. Not major gashes all the way down to the kevlar allowing for osmosis blisters.

It didn’t seem ideal but I didn’t know at the time.

Anti-fouling and ablative paints are meant to slow or stop the scum that builds on a hull that sits in the water all of the time. Anti-fouling usually have copper in them as a biocide. Ablative finishes slowly flake off the outer layer and show another high gloss layer under it. Neither are needed for a kayak or canoe.

To cut down on superficial scrapes you can use a polyurethane based paint, preferably one designed for the boating industry. One of the best is Interlux Bright-side paint. I painted the bottom of my first kit boat with it and even oyster bars didn’t cut all the way through it.

It does have a nasty stink when curing, so use it outside. It, like all poly paints, also needs about two weeks to cure through, so planning is necessary.