Keel strip 4 Shadow, Legend, Foster Boat

Anyone install keel strips on a Nigel Foster, Legend, Shadow, Silhouette? Looking to have some installed, and wondering how people put them on, with the flat bottom and all? Then there are the chines on the side that seem to take a fair bit of abuse, would it be worth adding a little something to those as well? Looking to do a solo trip, and might end up in situations with a fully loaded boat with the tide coming in or out, where picking the boat up and moving it isn’t an option. Might be a little bit of dragging involved. Would like to see pics of what people have done, if possible. Thanks. John M

I’ve been wondering that myself
I’ve wondered that myself and am considering doing one on my Shadow. I’m sure it could be done easily on the forward third and the aft third where the keel is sharply defined, but trying to do it straight across the flat middle third would be tricky. Since most of the damage I’ve encountered is on the fore and aft thirds, I’m not sure it is necessary to stretch a keel strip all the way across.

I also haven’t noticed much damage to the chines. While they would be easier than the keel because they are clearly defined, I probably won’t bother because there is less damage and the additional weight might start to add up.

Use a couple of
sections of pool noodles to drag your boat on. Saves a lot of wear.

Helps to know where you are
If you’re anywhere near New England, Carl Ladd of Osprey Sea Kayak Adventures in Westport, MA, does spray-on keel strips with the same stuff they spray on pickup truck beds.

If you see a kayak with a black keel strip anywhere in RI or SE Mass, it’s probably Carl’s work. 508-636-0300.

I have a Legend
but I’m pretty careful with my kayaks. I can’t imagine 3 keel strips not noticeably changing the performance of the boat. I’m more inclined to seek out good landing spots, and if a gel coat repair is needed, go that route vs adding strips in anticipation. With the bottom of that boat, you would still be likely to damage the hull between the bottom strip and the chine strip pulling it onto high ground. I’m more inclined to throw my tent and water jug from the hatch so that I can lift it to higher ground. They won’t be damaged, and they’re so much less expensive.

I have a Shadow
and there is a bit of wear on both the bow and the stern on the keel. Happens from the sandy beaches we have to launch from. Most of the beaches have a shore break so there is no way to float your boat and then get in or out.

I sure would like to have something to protect the gel coat rather than repairing it frequently.

added a keel strip last week
to an Impex Force5 K-lite.

The clear coat on the Carbon/Kevlar offers great looks but little protection.

The finish is in vinylester and it abrades really fast, even in sand.

Therefore I added a nice 2" keel strip.

I used fiberglass cloth and epoxy resin. Yes epoxy, not the conventional gel coat or float coat.

Epoxy is way more abrasion resistant then gel coat.

I left mine clear to match the hull and make the Carbon /Kevlar visible.

The keel strip is almost unnoticeable.

I used West System 105 with 207 hardener that is UV stabilized for protection against sun degradation.

I am about to add a keel strip to my Currituck and this time I will use again epoxy but I will add graphite to make it even more abrasion resistant.

It will turn out black instead of clear.

If you have patience and a bit of skills you can add “keel strips” to a hard chined boat just using epoxy and graphite. I have seen some real neat jobs were the owner then buffed the finished strip and it looked part of the hull, no visible seam/ridge.

Pool noodles help I guess but a decent keel strip that is flush with the hull would still be my choice.


Impex hulls are different from Foster’s
Not only are the Foster boats hard chined, but the hull under the cockpit is completely flat or even slightly concave. It’s not typical of most boats.

does that mean that they won’t abrade?
As mentioned the hard chines can be protected with a strip of epoxy and graphite that has been then perfectly buffed to meet the hull shape (no protrusions). And I’m sure that the bow and the stern are somehow curved and have a ridge that would strike and abrade if landed.

That’s where a keel strip would probably help.

But hey, what would I know?.. :slight_smile:

DIY Keel Strip
Here’s an excellent article by Brian Day on adding a keel strip to a fiberglass kayak hull:

I asked about having one factory-installed on my new Force 4, like the Valley boats often include, but Impex said it’s usually unnecessary. We’ll see how the hull holds up to a couple seasons of tripping on the cobbled shores of Lakes Superior and Michigan.

Nice thing about such a DIY keel strip is that you can add and renew it as needed, depending on the wear your boat typically incurs.

Good Luck!


Moving the boat
Keel strip aside…bring a duffel bag or one of those dry bag backpacks that canoeists use for portaging.

When you land for the evening then unload your boat into the bag and use it to haul your gear to your campsite location.

Then you can just shoulder carry your empty boat.