Bent bow repair.....

Last night, a friends kayak came loose from his car and pole vaulted into a guard rail, bending the first 18" of his roto-molded sea yak into a right angle. Amazingly the rest of the boat is fine.

Is it possible to heat the bent area with a heat gun and get it at least pointed the same direction as the rest of the yak? It has a crimp and a small tear in the deck portion of the bend, which I can fill once straight. I’ve never fixed a bent boat before.

Perception Eclipse is the boat and the nose at the bend is fairly narrow…which is good.


I would first try
putting the boat out in the sun. If you can find a way to support the boat you might be able to apply some weight to the bow with a cam strap, or such, to encourage the bend to straighten as the polyethylene warms.

You might also heat water and fill the inside of the bent portion of the hull to warm the poly from the inside. If that doesn’t do it, you might try judiciously applying some additional heat to the creased area with a heat gun.

For repairing holes and tears in high density linear polyethylene (which this boat very likely is made of) the best product is West System G-Flex Epoxy. You can buy a small kit from NRS with about 4 oz each of resin and hardener along with some silica powder which can be used as a thickener to fill voids.

If you get it straightened out, I would consider applying some fiberglass cloth reinforcement to the interior of the hull at the point at which it creased, to restore stiffness. G-Flex will bond fiberglass cloth to poly. You will need a cheap Propane torch to flame the surface of the poly to improve the bond of the G-Flex.

Good info…thanks!
Good info! I was going to jig the boat with ratchet straps to help pull the nose straight as I heated the bends/creases. The hot water idea is a good one…I was going to try some wood dollys from the inside.

I have a great big c-clamp to try and squish the deck flat again.

The only hole is a 1" tear on the deck. I was going to try and fill it with ski base p-tex as it’s mostly cosmetic. I know cross-link doesn’t like heat repair, but p-tex thins out nicely into voids like hot glue. Next step will be the epoxy.

I’ve got the tools and I’m pretty handy, but this one is a real head scratcher.

This boat hit at about 50 mph…the guy didn’t know how to tie it down properly. They should build cars from rotomolded poly…very tough stuff!

If you can’t get at the inside of the
boat from the front hatch, and it still seems to need strengthening where it was creased, then consider applying some glass to the outside of the crease, using G-flex for best adhesion.

If you and the boat owner are lucky, the boat will end up with its original form below the waterline. Any remaining aesthetic issues above water can just be the subject of storytelling. Maybe you can fake out some shark tooth marks.

Cars wood weigh 5 tons

– Last Updated: Aug-06-10 11:27 AM EST –

an' get rack rot in de parkin' lot. :>O

La la la ....
Bow an' stern tiedowns... Bow an' stern tiedowns... Bow an' stern tiedowns... Bow an' stern tiedowns... Bow an' stern tiedowns... Bow an' stern tiedowns... Bow an' stern tiedowns... Bow an' stern tiedowns... Bow an' stern tiedowns... Bow an' stern tiedowns... la la la... la la la!


pix b4 & after
send a link if u can… this s/be an good test of the new GFlex for plastic boats.

by now you’ve taken pity on him & showed him the correct way to tie down, right? or walked him into a paddleshop where he can get the good stuff.

He was actually lucky it exited forward at 50 mph into the barrier. If it came off the rear of the vehicle it could have been much worse for him, the boat, and/or other drivers.

Hope it all turns out. Give him a shark tooth to permanently imbed in the bow '-)

three responses before somebody mentioned bow and stern tie downs. I thought it would be sooner. Please, lets not go down that path. again.

betcha a lot of us were thinkin that he didn’t use (Insert Forbidden Words Here). But maybe he screwed up a different way and didn’t tie down securely at the gunwhales.

but if he had used (IFWH) he would have seen a lot sooner that his boat was preparing to fly, and might have been able to pull off or at least slow down.

AFAIK, more reminders to use (IFWH) based on real life experience is a Good Thing. Esp. w. a lot of new paddlers reading these boards. Two extra minutes securing the boat with (IFWH) could save a lot of misery and expense. The poster’s friend would be the first to say that.

If it is the older Perception Eclipse,
it is not cross linked poly. It is plain old plastic.

I have the same boat, and if that nose is bent at a right angle, I am guessing you won’t be able to get it back.

If it was mine and I still wanted to keep it. I would cut the nose right off, and then glue it back with two part plastic epoxy and fiberglass.

It will probably look like hell, but just think what a conversation piece it will be !

Jack L

I doubt it is cross-linked poly either
but if it is rotomolded and not made of thermoformed plastic (which I don’t think was ever an option for that model) it must be polyethylene, but it would be linear polyethylene.

According to West Systems G-Flex binds pretty well all plastics except polypropylene. Pretty much nothing binds well to polypropylene, in my understanding.

The way he tied it…

– Last Updated: Dec-28-10 9:04 AM EST –

They guy was a new boat owner and simply made a loop around his car's main rack rail, and one loop around the yak, then threaded his cam lock backwards. Think "giant faulty door hinge". Had he used stern/bow lines, they probably would have wrapped themselves around his tires, but he would have had some warning. The boat apparently flipped over along the car's windows, loosing the front tiedown, and swung down into the guardrail on the side of the road. I saw how he put it back on the car.

Whatever plastic this boat is made from, it's going to get a healthy dose of heat gun and ratchet strap.
I'm certain it won't fix 100% but if I can get the sub waterline part pointed right, it should track fine.

you’re a good friend
to show him the ropes (literall and figuratively)

yes it was a disaster waiting to happen and did. Fortunately it was just equipment which can be fixed.

there’s a story now at the head of the homepage links about how an inebriated man put a canoe on top of his truck - when it came off, it put a motorcyclist in the hospital in critical condition.

Now I’m no way implying your friend was intoxicated - just pointing out how canoes and kayaks are heavy projectiles when they are improperly secured and leave the vehicle at roadway speeds.

Amazingly, a heat gun and some p-tex worked. I chocked the kayak where I could put a ratchet strap from the nose to a tree and applied tension. Slowly heating the poly with a heat gun, I was able to add a click or two on the ratchet until the nose lined up again. We’re talking 18" of bow! Most indentations were rubbed out from the inside after applying heat. I used P-Tex ski base plastic for a couple of tears, not really the right stuff for linear poly, but for now it works fine. I’ll epoxy/glass from the inside another day. A Sureform tool, some wet sanding, a bit of flame polishing, and the boat looks good!

I made this fellow some bow/stern lines and taught him how to use a ‘truckers hitch’. His cam straps were really too short, so I made him some tie downs as well. People buy nice boats but almost never get instruction on how to safely load/unload and haul them. Some folks simply can’t think ‘knots’ or mechanical things. It has to be simple and fool proof or stories like this repeat themselves with much worse consequences. This one had a happy ending.

Thanks all!


DeSoto, Texas

Knows wat yer mean…
Waan ah’ sell a boat at me part-time job at a local outdoor store, ah’ always make de customer watch how ah’ tie down dem’s boat at one end an’ then make dem do de ud’da side. Most be very glad ta be shown, some git annoyed (mostly uppity yuppie SOB’s in their big $$ cars). Sometimes they even tip me (rarely de yuppies). Bow an’ stern tiedowns always!


Paul - you rock!
way to git 'er done!

your comment about people not knowing how to tie down their boats - yes, some big box stores sell the sizzle and put the boat in the SUV, truck or van, with a bungee or two, and don’t even have good tiedown gear to sell.

It’s only later when the new owner wants to paddle that the trial and error process begins.

Paddleshops generally do a much better job with advice and accessories.