Kevlar/Carbon decks

Well I think a new boat is happening. I’m told a Kevlar/Carbon deck will shave ~4-6 lbs off the total weight. The option price is not insignificant, but it will be worth it to me if there are not drawbacks to having such a lightweight deck. Will self-rescue potentially damage the deck? Will it flex and crack the gelcoat? Are there other factors to consider?

If you can roll , and that is your method of self rescue, a light deck doesn’t matter…unless you paddle with others and plan on rescuing them using a over the kayak empty method. Then it could get damaged.

So as long as you paddle with others that have a good roll and the mindset to use it…instead of just getting out {just to get back in}

Or…it’s only money and the light weight is worth any cost {damage or otherwise} for the convenience of lighter carry.

I have seen light lay-up that need repair from just existing. So depending on how light…and where and how you use it. The real answer is that Yes and light lay-up is prone to damage and will require more diligence and will as some point require some fixing. {all depending on what you actually do to it}

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Our Cetus kayaks have Kevlar-Carbon decks and hulls. Seem solid. I sit on the deck for cowboy re-entries, no flexing that I can detect. No cracks that I can see.

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Do you have the lightweight or the expedition kevlar/carbon? I’m going with the lightweight.

I quickly learned the Scorpio is not going to work for me when I fractured my spine lifting it (hence no kayaking photos lately). Shaving weight is essential. But I can’t count on a roll for a number of reasons, not limited to the most recent injury. Hopefully that will change later. I don’t want to wreck a lightweight deck.

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I looked back at the order, hard to remember. The order states “Lightweight Carbon Kevlar Hull” and “Carbon Kevlar Deck”, so maybe we compromised? I am not sure, actually, too many decisions about the details, too long ago…

I would check with Marshall at River Connection, see what he suggests.

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Thank you! I won’t pester Marshall since I’m working with another dealer, in Michigan - which is much closer to me. This dealer is fabulous, too. I’m really pleased. I just wanted second opinions on, well, everything.

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My experience with a Kevlar/Carbon Etain-17.5 is that it is plenty durable for me (190lb male) to sit on, climb on, ect. I haven’t even really noticed any flex. Rescuing others you will generally be pulling their boats over the skirt and coaming, mine has been plenty solid in that regard as well.

I also have a bad back. I find there is a huge difference loading my 44lb Etain vs my 59lb glass boats. Honestly I can’t even solo load the heavier boats without feeling compression and risking injury. Get the lighter boat. I specified that if mine was over 45lbs when delivered that I would not accept delivery. My back has no regrets.

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Thank you! Lightweight Kevlar/Carbon, not expedition?

4 to 6 lbs is a lot of weight to shave so I’m probably going for it.

I requested the Etain to be as light as they could possibly construct. I also own a 37lb 1999 Eddyline Falcon-16 in kevlar and used to own a Wenonah Jensen 18 ultralight canoe (that I miss dearly) in kevlar. I baby them somewhat, but when you hit things they actually tend to flex instead of mash and crack. I wouldn’t worry about climbing on them, its rocks and rocky shorelines that are a bigger concern over time. I love loading the Falcon solo, it is effortless.

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It’s not the material it’s how it’s constructed.

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I’ve been at a few training sessions over the years where folks have led rafting exercises to demonstrate the stability that can be created. It’s usually both educational and a lot of fun and laughs. One time, and only one time, I let someone talk me into laying my kayak upside-down across their deck, then stand on top of my kayak. It was one of those where I really didn’t want to do it, but just went along with it, and cringed as I heard the deck crackle and felt it flexing inward.
As above, I don’t think you have to worry about self rescues and standard assisted rescues. But I myself now draw the line with any kayak where the shenanigans might compromise my boat. Things like seeing multiple people stepping through hatch covers during an exercise as they’re asked to walk around decks. It’s hard to make a lightweight kayak and have a hatch rim that remains waterproof long-term after consistent hammer-fisting to put the covers back on, let alone having 130, 190, 240 pound persons stepping right through the hatch covers, forcing them to pop off right into the kayak under foot.
On that occasion I had a carbon kevlar P&H kayak with a diolen/glass deck. And it definitely flexed. But there are just certain abuses that you wouldn’t want to build a kayak heavy enough to withstand. You don’t want to lose more than you would gain. It’s not hard to remain more sensible about it than I was that day.


It’s very kind of you to share this experience here, because I know I would probably go along with something like this even if it made me uneasy had you not. Now I will be the one saying, “that’s going to be a no from me” and paddling slowly backward away from any group that wants to do this.


The CD hulls I have are fiberglass and kevlar. Some of each. Kevlar is lighter by about 2 pounds it’s much stronger if you press on it. So kevlar / carbon would be stronger and lighter.

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I bought my wife a used (7 year old) kevlar CD Solstice GTS this past February and it seems to be every bit as strong as my 25 yr old fiberglass CD Solstice GTHV, yet the GTS weighs only 46 lbs (says 48 lbs on the website) compared to the fiberglass GTS at 52 lb (website number). There are no gelcoat cracks on the deck of the GTS. It spent its first 7 yrs being used on the Bay of Fundy.

I cannot imagine that changing from fiberglass to kevlar with affect the strength and integrity of a kayak.

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The boat is just about on order, and it will have a kevlar/carbon deck (and hull). Thank you, everyone, for all the help!

Pru, what is the approx delivery date? Just curious based on my challenges earlier this year looking for a boat. Also want to know when we can expect pictures!!

We haven’t gotten that far yet. My dealer had boats on order and was able to change one of his orders for my specs. We’re still working out the last details and then I can start bugging him about delivery.

But I am not in a huge hurry. My fractured spine has to heal and I’m having hand surgery in a few weeks. Hopefully the boat will be here soon after the misery ends. But I have no idea.

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I have three Extremes, one fiberglass two kevlar. The fiberglass hull is definitely not as stiff on the deck, sides, or the bottom.

So Pru, what boat are you buying?

A P&H Cetus LV. Lightweight Kevlar/Carbon hull and deck, skeg, custom positioned bulkhead, and no hateful foot pegs. Turquoise deck, white hull, lime green seam, cockpit rim and kevlar keel strip. Sadly no glitter, too heavy. I’m going to have to get insurance for this $boat!