Scratch and chip prevention.

-- Last Updated: Mar-06-05 9:34 AM EST --

I'm a rookie kayaker and I'm brainstorming here, so bear with me.
I live in Northern Utah and plan on paddling primarily for fitness on lakes for the next few months. I anticipate 2-4 hour workouts 3-4 days a week to start. It's mainly small rocks and sand where I'll be launching, and 50 yards to the water.
My goal is delay as many chips and scratches as possible.

What if I cut myself one or two pieces of old carpet, lets say a 12-18 inches wide by
6'-8' long or maybe 2 pieces... or whatever it takes.
After I take my new QCC 700X (which is scheduled to arrive this week) off the truck and down to the H2O. I could unroll one or two pieces of old carpet and set the boat down on top of it. After I put the boat in the H2O I quickly roll up the carpet and stuff it under the cockpit or perhaps in a hatch.
This way my boat would primarily touch only the H2O, my Mako Saddles w/felt pads and the carpet.

And again I'm brainstorming and I realize my boat will experience plenty of wear and tear through the years.

What do you think?

Good idea or pain in the a**.

Anybody else out there do anything like this?

What to the "hardcore racers" do to protect the bottoms of race boats?

I'm open to feedback or suggestions.

Thanks Craig.

Bubble wrap

– Last Updated: Mar-06-05 9:48 AM EST –

and don't take it off - you'll probably never get a scratch. Look - if it makes you happy, try it. I'm fussy about my QCC600 but the bottom has plenty of scratches so I try to keep the bottom down and my head up so I don't see it.

A glass boat
should last about 20 years in the mild conditions you describe.

Forget about perfection and paddle.

I am known to use cheap foam camping matresses and set them down about 12 feet from my station wagon, and a thick cotton bathroom mat covering the top edge of the wagon and the bar betweent he saddles. put one end on the foam one end on car, control boat lift up lower end and slide forward

How about Astro Turf?
I’m planning the same thing but I’m thinking about Astro Turf (sort of like plastic shag carpet – maybe it’s called something else – indoor/outdoor carpet? ) Real carpet is swell, but you’d have to leave it there, not that that would be bad. The idea behind the Astro Turf (or whatever it is) is that it would be light enough after getting soaked that you could rinse it off, shake it out, dry it in the sun for a while, roll it up and take it with you for the next time or next place. If the stuff floats, well, then never mind.

You’ll probably get sick of it
I have read of other people doing as you described. But I thought there was a post about someone else who was going through such obsessive methods that it took half an hour (?) just to get the kayak into the water. Multiply that times 2…I’d rather paddle for that extra hour.

You’re going through a stage.
Later, you will wonder why you were so concerned about minor scratches. Racers aren’t.

the first time
when you get the boat, stare at its perfect hull, marveling in its perfection. then, take it to the water, and gently drag it across some rocks. just get it over with. you will never care one iota again. scratches are part of paddling.

then buy a bit of gelcoat for when they get too bad.

have fun,


duct tape
I demoed a graphite boat that had duct tape about 4 in wide acrross the bottom keel. Or learn to straddle the boat and launch from deeper water and get out in deeper water.

It’s a boat for gosh sake —
not a piece of fine furniture in a museaum.

It’s supposed to get used, so use it. The scratches all add character to the boat and give you something to remember about the trip that each happened on.

Okay. Stop Yelling.
This (original) post could have been my own, so I’ll reply as though it were.

I have a graphite kayak coming in next Thursday. I’m used to a Poly kayak. My Poly (Manitou) has serious gouges (though none penetrating) from landing on gravel or concrete. I don’t mind the cosmetic thing at all -I agree–“use it” “not furniture” “not going to museum” – cosmetics don’t matter to me.

But is there any danger of actually DAMAGING a graphite/fiberglas/kevlar hull? I’ll be glad to forego the whole carpet/AstroTurf idea if you can assure me I’m not going to sink in a heartbeat after landing several times on granite gravel.

I know about duct tape, but where do I get this GelCoat stuff, and what is it?

Thanks (much)

The beauty of composite boats
is that they can always be repaired. I put a crack in the hull of my FG boat several years ago and paddled home (a little more than 7 NM) without knowing there was a crack. A little fiberglass, resin, and gelcoat and it’s now stronger than before.

A woman paddling with us today had an incident during some BCU 4* training where her brand new composite boat, got smashed against a rock jetty. This put numerous holes in her boat. Lots of duct tape was used to patch it, and today, I couldn’t tell where any of the repairs had been made.

You can buy gelcoat at any marine store or if you need to match color and don’t want to mix them yourself, contact the manufacturer of your boat. They’ll sell you the resin and you just need to buy the catalyst from a marine shop or an auto parts store.

You CAN damage by running up on rocks
On our Alaska trip, we met a guy who had won an Outside Magazine essay contest and received full sponsorship for a “dream” expedition. One of his freebies was a Seaward kevlar kayak. In less than 2 weeks of newbie launching and landing (he had zero kayaking experience), he had abraded the stern keel enough that it was leaking. The gel coat was gone there, and the roughed-up kevlar cloth was bared to the water.

Just putting the kayak down on sand or gravel won’t trash it like that, but outright abuse is another matter.

Just Put It In The Water
Don’t put it on the ground at all. Wade out until there’s about a foot or so of water under the boat, straddle the boat and do a butt first entry to the boat.

With that said, I do agree with the others about getting over it. I know that when I first got my boat it was so shiny and new, the thought of a scratch was painfull. That goes away.