Have I ruined my new kayak?

Hi all,

I’m brand new to this site and to kayaking. I just bought a Jackson Kayak Journey 14. For the past several days I’ve had it on the Thule Hull-a-Port Pro rack on my car In anticipation of getting out on the water for the first time. (It has been crazy windy here lately)

Earlier today, I read that this can damage the hull, so I took the boat off the rack. I rolled it over, and found that the bottom just fore and aft of the cockpit where the hull sits on the racks had deformed. The back not so much, but the front area that is supposed to be a shallow V is pretty much flat now.

It has been sunny all week, and the temps were about 90˚ the past two days, so I’m assuming the hull got soft and conformed to the rack.

Have I ruined my brand spanking new boat? I’ve got it setting upside down hoping that it will pop it back into place next time we get a hot sunny day. It is also slightly dented on the edge where the strap was tightened against the hull.

This wasn’t how I wanted to make my introduction here, but I’m sure hoping my boat can be easily returned to its proper shape!

Thanks for any suggestions,


not ruined

– Last Updated: Jun-18-14 11:58 PM EST –

Yeah, one has to be careful with plastic boats and heat. The same thing happened to my first boat (although not until I had had it for a while). I too was quite upset. In any case, I doubt you will paddle it and find that it doesn't paddle right. You've just changed the hydrodynamics a little bit so it will paddle slightly differently now but even if you were to do a side-by-side paddling comparison of your 'deformed' boat vs a fresh boat, I'd say it would be even money that you could tell the difference. You can partially undo the damage by wedging something inside (e.g., a foam block or paddled piece of wood cut to the correct size) to force the hull back to something like its original shape. Store it like that for a while and it may return to something like its original shape (but not perfectly). I have heard that you can do a rapid version of this by using a hair drier or hot air gun but I can't vouch for the success of that approach personally.

Ruined Boat
IF you do decide to use a hair dryer or hot air gun on the boat - be very very very careful, it is easy to overheat the area and make things worse. Want to fix it? Go down to the local kayak shop and have them look at it. Good Luck

poly has a way of returning
to its original shape eventually. I wouldn’t worry. Its the nature of the material to give. My poly canoe does some shape shifting on its own from time to time. The gouges I put in the boats are a bigger deal than the dimples- which come and go. I would be concerned if the deformation occurs under the seat. That doesn’t tend to go away in kayaks and leads to a new boat.

The safe way
There might be a newer method, but so that you do not run the risk of overheating the plastic, cover the area of concern with a towel and pour boiling water on the towel until the plastic is sufficiently hot enough and you are able to push, or wedge the dents out of it.

However, it might be wise to contact the factory and see what they recommend.

In the future, do not leave the kayak on the racks and don’t cinch it down so tight.

it will come back with time
Hi Slo

I too have a Jackson Kayak Journey 14 and the same thing happened.

I was storing it on saw horses and the hull deformed (in) quite a bit.

So I took it out in the yard turned over and the hull did pop back into shape

It took 2 or 3 sunny hot days but happy to say boat is perfect now.

Its a great boat I have been paddling it for two years now and very happy

Me too

– Last Updated: Jun-19-14 10:25 AM EST –

I also have a Jackson Journey and am dealing with the exact same thing for the same reason and in the same place.
I contacted Jackson about it and was told to leave it upside down in the sun for awhile. I tried that and it didn't work.
I was also told to pour boiling water on the spot. I tried this as well and it also didn't work.
My latest arrangement has it placed upside down in an area that gets more direct sunlight with a black garbage bag draped over the spot with a piece of wood wedged underneath; pushing the deformity out.
It's been 3 days since it's been sitting there.
I'll be checking it this weekend to see if it worked.

placement on rack
Also, if your boat has bulkheads (I don’t know anything about that boat), I would try to have one bulkhead (both if possible) over the saddle since the hull will not deform at that location.

I had that happen on a Necky touring
kayak, and just putting it in the sun didn’t reverse the dent.

So I cut a piece of Ethafoam just the right size to push the dent back where it belonged, and then I left the Ethafoam and boat out in the sun.

The dent disappeared. When I transport the kayak, I often put that piece of Ethafoam back into place, to guard against hull distortion.

I have 2 plastic boats
A Current Designs Whistler, and a Current Designs Storm GT. I have noticed mild distortions that come and go in both. Unless the distortion is huge, I would not worry.

Deck-Down! Deck-Down! Deck-Down!
That’s how I carry my Cape Horn 15 plastic kayak. Since the deck sections forward and aft of the cockpit are much shorter, and the cockpit combing is a very strong part of the boat’s structure, the deck tends to resist bending or denting much better than does the hull (bottom). I also take it easy on the strap tension when securing the boat to the rack, and make sure the bow and stern safety lines are barely snug. If it does bend or dent, I find that wedging something inside the hull to force it back into shape, then treating the area with boiling water or leaving it in the hot sun, takes care of things.

Thanks, and photos of the dents
Thank you all for the replies. The boat is now laying upside down on the grass, but we’ve only had cool wet weather since I found this problem. Hopefully the sun will pop it back out. If not, I’ll try the other suggestions and hopefully get it fixed.

I just took a couple of photos to show the size of the dent. It is about 12-15" front to back, and located just forward of the cockpit coaming. My boat does have two bulkheads, but I can’t get my racks far enough apart to grab it there. The rear bulkhead is close to the rear mount, but the fort is over the windscreen of the car.

Here’s a link to my Flickr! gallery with photos of the boats, how they’re mounted on the rack, and the dent.


Thanks again everyone!

Same as my Point 65N XO13
Before I even took it out on the water! I used a hair dryer and It popped back out nicely. I scrapped my kayak racks and bought a set of cheep foam saddle racks and carved the foam to the profile of the hull. Works perfect. The added bonus: I can now drive into my carport with the kayak on the roof.

Good luck! Pete.