help with a recently purchased kayak

I just purchased a 14’ polyethylene Necky Looksha Sport. The serial number says it’s a 2004 model.

I’m guessing the Looksha Sport may have evolved through the model years. What about the 2004 model? Any things I should expect to address? I read the reviews.

Also, the hull has two deformations obviously where it was strapped to a rack. One deformation is right behind the rear bulkhead and the other is approximately under where your knees would be. Should I worry about these deformations? Should I try repair them with heat?


I wouldn’t worry about the…
“deformations” unless they are terribly bad.

We have an old poly Perception Eclipse and a Shadow, and they have the same from constant riding on roof bars.

We keep them now just for racing in rocky rivers.

They are not pretty, but it has not hurt their performance.

Jack L


– Last Updated: Jan-30-12 8:22 AM EST –

The worst deformations that I have seen were when people have made the bow and stern lines too tight while strapped on the vehicle. Continuous over tightening will actually cause reverse rocker. A big problem for performance. If the same thing is done with the deck down the results can be too much rocker. I agree that the best storage option is laying the kayak on it's side on some foam. The area between the gunwale and chine is the stiffest. In your case a few bumps won't matter too much.

Thanks, another question
I’m new to kayaking (experienced canoeist) and my first boat is a P&H Capella 173 composite hull. I paddled a section of the Yuba River earlier this month and after some pretty severe rock rubs I decided I need a shorter plastic kayak for local river paddling, I bought the Looksha Sport.

The Looksha Sport’s hull has localized deformations right where the straps were located so the deformations may not effect the performance but…

I have an industrial heat gun and I’d like to try my hand at removing the deformations if I can do it without further damaging the hull.

What is a good technique for this?


Heat Gun

– Last Updated: Jan-30-12 10:01 AM EST –

I have only limited experience with this, but it might work - with my heat gun, I used the highest settings, because mine is rather weak. The trick is to move it around so that you do not create a local hot spot, which will reult in a sort of hump where you do not want one or worse, damage the material structurally.

I guess, I should mention that heating the right size spot to the right temperature are the most important factors -;). If you heat too small a spot - not good. If too big - not good either. The probelm is it is not that easy to constrain where you apply heat with a heat gun on plastc. You do not want a sharp edge b/w hot and warm (which you can achieve if you want) but you also do not want to go way out either (if you do you will deform where you don't need to). You got to estimate/feel where to heat so that when you push it will bend where you want it to bend and not bend where you do not want... The good news is, that you can make an error and just let it cool off, then try again. Just don't burn the thing - if the plastic starts getting smooth and glassy - that's too much heat... You could actually restore some of the new plastic look by melting the outer layers with heat, but you have to move fast so that the inside stays cool. In contrast, for shaping, you want the opposite - even temperature and deep penetration to a point below where things will get shiny - if they do you will stretch the material and probably deform it irreversibly!

My brand new kayak that I purchased this Fall had rather unsighty dimples from sitting on display racks. I put it on my kayak stands farther away from the dimples, then started to heat from both outside and from inside the cockpit with the gun. After the bottom flexed enough that with some gentle push seemed willing to return to its original shape, I put some large surface weights inside the cockpit to help the hull keep its shape while cooling down. There is no sign of these dimples any more, so this worked well whough.

Just heating would not have been enough - I had to apply some pressure to help the plastic assume the shape I wanted and that is tricky. If you soften the wrong area or push too much, then you will make new bumps. You may want to try pushing through some sort of plastic sheet or a Yoga mat or something similar on the inside so that your force is distributed better, plus it is hot so you need some sort of hand protection anyway. For the cooling, I rolled a pair of Yoga matts that kind of fit in the cockpit where I needed them, placed some small weights on top of them and let the hull cool. I watched carefully for the first few minutes, since I was not sure if I put too much or too little pressure - did not want to go away and come back to a large hump or not enough...

I did not have luck "fixing" a large indentation on another plastic boat - the problem was that I had no good way to keep pushing it out while it cooled (it was on the side of the bow) and the material did not seem to have retained a good memory of where it was supposed to be -;(. So in that case - it did not work well.

For what its worth, the heat gun worked pretty well fixing bumper indentations on my car as well - a cantalope sized one just disappeared with only small signs remaining on the paint after all was done...

follow-up on deformation repair
I completed the repair on my Looksha Sport hull. I took a few stickers from my lumber stack (3/4"x3/4")and pushed out the indentations with stickers cut to length. I just used boiling water and slowly poured it over the areas I thought would best restore the original shape. I gave each deformation two treatments lengthening the stickers for the second treatment. It worked great!..except it was so easy that I can see how the hot sun and straps could just as easily deform it again.

I can see that you could get pretty exacting with shape restoration using heat but my hull is now good enough for me and I’m off for a first paddle.

Thanks for the input.