My first kayak was a set of old 10’ yellow Mallards.

I love those boats. Huge cargo capacity, super thick plastic. Heavy as you can imagine after a long day on the water and so wide it’s like paddling a tank but unbelievable boats that I’ve taken everywhere and done everything with including a river race.

But plastic has almost neutral buoyancy! So the Mallards have a block of foam in bow & stern for extra flotation. When I tested it by filling them with water, I had 2” above the water. Ok, but what about all that junk I carry? I need extra flotation but don’t want an air bag taking all the storage. So I collected some closed-cell foam from the computer rooms (packing materials) and glued slabs of this to the under deck where it would be out-of-the-way but add flotation.

Then I took 1” webbing and some D-rings and glued these all over the inside to clip my painters and gear to. Added more clips to the deck and added more bungie and laced a net under the front bungie to hold small items.

You get the idea. It was winter and kid was sick and I was stuck home so I modified the ‘bleep’ out of that boat.

Does anyone else modify their boats with additions etc and how?

I look at a boat when you buy it as a number paint canvas. The picture is there but it isn’t finished until you fill it in.

The boats, generally, are generic when you get them. You need to make them yours by adapting them to your style. Some take a lot, some take a little. It’ just part of paddling.

I’ve had grand plans
to modify my canoe for the past year or two or three. Move the seats maybe, replace the thwarts with a yoke and a kneeling thwart, airbrush a big Frazetta on the side, maybe a moon window?

done that
Except for the moon window.

removed one seat, added a carry-pouch in the bow for my first-aid kit.

added tie-down loops all along the ends, painters etc.

I even have asail to add when I find someonme to go with. bikini optional.

Does this count…
I was paddling a Tarpon and loved it, but got tired of hefting it to the top of the minivan. So I had a friend create the same boat in fiberglass…1/2 the original weight and it can almost be one handed now. Radical modification???

And yes, I’ve added straps, eyes, and pads to make it more personal.

Same as my bike, I’ve done many modifications to make it be what I want to ride.

Most of my friends have added stuff to their boats for their needs too.


parts of canoe as needed, with a tan polyerethane, so now canoe is scratched red with scratched tan. One crappy leaky airbag good for two hours and one nylon airbag in new condition. 2 bailing buckets tied to thwarts.plastic pouch to hold wallet, cell phone etc… tied to one thwart. Spiderweb design string in middle to hold airbags in place. Generally several spiders along for the ride.