How durable is Wenonah's kevlar flexcore

I was going to buy a used Wenonah kevlar flex-core canoe. The canoe has not been in the water but it already has a patch on one side of the bow and a deep dent on the other. It really turns me off. The damage was caused by two different instances by the way. The hole was caused by falling off from the fence. The dent was caused by parked bicycles.

What is your experience with their Kevlar flex-core material? Wenonah’s customer service is not being too helpful when it comes to answering people’s questions…


I am surprised
that Wenonah is not answering your questions to your satisfaction. Ask for Allison she has always done well by me.

As for toughness, I have many friends who not only have multiple Wenonahs but who will replace an old design wenonah racer with a newer design racer, If they were p*ssed off at Wenonah they would go to The other manufacturers. I had the older style Cross ribs in my Sundowner and have the same ribs in my Jensen. Totally satisfied. Please remember that it is a trade off of stregnth/wieght/cost.If you go to Canada they value the strength more, most all their boats are heavier then ours down here (I guess most yankees are wimps except for the kruger Crowd :slight_smile: If you really want light go Savage River or Grasse River. If you want bomb proof go grumman or Kruger or Souris river.

Re: kevlar

– Last Updated: Jan-29-05 8:12 PM EST –

i cant speak for repaired kevlar, i have a wononah solo prism in the Ultralite kevlar layup... about 35 lbs. it has 5000 hard river miles on it in 2 years.... its held up great... the bottom does not look too grand after all the miles tho. you will hear and feel any rock, pebble, or sand that you touch.... it will sound like diamonds grinding against glass at first and all you will see will be dollar signs! hehe

im planning on taking her in for a 5k mile checkup and maybe adding skidplates and a new resin layer on the bottom

biggest thing is ya can stress fracture the hull by carrying it loaded... no big deal

all in all kevlar is very strong and durable..

customer service
you may be asking questions that are not easily answered. Light canoes are not designed for impacts above the waterline. If it turns you off don’t buy it and someone else who isn’t turned off will buy it. Some friends have a canoe rental and they used Wenonas glass core layups,they survived rentals just fine. What specifically are you concerned about?

TG Canoe Livery

I’d give Dwayne a call at TG Canoe Livery in San Marcos. Dwayne sells Wenonahs, and has for years. He outfits folks for the Texas Water Safari as well, so he’s seen all kinds of boats go through all kinds of abuse and done repairs on lots of 'em. He should be able to give you some good advice regarding that layup and its durability, particularly relative to watever your specific intended uses are in Central Texas. He can also maybe direct you to something else if that isn’t the boat for you. I’ve always gotten good straight info. from him.

I own a Kevlar Champlain.
Had it for a year now and think it’s a great boat. I paddled the Missouri in Montana and the Bowron last year besides other lakes while up in Canada with no problems.

The damage should give you a great bargaining point. Bargain for a price that you can feel comfortable with the risk you feel; otherwise, don’t buy it.

Can you clarify whether the patched
hole and the dent occurred within the flexcore area? Or above it?

Flexcore construction, which I have on a Bluewater Chippewa, allows the outer laminate to flex somewhat to aborb a blow. But under some circumstances, especially where a strong force is applied suddenly to a very small area, the flexcore might actually make a local break a bit more likely because the hull will not be able to flex, and will tear instead. I’m not sure about the dent you report, but perhaps the core material deformed under local pressure, and because the outer hull is held to the crushed core, you end up with a dent.

I don’t think anyone should expect flexcore or similar constructions to work well under frequent abuse such as I encounter in whitewater. The flexcore is a compromise, to keep the weight down while also keeping the hull nice and stiff. If you want to see examples of whitewater boats (and cruisers such as the AC/DC and Souhegan) which are light and reasonably stiff without flexcore construction, check out (Note, be prepared to Google, I didn’t precheck that address.)

Both damage was done to each side of the bow, 8 inches below the gunwales and 12 inches behind the front tip. They are about the same location but they are just on a differnt side.

In order to fix the hole, the dealer had to cut the flotation box to get access to the area, patched it, and re-sealed the box. And the dent was so deep that the fiber was exposed and it was about the size of a quarter of a penny. But it does not leak though.

How difficult is it to fix that dent? And how to do it? I am still leaning toward the Fisherman because of its light weight… Thanks.

After a short paddle my uncle and I took his Minn2 off the water because we got tired of fighting the wind fishing. We placed it on top of his full size Chevy 4x4 and got the straps out. Before we got it secured a huge gust of wind blew it off the truck. It slammed down about 10 feet from the truck onto the asphalt. While it had some ugly marks it held firm. I was amazed. I totally expected it to blast into pieces. That was a kevlar ultralight. I can tell you that the tuff weave is freakin bullet proof. My dad has one that he has been pounding down the rocky rivers in for 23 years. The light kevlar is not for whitewater but it is awsome for flat water like the BWCA when you have a ton of portaging to do. For everyday playing in the pond or lazy river I would not get ultralight or flexcore unless carry weight is a major factor. I have a tuff weave vagabond that I am very happy with. Anyway, if the canoe has a good price and I was not going to do anything too rash I waold not hesitate to pick it up. MHO

Perhaps the damage on each side
was related to the flotation cell. The wall of the flotation cell prevents the hull from flexing as it should, and may have resulted in the damage. Perhaps the dent and the tear occurred at the same time, and the dealer is giving you separate explanations?

Anyway, I agree that if the price is good, the boat may serve you well. The dent is probably just cosmetic in its effect. If I thought it needed some additional strengthening, I would sand the coating inside the dent, and then use epoxy to put in two or three concentric layers of e-glass. Put pressure on the patch as it hardens by putting some clear food wrap over it and then taping soft foam on top. You can fair the result by sanding if you want to, and you can paint it to match the hull. Or, you could paint nice big fish eyes on both sides, and probably no one would dare steal something so distinctive.