Hole in stern of WS kayak - please help!

So here's the story. My Wilderness Systems Tsunami 160 suffered a drop and the rudder bracket popped out leaving a 1 x 2" rectangular hole. The plastic where the hole is, is about 1/2 inch thick I've posted pictures of the hole at this webpage http://tinyurl.com/98d2ej4

I've been told by a few people to "forget about ever attaching the rudder again." While others say you still can do it if your patch is good and you reinforce it with a steel plate.

So here's the question: what is the best way to patch the hole? Is the best fix a plastic weld with weld rods and a piece of scrap poly. Or can I use a product like G/Flex with some poly or fiberglass? Many dealers have offered repair products, but I've had no luck finding a small piece of actual Wilderness Systems plastic. I worry about getting a good bond.

So I appreciate any advice/photos/experience/videos people can share. I can live without the rudder, but I can't toss this otherwise perfect kayak in the trash. Thanks!

i feel like
You could use a piece of aluminum on the inside and a piece of aluminum on the outside. Use a bunch of epoxy to fill the void and reattach the rudder with fastners long enough to go all the way through the new layers of metal.

Ryan L.

I would try
I would try. A larger plate in the back (inside), and maybe on the outside, so that the plate overlaps with undamaged plastic could be good. Non-rusting material, like aluminum.

One challenge will be getti8ng at the inside. I repaired a Looksha Sport rudder that I snapped the bolts off on. Was a total pain to work on the bolts inside the rear hatch. Used every socket extension I had and even then was stretching to reach it.

Aluminum sandwich

– Last Updated: Sep-29-12 4:42 PM EST –

I thought of that but wondered how water tight that seal would be?

2 metal pieces
So how would you connect the metal pieces together and to the boat. Bolts from the inside to out with nuts?


Chad Hoover
Here’s a video showing how to repair the plastic. Chad is a WS legend.


Not sure whether it would be strong enough for the rudder, though.

No prob.
Put tape over hole. Put kayak up on end. Mix up 6oz slow cure epoxy with chopped glass. Maybe a couple tbs chopped glass. Plop mess down the hatch into the stern. When cured drill new rudder holes.

Yes, bolts. Possibly with the same bolt holes that you have for the rudder.

And you will have to fill the hole with something, as that would be your primary waterproof seal for the hole.


– Last Updated: Sep-29-12 9:55 PM EST –

Really easy to do, mix up small batches! I attached my boat to a ladder and then just lifted it.


SMALL batches. I tried it with a large
batch(a small cup) and thought I was going to cook the boat. Smokin!

ice it down

– Last Updated: Sep-29-12 11:03 PM EST –

Something like this: http://www.flickr.com/photos/wwfloyd/3480392728/in/set-72157611497267680

edit: OK, this can only work if you're sure you have a waterproof hull to pour into... which OP will not, with the hole taped over.

Put in plastic bag
Then put in bucket w ice… yr right, too large a batch will boil. It might be necessary to screw a plate of aluminum or ss over the hole anchored to the plug with the rudder mounted through the plate to the plug.

plumber’s epoxy?
I would try the metal backing plate with bolts idea, with a layer of plumber’s epoxy in between to seal the hole. but first heat up the area around the hole to push the edges down flat.

Tight space
Thanks to all for the ideas / feedback. Keep in mind that the reach from the back hatch opening to the repair is nearly 3 ft and it tapers down to an area of about 3 inches x 3 inches. I’m not sure how much I’ll be able to do or reach from the inside.

Do people seem to favor the idea of plugging the hole with fiberglass over actual poly?

I talked to one guy yesterday who agrees with the tip on end mode but with a diff twist. He said place a sheet of aluminum inside with a nail through it ( head of the nail behind the alum, point extending out of the boat). Use the poly patch material / welding rod to fill the hole in layers. When nearly done push the nail back inside and plug the last bit. The crazy thing about this mode is that I’d need to do this from the roof or some other high place and have the stern 16ft in the air.

I would do an outside repair, with
a plate strong enough to carry the rudder. I would attach the plate over the hole with both thickened G-flex and with pop rivets. The boat and plate surfaces should be flamed with a propane torch so the G-flex adheres well. The pop rivets are mainly to keep the plate down on the hull and the G-flex while the latter hardens.

As for the material for the plate, poly, metal, ABS, or composite (maybe 6 layers of alternating Kevlar and glass) could work. It just needs to be stiff.

I’d probably just ditch the rudder, but they don’t contribute much to my kayaking experience…