New paddler

New paddler here. Gone out a couple times with my mom in a borrowed boat, loved it, bought my own yesterday.

I found a used aquaterra blazer 13’ for $150 on Craigslist. After doing some research I found out it is a whitewater kayak and I’m looking more for a lake cruiser. So I want to make mods. I like to customize things. :slight_smile:

I want to cut a larger opening in the top. I have large thighs and it makes it tough to get in/out of this thing. Is there anything I should be aware of before doing this? Structural integrity/buoyancy? My plan is to stuff foam into the ends for added buoyancy in case of flippy.

This boat also turns very easily. I read some paddling techniques that will help, but I’d like to add a skeg to help keep her straight.

Last, it has no storage so I want to get a Tupperware container, cut a hole behind the seat, insert the container and I’ll have a nice watertight container. Thoughts?

My ideal kayak is a nice 2-4 hour trip after work or on a weekend. Take some snacks/water and take some cool pics.

Any advice is appreciated!


You start cutting on a kayak like that

– Last Updated: Jun-08-14 11:56 AM EST –

and you'll be very sorry.

What you propose is so ridiculous, and so unprecedented, that I wonder if you're trolling us?

That boat is not a whitewater kayak, it's a sort of bastardized combo rec boat.

If you cut out the cockpit rim, you will make a big reduction in the structural integrity of the boat. AND you will lose the ability to use a spray skirt to keep water out of the boat. You would end up with a huge, rough-edged gap. I've glassed a large cockpit rim onto a kayak, but it was a "glass" kayak, so that the glass rim stuck properly.

Stuffing foam into the ends of the boat for flotation will not work well, because in case of a capsize, it is going to come loose. I've installed foam walls in a ww kayak, and it is not easy. You might be able to find some tie points, perhaps the front end of the footbrace rails, so you can tie in float bags.

The Aquaterra is a polyethylene kayak, which means that most adhesives won't stick, and your odds of using even G-flex to attach a skeg box or a Tupperware recessed container are slim to none. You might be able to make and strap on a skeg, but I recommend the paddle-properly course of action instead.

It sounds as if you're big for the boat. The best solution may be to buy something else.

Very funny
Reminds me of a fella who was asking what kind of wallpaper would work best in his effort to customize a 1951 Frazer 4 door.

I smell a spam or someone with…
no brains !

Jack L

Don’t worry about the terse responses

– Last Updated: Jun-08-14 2:18 PM EST –

Some people assume everyone must know much of what they already do. Still, as you can see, what your propose is a bad idea. You didn't put much money into the boat, and that's good. You'll be able to get that money back when you sell it. Your best bet is to ask for some suggestions for the type of boat that would suit you, based on your body size and intended type of use. If you fit this boat better, I'd say keep paddling it in the meantime.

I found some photos of this boat but no descriptions. It does have some resemblance to old-school whitewater boats, and if that similarity is real, good paddling technique will make it go straight. Getting in and out of those old-style boats isn't necessarily convenient. If you fit properly once inside, that's what matters. I realize that such a fit may not be what you are looking for, but again, switching boats is the thing to do in that case.

Two thoughts
Whitewater boats are supposed to fit pretty tight compared to long boats - it is functional that they do so that the paddler can control the boat well in an environment requiring very fast responses. It is the nature of the boat you have.

Learning to make a whitewater boat go straight is, as said above, very good for your paddling. Someone who is a good paddler should be able to make that happen. It just takes better paddling than most new folks have.

You have heard sufficiently that cutting a larger hole in this boat isn’t a plan. Sell it or better yet keep it for creek crawling - not like you are going very fast there anyway - and look around for a used touring boat. Or even use this for fitness paddling. You’ll burn a lot more calories making this boat sprint straight than a touring boat over the same distance.

I’ve got no first hand experience

– Last Updated: Jun-08-14 10:01 PM EST –

with your boat but it definitely looks like an old school hybrid and I don't see why you couldn't use it in many different environments. Rather than cutting the boat for storage or adding foam, I would invest in a nalgene wide mouth bottle for dry storage for your snacks and car keys and use a carabeener to attach behind the seat. Sometimes you can slip a water bottle down the front of your lifejacket. That depends on what style your using. I would purchase float bags to put in the ends of the boat from NRS (Northwest River Supply). Much better than adding foam yourself which is likely to trap water. One of the draw backs of an old perception boat is their small cockpit. The thigh cups actually add control to the boat but you may need to try to move the seat forward or backward so they hit your thigh in the right place. In some older models this is not easy. Your reality is that your bargain is going to be harder to get in and out of than many new models and will be less comfortable but you do have something to paddle that is economical and my humble opinion will work for your intended purpose. Take the time to fit the boat to your body. Does it have a backband for additional support? That's something that might be worthwhile to get that will enhance your ability, posture, and comfort. Adequate back support was lacking in many older model boats. Congratulations on your new boat and may you have many memorable and safe paddling trips.

Thanks for all the messages. I got it home last night and started checking it out.

I got some PVC insulation and glued/Velcro’d to the back of the opening for cushion. Man that thing was rough on my back.

I also did some reverse engineering to see what I could find out about support/rigidity in this thing. It’s got layered foam about 5" wide down the front and back. I cut some pieces out- I had an itch on my legs and couldn’t reach through to scratch lol- so I can scratch myself with my toes now :). I cut in a rib pattern so I left plenty of rigidity and added some air circulation.

I also removed the thigh support. Now there’s a little breathing room and I can reach down and store a water bottle or whatever.

I am planning on adding some criss-cross bungee cords for some storage.

I appreciate all of the advice. I kind of figured it wouldn’t matter too much what happened up top but from the comments and after taking out the foam and seeing that it’s pretty flimsy without it, I see that my original thoughts were incorrect.

Thanks everyone!

Two steps…although not what you may
immediately want. 1) Sell it…especially if there’s no streams around your region, save your $$$ and get a flatwater boat…or 2)Keep it the way it is, get a sprayskirt…and use it in any non-threatening streams…your BALANCE skills will improve by leaps and bounds.

As said…WW hulls are designed with inherent instability…allowing them to be more stable in chaotic surface conditions of WW/moving_water.


I agree
…bigspencer. I want to use it to get better. I feel that if I can use this to improve my stroke and balance, then when it’s time to spend a little more money, I’ll be ready.

There are a few little lakes around and one bigger one here in NC, so I’ll take it out this Summer, get better and see about getting a new one later.

a waste of wallpaper!