Restoring old kayak

I have picked up and older boat that I want to bring back at least halfway to it’s former glory.

The gelcoat on the hull is mostly gone, with much of the fabric/epoxy composive visible. All is in good order. Layup is sound. No delamination or damage.

Will a good cleaning, light sand prep, and some good marine hull paint do it? Other ideas? (Note: I will most likely have to work on it outside in high humidity.)

The seam tape is sound but will need a coat of black gelcoat or paint (glass fibers exposed at edges - ouch!). The deck is faded, but I suspect some rubbing compound, then polish, with lots of elbow grease will do the trick there.

Hull refinishing
It’s pretty common to re-paint a fiberglass hull on power boats & sailboats, and I know of a few kayaks that have needed it, too.

As long as you prep it well, a quality two-part topside paint should work fine. Just don’t expect it to be as durable as gelcoat, regardless of the manufacturer’s claims.

You may want to consider kevlar skidplates on the keel line at the bow & stern before you paint. Just another line of defense…

Hopefully, you’ll give her a whole new life!


Maybe gel coat…
Gel is relly not that hard to work with. You can spray or brush it, lots of sanding/polishing though. You can always paint it if that doesn’t work… GH

You’ll need to get some resin or gel
coat on the spots that are worn down to the degree that the fibers are exposed. On the other hand if it’s just the gelcoat thats faded and worn, I’d use a two part marine hull paint. I’ve had some good luck with two part paint re-finishing sailboat hulls during a “prior life”.

Putting extra tape/epoxy on to reinforce the “skid” area might be overkill if the boat isn’t excessively worn in that area, unless you’re planning to bash it around on coral reefs or other abrasive elements (any oyster beds? how abrasive are the mangrove roots? that SOFLA beach sand is powder compared to the stuff up here in the Northeast!).

what boat?
i have a couple of 70’s phoenix boats i’m saving. ‘they dont make em like they used to’ is your goal to restore it or to make it functional?

Just teasing…
…find a vat at least as long as the kayak. Fill it with slow-drying epoxy in equal parts of hardener and resin. Mix thoroughly. Drop in the kayak and roll the OUTSIDE parts in the epoxy.

Drop the dipped kayak in beach sand and coat thoroughly. You now have a sandpaper hull that will put sharks’ skin to shame, and a finish none can copy…unless they find this ludicrous recipe.

Tough boat
It’s a Kevlar Tsunami X-1. Still tough, just weathered, gelcoat largely gone.

I’m not looking to make it shine like my QCC - and don’t want to baby it - but would like to get it back closer to how it was originally - or at least add some protection and improve the appearance a bit.

Old gelcoat looks to be some pale green color - like some primers I’ve seen - and also like a color I used to see inside in the NAVY a lot. I’ll be OK with white, or a light grey would be good as well and easier to cover what’s there.

Gave the boat a good wash tonight - and it looks about the same as it did dirty!

I don’t know
A whole hull? I have no sprayer - so unless gelcoat comes in spray cans now it would be done with a brush/roller. Is that really doable with decent results?

Not just faded - gone

What’s durable about gelcoat?

You can roll on West epoxy.
Their technical manual covers this in the context of refinishing boats that have blistered extensively from hydrolysis of polyester resin. I resurfaced two whitewater kayaks which had gotten fuzzy (one a Noah, one a Phoenix). First I quick-passed with a propane torch to burn off the fuzz, then sanded or shaved the rest off. Then I rolled on (using West foam rollers) several coats of epoxy, working fast so that the previous layer had not set up before the new one went on. (This prevents amine blush from rising to the surface and spoiling the bond.) On one boat I used a high proportion of graphite powder in the final layers so the boat would slip easier on rocks and gravel.

After the layers were hard, I cleaned off the blush and very carefully smoothed the orange-peel surface (epoxy does not lay smooth in this application) with medium grit sandpaper and a random orbit sander.

Now, read my lips: If I did this again on whitewater boats, I might use a very hard, two-part urethane varnish rather than epoxy. Epoxy applied to the surface in this way may not resist cracking and flaking when the hull undergoes the massive flexing inherent in whitewater use. Talk to West about resurfacing. They may agree that their two part urethane varnish or one of their paints is a better bet.

I still wonder what magic people see in gelcoat. None of my premium boats— Noah, Dagger, Millbrook, Bluewater— uses gelcoat.

Man, that was such a deal!

Not much, but it’s thicker than paint

Hey 'cuda - Yes, a deal
but will be much better with some attention. Right not it loks like it spend a lot of time in the sun - and the rest underground!

The seam tape has glass fibers sticking out everywhere (sound, just needs coating) and I keep gettting it stuck in me! Need to fix that or slap tape over it before I can even test paddle it.

Recoating the seam tape is easy, and the deck should polish up pretty well, but hull would be more work (unless I just do a quick paint coat) - and hard to do outside with constant thunderstorm threat. Paint would likely be fine, but with so many boat repair people around - might be worth getting a couple estimates on a decent and complete gelcoat job. The whole thing is smaller than many yacht repairs and would be quick and easy for someone set up to do it.

I’d really like an original lap belt and new hatch straps too - but the Tsunami folks seem to have a hard time answering emails.

I’ll also look at replacing cables/cord/bungees etc. Get everything sweet before I beat it up!

Very interesting hull shape. Looks like it would surf well, be pretty fast, tough, and has the biggest most heavy duty rudder I’ve ever seen! Decked over feet so you can brace like with surf ski foot straps. You sit very low and can comfortably do a full layback, so I may use this one to learn to roll before my SINK! The boat is narrow! Seems narrower than my ski sitting in it - even though it’s a good bit wider. Seat’s a bit snug for my fat @$$, but several hours of sanding, painting, and polishing in S FL heat should help that!

I’ll try to remember to get pictures before and after. It’s a very unique kayak.

Add some graphite powder to the epoxy and roll on a few coats. Then sand down (like on my pygmys) and you’ll have a very tough and fast hull… really.

sounds like a classic

– Last Updated: Aug-31-04 7:26 PM EST –

harley sportster, hope you will post pics. tsunamis are legendary, never seen one. nw big water playboat? how'd you find one in fla? an what do you think frances will do... yeowww! maybe you should keep it handy!