Old Eddyline - UV damage?

-- Last Updated: Sep-10-14 1:21 PM EST --

Updating for those that remember - I had purchased an old Eddyline Merlin XT (1998 - they changed the design in 2001) on Craigslist several months ago and finally got a chance to paddle it a few times up in Washington.

I like the boat and it was pretty cheap. There were some cracks that the seller disclosed to me that had been repaired on the inside and they seem to be sound repairs (in accordance with Eddyline suggestions) and the boat didn't leak at all during my paddles.

My question is this - the boat is now 16 years old and the white hull is now yellowing. I contacted Eddyline for their thoughts. They said I could repaint it with something as simple as Krylon Fusion, but that the yellowing indicates UV damage which could make the boat prone to cracking easily.

How should I proceed here? I only paid about $600 for the boat, just wondering if I should:

1) Keep it and paint it knowing that the UV damage might make it vulnerable even if it looks nice
2) Try to sell it for a few hundred bucks knowing it's possibly compromised

I ultimately plan to buy a new boat so this won't be my "forever boat", but that will be at least 2 years away. If I keep it it would eventually just be a boat for friends to use when they visit but I do plan to paddle it for at least the next two years if it's safe to do so.

Any thoughts? Thanks!

Plastic Conditioner
Im not 100% positive how well this would work on a kayak but I work for the automotive service industry and for sun damaged dashboards and other plastics we use plastic conditioner, plastic polish, a good buff and then a liberal coating of plastic polish applied with a cotton rag to leave on. This should restore the original color and the plastic conditioner contains an uv blocker to prevent further damage. Id leave it on for at least a few days before getting your yak wet.

wet sand and buff

– Last Updated: Sep-10-14 2:05 PM EST –

I have a CD Caribou from the same time period that I bought new. I was pondering restoration options (the boat was beat up from lots of use, and had sat for a couple of years, but had not been left in the open sun, so did not have UV damage). Someone here suggested getting some auto polishing compound and a buffer.

I took all the rigging off, then wet sanded the entire hull, first with 400, then 600, then 800, then 1000. Moving carefully in only fore/aft direction with the sandpaper, and using a foam pad to even out the work. Then got some compound, and got out my Makita 7 inch grinder and a pile of buffing pads. I carefully buffed the entire boat, three times, using a lot of compound. I then waxed the entire boat with Turtle Wax, twice with the buffer and once by hand. Then ordered new fittings and line and am almost done replacing the rigging, deck straps, etc.

Boat looks almost like new, and the bottom is so slippery it won't stay still on my saw horses. (My ten year old, who is a good paddler, says "It just wants to GO!")

Obviously, this won't address any brittle-ness of the fiberglass (I also reinforced mine on the inside in a few places, I have a lot of experience with fiberglass), but it *might* address the appearance of the gelcoat (or whatever they call it on those boats).


Not Fiberglass

– Last Updated: Sep-10-14 2:10 PM EST –

Just-A-Guy, thanks for that! Sounds like a labor of love.

My boat is actually not glass, it's thermo-formed plastic called "Carbonlite 2000" or whatever they've called it. Eddyline said there's not a gel-coat you just paint as you would plastic. The inside cracks are repaired similar to a glass boat though with tape and resin. They said I could sand down the outside of the hull to make it even, but wouldn't be able to add anything (other than paint) on to the outside.

not sure about that
I just looked at the Eddyline site. I don’t know what “carbonlite” is, but I suspect it’s just a trademarked name for some variation on traditional fiberglass. Eddyline’s repair sections seem to suggest using epoxy or polyester resin and glass cloth, just like you would a fiberglass boat.

Also, there is a page on the Eddyline site that proposes pretty much exactly what I did, as a way of repairing the exterior finish on a carbonlite boat. Just FWIW…


Carbonlite is NOT fiberglass. It is a thermoformed plastic.

If it’s not brittle, just use it.

– Last Updated: Sep-10-14 5:41 PM EST –

Painting the surface is not going to do anything to increase the integrity of the hull. If the hull is strong, resisits pushing with a blunt small object with out cracking etc... Just paddle it for another couple of years and enjoy. Painted plastic boats are more ugly than aging boats, you can use krylon but the results look ghetto, if that's the look you want fine, but probably not the effect you are going for. Believe it or not minor to moderate surface cracking is not going to effect performance.

Good to hear!
“Painted plastic boats are more ugly than aging boats”

I think that’s all I really need to hear. I guess I don’t really care what it looks like knowing that it’s just a temporary boat. Just wanted to assess how dangerous “UV damage” was. If it’s like paddling in an eggshell I didn’t want to do it, but for just doing short paddles near home I think it will hold up until I have the funds for something better.


– Last Updated: Sep-11-14 9:40 AM EST –

I've either read, or been told that thermoplastic, or in Eddyline's case Carbonlite 2000 is an ABS plastic of some sort. It is tough as anything over a certain temperature range, but not so much when it gets very cold.

I had a talk with a factory rep about repairs and he made it sound very simple and effective with material available from Eddyline. His instruction however was somewhat different than what is on the Eddyling website.

I once witnessed a demonstration where an Eddyline boat was literally stomped from stem to stern on the deck and it was none the worse afterwords. I almost had a stroke watching it happen. This stuff is very tough above freezing.

For anyone interested in a really great thermoformed sea kayak, you won't do better than the Eddyline Raven.

Already on my wish list for my “real” boat!! That or the fathom LV. Hope to try them both out. In a past life I was a bird trainer at the zoo and my favorite bird was our raven. I considered that a sign :wink:

I’ll sell you my Fathom LV.
The challenge for you is that it’s in IL and it’s a bit over $1000.

Same deal for my kevlar Perception Shadow 16.5, which I think would actually be a bit better fit for your size.

Either is available for less than the price of quality new plastic sea kayaks, but more than $1000.

uv damage
If there is any question about the boat after carefully inspecting it, sell it. Paint it and disclose to the buyer what the problems are. I had an early Kevlar canoe that was old and started to have problems. I repaired it with glass and epoxy and sold it for $400, but I explained to the owner that it was made in 1978.

The last thing you want to happen is paddle out on a large lake or salt water excursion and have the hull fail.

Maybe don’t be going banging rocks with
… it, like avoiding river running ?

One thing that painting the exterior hull WOULD do is prevent further deterioration from the sun exposure over the time you still use it.

Don’t store it outside, obviously, and try to avoid excessive temperature extremes in the storage area. Wait, you probably don’t live where it gets as hot as it does here, be thankful :slight_smile: We do some crazy things moving the loaded kayaks around under the shifting shade sometimes in the summer, before we leave ! Hot enough to fry eggs on that paddle handle if you don’t. Can’t be good for the plastic, either, even if it is an Eddyline.

If you’re being supercautious, (and who isn’t, at times, see also “never expected THAT to happen” category of water events) be sure to have a backup plan if for some reason you get sunk. ie, carry a cell phone in a waterproof case that floats, (more uses for pool noodle pieces!) and/or waterproof boating radio, wear your pfd, have a whistle clipped to your pfd, have a waterproof light, wear bright colors so you’re visible to other boaters if you’re in the water, tell people where you’re going, where you’re putting in, and when you’re expected back if going solo. You can also stay within swimming distance of the shorelines. If you float, you just swim back in. If the current carries you, you may have a detour… I also carry an extra flotation device - I have been laughed at for this, but I came within inches of having to throw it at someone else this past weekend who parted company with their kayak and their friend, then they let go of the paddle, and then they discovered they couldn’t swim over to the shore by themself, because the very strong currents were sucking them the opposite direction. And this is an impounded lake, but it was the time of day where the dam upstream releases a huge outflow. They were not wearing a pfd… Gaaah. But then I realized I could just tow them with my kayak, if they could hold on, cause I have a little rope I have for just that, and that is what I did. But I was SO grateful that I didn’t have to get in the water and try to put them on that float or up in my kayak. It was a really bad place to try to swim.

“See and be seen” - that’s the motto from another website about kayaking, and it’s the best advice. These people afterwards said they were shocked that they flipped out into the water, but I was really grateful that they had bright enough colors that I noticed, especially as I didn’t hear them that well, and it was near sunset.

You can’t plan for everything, but you can add a bit of floatation stuff :slight_smile:

If only…
If only I were closer!

No joke
Yeah, we just lost a tourist here in San Diego that rented a sit-on-top from a local hotel that doesn’t require PFD usage (just that they be on the boat). 17 year old kid fell in, panicked, grabbed for the PFD but couldn’t get to it. They found him on the bottom of Mission Bay the next morning. No bueno.


yellow headlights are fixed by grinding the UV damaged surface away. There is no reconditioning of the plastic.

Personally I would just keep 303 Protectant on it. Keep it covered when not in use. I think you would see signs of failure before the bottom drops out or a split. Get some float bays front and rear. Krylon wouldn’t last on it soon as you touch it, it scratches. Just use it. You can get some great kayaks for under 1,000 bucks just don’t be it a rush. If money is a concern by used and get a deal you can usually unload it for the same or more with an hour or two buffing and some deck lines if need be. I have a Eddyline Journey in the fleet but I am not a big fan of the material. My friend has had two Ravens and had a few hull failures. Not sure he didn’t contribute to them in a way. Glass is just more durable and easier to make repair that last with no compromise. You could ask these people if their paint works on ABS plastic http://www.yachtpaint.com/usa/diy/products/finishes/search.aspx not cheap and a little tricky to use. I did a fiberglass Current Designs Extreme 5-6 years ago with it. The yellow did fade a bit if you look where the deck lines sit but you would not know it and it is tough to scratch and still super shiny.