Slight oil canning on used kayak. Big deal?

I’ve been searching high and low for a transitional kayak. I’m a newbie so I’ve been looking at the plastic boats.

I found a Perception Carolina 12 about 3 hours away for $400. Or looks in really good condition, but there’s a slight dent on the bottom. Is this something to worry about? It’s not a big area and it’s a shallow dent. I guess they just strapped it on to a track to tightly. Can it be popped back into shape by warming it up?

The dent in the bottom probably won’t be a big deal. But use it as a bargaining chip to get the price lower. If floating downstream or lazy paddling around a pond is your intended use, I doubt you’ll ever notice it. If you can test paddle the boat, all the better, make sure it doesn’t pull one way or the other. Can it be popped out? I have no experience with it, but I’ve read some posts that say they can.

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How big is the dent? @tjalmy gave good advice above. Also, check to see if it’s at a bulkhead. If so, make sure it didn’t damage/deform the bulkhead. Often, applying slight pressure from the inside while leaving it in the sun will take care of it.

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Here’s what the dent looks like. You can see it just before the darker blue section.

[Kayak dent](View my photo at

Hard to tell in the shot from that angle but it doesn’t look all that bad. A little concerning that it seems to be deeper on the right than the left. Some shallow dents will pop out with a little cautious heat application (hair dryer on high or heat gun on low, kept moving so it doesn’t melt or scorch) – poly has a “memory” to some extent.

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I think I would try hot (boiling) water poured onto the dent on the outside and then apply pressure from the inside. I wouldn’t expect it to pop out, but it might push out with the right amount of push.

It might not hurt to call the factory if they are still in business. If they aren’t, I would call Current Designs and see what they suggest.

Or you could go hi-tech and do what a guy who worked at a factory that built poly boats told me. When they removed the boats from the form and found minor dents, they would pour lighter fluid in the dent and light it up. Knowing just when to blow it out and apply pressure is the trick. I wouldn’t recommend this as I have never tried it, nor seen it done.

It might be best to go to Youtube and check out the videos on the subject before you decide to buy the boat.

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in general poly boats are “shape shifters”, the bottom of that boat looks a hundred times better than the bottoms of my boats, no worries, buy the boat


Are you there yet? Good price on a good boat if it meets the above criteria.

Yeah. I’m getting it. :blush: I’m off to go get the cash now.

Congrats! Enjoy the new boat!

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:+1: Safe trip!

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Glad you are getting it, not seeing anything that is a big deal.

Only thing I am seeing is a possibility that it is near the rear bulkhead, but I really can’t tell for sure. If it is and you find there is a slight leak into the rear, like from behind the seat, it’ll probably seal up just fine with adding some Lexel along the bottom. Any hardware store.


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My advice is to pass on all oil canned boats. A broken spine is not good. The world is full of boats that are in better condition.

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I’ve got cash in hand, but due to the distance and work, I won’t be picking it up until Saturday.

I wish it didn’t have the dent on bottom, but my hunch says there will be quite a few used plastic boats with that sort of damage. I’ve had a hard time finding an used boat at all (that isn’t a fishing boat or a rec boat) in my rural location.

The dent on this one looks minor. So I hope I’m not wasting my money. If the weather holds out, maybe I can meet him somewhere to put it in the water first.

At $400, a Carolina is a good kayak to keep for family/friends to use or that day you go on a really rocky river or stump-filled lake paddle.

I know magooch is mostly joking but do not try the lighter fluid trick. I used to do a lot of surfboard repairs on a large heavy polypropylene table my wife bought for projects. When she was out of town I had a slight accident with epoxy that I had added too much hardener and it would not go off and solidify normally, I was adding stuff to it and spilled the whole batch on my wife’s craft table. The mess turned into partially liquid/partially goo mess. A friend of mine suggested putting a thin film of lighter fluid on it and lighting it off the so the liquid would burn off. This was a VERY BAD idea, as the flame creates a lot of heat at the surface. The surface of the table curled up faster than I could spray it with water and made a 4 inch bowed surface. I ended up doing a lot of cutting, inserting, and sanding and it still looked like I had set an napalm bomb off on the table. Wife was not happy.

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Paddlers can’t afford unhappy wives!

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I know I shouldn’t laugh, but I LOL’d. I’m glad your union survived!

As a follow up. I got another picture. Am I imagining a gouge in the same area as the dent?


I’m starting to think I need to step back. I hate to yank the seller around, but as my first kayak, I’m not sure I need to buy one with damage.

The boats my friend has have no dents or anything other than mild scratching and she’s used them for years.

I don’t see a gouge, just a mark on the hull. The oil-canning looks milder from that angle. I wouldn’t sweat it based on the photos if you want/need something now and the pickings are slim.

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