I’m waiting to test paddle a North Shore Aspect RM. The local paddle shop has just ordered a couple.

From what I’ve read the Aspect RM seems like it will work great for me but I’m unfamiliar with a keelson in a kayak. Are there issues I should be aware of? If the keelson stops oil-canning and hull dents from sitting on a rack it seems like a good thing.


Our first canoe had a keelson.
A longitudinal strip of wood was laid down the center line, and was glassed over. If it works as a stiffener, it would be lighter than a bunch of glassed over cross ribs.

However, in our case, it didn’t work completely. Although the canoe had a bunch of layers of fiberglass, the inner layer being glassed-over woven roving, the hull still oil-canned upward when we paddled it tandem without gear in the middle.

I asked the makers what to do about it, and they sent me some telescoping aluminum vertical struts, supported inside by automobile valve springs. They said they used those to hold the bottom down on a lot of their marathon racing canoes. It seemed the keelson was not there as the sole solution, but to receive the vertical struts if they were needed.

I think I can tell you that today’s thin glass-over-Kevlar hulls would not be kept down where they belong by a keelson alone. Souris River uses cross ribs. Wenonah uses foam core bottoms.

So, I don’t think you’ll be sorry to have a keelson, but whether the hull oil cans or not will depend on its overall design and materials, with the keelson just one part of it.

A good thing
Not done too often in plastic kayaks these days it seems. It definitely makes for a stiffer hull bow-stern. The Aspect is a very pleasant hull to move on the water and responds great to heeling it for turns but has civilized tracking on an even keel. I think I submitted a review of it here awhile ago.

See you on the water,


The River Connection, inc.

Hyde Park, NY

Just remembered, last boat I had with a keelson was a Necky Thasia in Kevlar. Coffee must be helping the synapses connect.