Composite Kayak repair??

-- Last Updated: Apr-02-16 8:44 AM EST --

I might possibly purchase a Current Designs Nomad HV. The 19' x 21" kayak flew off the rack at the dealer and was damaged. I have done repairs before but this is where I can't reach from the inside to the rear. I would like to put a few layers for strength on the inside before repairs the outside. Any tricks to place glass and sand where you really can't reach? I want a smooth finish as to not puncture my float bags or dry bags. I know to make a repair you sand to 1/12 taper but I need it smooth on the inside. I would not have confidence on a repair I made from the outside only. Also there is a material like plastic sheet that you can put over a repair as it cures to leave a smooth finish when you remove it. I have used poly sheet before but was wondering if the other material made specifically for this purpose is better? I have a Nomad / Extreme (same kayak) which I restored before bu this one is banged up much more. Thanks for any help.

There are multiple options
First off, what is the damage like? Is the interior surface rough now? If not, you don’t need to worry about doing a repair from the inside. If the glass is soft or cracked and you want to reinforce it, clean the area with lacquer thinner (using a pad on a stick or painter’s pole), the roll a couple of coats of epoxy over the damaged area using a trim roller on a pole. You can try to work a piece of glass over the damage, but it may be a challenge. As long as the innermost layer of glass is rigid, it will provide support for your external repair, as long as you don’t cut through it.

If the boat is ragged on the inside, you’re probably going to have to remove the damaged glass from the outside in. If there’s room to do so, I’ve had good luck with using foam, float bags or inflatable pads covered with packing tape or polyethylene to create a form that I can stuff in place to support the repair from the inside. That prevents the first layer of glass from collapsing inward and it allows you to apply all of the glass layers in a single step. After the external repair is complete, you can try adding glass from the inside, if you choose to.

As for finishing, if you’re applying gelcoat, sanding it fair and buffing it to a high gloss is actually one of the easier parts of the repair. You can cover it with plastic to get it close to the shape you want and minimize sanding, but trying to get it perfect is a waste of time, IMO.

I have glass and gelcoat repair instructions on my website:

Peel Ply to…
…cover your patch on the inside.

Paintbrush taped to a stick to reach the area.


– Last Updated: Apr-02-16 7:33 PM EST –

Great help guys! Thought of the float bag idea a bit to make pressure after I did the repair but didn't want to ruin it. I guess I will wrap it in poly. Brian the site you have is great. I can play around with glass though not a pro videos give me great confidence. Repairs are very detailed and show a great job. Cracks are fairly big and some soft areas. Glass looks like a shatter inside. Was not sure if I wanted to really remove all the old glass. That's why I was thinking of inside repair and that would give me a structure to work with when I do the outside and save me from losing the shape of the hull. I used West Marine epoxy system on last Nomad although no where's near as bad as this kayaks damage. i usually get the cloth and wet it then apply it to the surface where I wet a coat of resin on existing glass. Is it better to wet area and place glass dry then wet after on the hull? Now I need to decide if I want to pay what they are asking for the damaged kayak. Kayak is a 08 which is about $3,400 now new. It is glass not kevlar like my other Nomad / Extreme. I guess used now worth about $1,500 in decent shape. They use to keep in in a tent but after hurricane Sandy it has just been outside upside down. Needs new bungees also. H-channel seam is also damaged and the cable for rudder runs in it. It is all there just needs epoxied back so it is not flapping.

OK second thing is the VHF shoulder mount I found on your site Brian. I was going to have something sewn on the shoulder strap and let the clip go in a loop. I bought the Kokatat radio mount pocket they came out with but it seems to floppy side to side when I placed it on the shoulder strap. Your idea looks to be firmer. Been in misery a long time with VHF's Standard Horizon 851 and 850. I go out in the winter alone a lot. I have one VHF on deck bag and one on my jacket. Finally settled on a shoulder mount idea and was playing around last few weeks. Your idea with the mount is great! Going to do it tonight or am for sure. Now I need to find the swivel mounts for the radios I hope in the box they came with. I'll see if I can post pictures on a site somewhere of damage. Many thanks for your time guys!

Sometimes you can extend your reach by hanging the kayak upside down and working up through the hatch. It will let you get your shoulder in there.

no pin mount
didn’t have swivel mount so I tie wrapped Kokatat radio holder instead of velcro try it in the morning.

I’m glad you found the site useful
Someday I’ll actually get the rest of my material up there…

It sounds like the boat is more of a mess than I was thinking, though if you’re looking for a project, you’ve certainly found one. You could try pushing the shattered glass back in place with a hard roller on a pole, before you try to cover it with anything. If there are fibers poking out, that will make everything else you do on the inside more difficult. If you can manage to get most of it back in place, coat it with epoxy, let it cure, then sand it with a pad on a pole to remove the loose fibers and sharp edges. That will make it easier to get some glass over it.

Epoxy coat it again and let it get tacky. Wet out some glass tape (with bound edges, not strips cut from cloth) with epoxy and wrap it around a roller, leaving a tail hanging. Using the roller and a separate stick, hold the tail to the hull with the stick as you unroll the tape over the damaged area. Repeat this with as many pieces of tape as it takes to cover the damage. Unlike strips cut from cloth, the tape will hold together as you manipulate it.

If the internal damage is so bad that you can’t get it smooth enough to do the above, just bite the bullet and do the work from the outside, cutting away all of the damaged material. You’ll probably be left with a hole large enough to make it possible to position an internal form for support as you do the work. With the external work done, it will be a much simpler matter to reinforce it from the inside, as the surfaces will be clean and smooth.

As for the radio mount, are you referring to the Kokatat “Electronic Sling”? One significant flaw I see in that design is that even in the open position, it’s still going to be blocking the speaker and mic on many radios. At least the radio is still handy.


– Last Updated: Apr-03-16 9:31 PM EST –

it's shattered but still in shape I guess like you said I could epoxy it and sand then rebuild it from there. Yes Kokatat Sling is what I have. I don't like the bottom as it is to stiff to conform to square bottom of radio. Better if they would have made it flat with some stretchy material on the bottom. I know of no radio with a round bottom. Thanks for the tip on the glass tape. I have used it before but never for a bigger patch. Probably buy it for the challenge. Not going anywhere soon I would think. Maybe in a few weeks I'll go buy it. They could patch it fairly cheap for the rental it is. If I get involved I need it to be looking like new. The other Nomad I have really and Extreme same boat just not HV 3/4" higher deck I bought for 300 and put 600 in material and countless hours of work in it. It was not a bargain but a hobby or really a career by the time it was done. I got so mad once I was looking for 14" diamond blade cut-off saw to cut it in half. I replaced literally everything except bare hull and rear rudder assembly. It still looks good after 6 years of use.

rear hatch is small but I have hung upside down and worked from cockpit.

Just to be clear…
…you only need the tape for the internal reinforcement. On the outside, use full-size cloth patches.