Deforming Hull?

My 6 month old NDK Explorer looks like it has developed a problem seemingly overnight – literally. It wasn’t there one day and the next morning, it was there.

About halfway between the front of the seat and the front of the coaming, there seem to be “bubbles” forming where the fiberglass looks like it might be separating from the gellcoat.

The bubbles are about 12-14" from bow to stern, about 1" side to side, stick up about 1/4"-3/8", and located about halfway between the keel and the chine. They are more pronounced on one side than the other. I can feel some slight indentions on the outside of the hull, but they are nothing like what I’m seeing on the inside.

Is there anything I may have done to cause this? Is this something I should be worried about and try to fix? If so, how?

Excellent discription of the bubbles …
… and you know something is amiss causing them .

For a brand new 3000. dollar paddle boat , I’d be returning it for another without a second thought and wouldn’t take “NO” for an answer either !!

The problem getting worse and worse as time goes on , is the first thing that comes to my mind ??

Looking at how your yak is built , the mfg. says it’s layers are a 2.5oz. CS matt and 8oz. cloth , plus gel coat is assumed I guess .

Because I’m curious I would want to know what’s causing the bubbles also .

From here this is just a guess , but I’m thinking the thinner 2.5oz. CS matt is the inside layer , but doesn’t make a difference to my next thought really .

From your discription , that is “almost unquestionably” a delaminating problem . And if it is showing up there now , where next ?? Outgasing between the layers may also be contributing to the bubbles . In any case , shouldn’t be happening , should it ??

It may be happenning because of different shrinking and expanding of the two cloth layers (a temp. thing) ??

Just for fun (an experiment), hold a hair dryer over the bubble areas and see what happens . That should warm it up just enough to get some expanding going (can’t hurt anything I don’t think , might make more bubbles or the ones you have get bigger) .

Wondering if the thicker layer will expand more than the thinner layer and flaten out the bumps ?? … even if it does they will probably come right back when it cools down … if you get more or bigger bubbles , you know the problem is going to get worse soon .

A web, site that sells your yak , said “that the cheif complaint with NDK is about consistent quality control” , but they are working on that problem " .

Seems your yak fits that discription , and maybe you ought to demand a replacement as opposed to a “fix” .

Definitely a manufacturer defect . . .
I would bet over the six months you have had this boat it has gone through some significant (but normal) temperature changes. The bubbles were already there, encased in the boat by defective manufacturing - just waiting to expand and become visible once the shell becomes heated. Without a doubt, the manufacturer should take responsibility and replace your boat!

I have a gel coat finish garden tub that developed these kinds of bubbles shortly after I installed it, followed by the outer shell cracking over the bubbles. The manufacturer sent a repair person to fix it under warranty, but later, other previously-formed bubbles became visible, cracked and my warranty had run out. I had to repair it myself and have to live with these unsightly spots/bumps on my tub! So, go for replacement of your boat - not repair.

Good luck. Please let us know how the manufacturer handles your case. I think we have an attorney somewhere on Pnet that might come to your help, if necessary.

I had the exaxt same thing happen on
a boat from a high end boat builder.

He replaced the boat with a brand new one, and was very apologetic.



Thank you all for your feedback. I will be contacting the dealer this week to see what they say.

Contact Nigel
Perhaps contact Nigel via his web site if the dealer doesn’t pull through. Might be some minor defects that can be made right and something additional done for you?? Things happen and I think you’ll get it sorted out. I had some minor bubbles on my old Romany, but the boat took years of abuse in spite of being crudely built.

Genuine NDK

– Last Updated: Sep-29-08 4:25 PM EST –

Well, at least you know it is a genuine Nigel Dennis boat ;-)

The dealer from whom you bought it should take care of you. As I understand the issue, this sort of problem can occur with most any composite boat. It is a manufactrer's defect and should be corrected or the boat replaced.

I've been told by more than 1 NDK dealer that Nigel is very good about replacing boats when warranted or insuring repairs are done when appropriate.

Sounds like it could be osmosis. I had a brand new VCP Nordkapp that developed “blisters” and I was able to swap the kayak for a new one. I saw the original kayak again after several years. It had been “resurfaced” and had no sign of blisters.

How do you store your boat? Gelcoat is porous and can absorb water over time. If you store the hull sitting on something that stays wet (like carpet, cardboard, etc), then osmosis can form. Frank Goodman told me that sometimes the material used to wrap kayaks can get wet while shipping and osmosis can begin to form before you get the boat.

Greg Stamer

I thought you were joking at first. Thanks for the heads-up. When did your boat develop the blisters? I bought an NDK boat this year. No blisters that I’ve seen but maybe it’s too “young”?

BTW, you were right about rodent headphones being the best noseclips. I bought a pair and they stay on even after using sunblock and merely wiping the stuff off (rather than washing my nose with soap and water). They look weird but work great.

Those are not blisters, it sounds like
delamination. Either way, you should recieve a new boat or repair of yours plus compensation for the hassle and the future problems you might encounter. Ask your dealer if your manufacturer is having some QC problems these days, I am hearing they are, but not with delam. Good luck.

Photo Update
I’ve been traveling on business and haven’t had a chance to do anything about this yet. I did manage to grab a photo of what I’m talking about. (They were fairly hard to photograph and they are kind of hard to see in the photo.)

Since I last looked at the kayak, it looks like the “bubbles” have spread down towards the forward bulkhead.

What do you guys think? Still look like delamination?