sun damage?

I have a neighbor who has an Ocean kayak that he’s stored for the last year on saw horses in his back yard. Where it is is partly shaded but does get a fair amount of full sun. He’s offered to sell the kayak & at a pretty good price & I can’t see any visible damage. Should I be concerned & what should I look for? Just what does the sun do to poly kayaks?



Should be fine
Many kayak shops store their plastic boats out in the yard. If there is no heavy fading or warping better known as oil caning you should be fine. I’ve had a plastic Tsunami in my backyard for several years and it still looks great.


UV damage
the UV light breaks down plastics. Look for seriously faded and dried out looking areas. Badly damaged plastic becomes brittle and dry. If the plastic still feels smooth and “oily” then no major damage has prpbably occurred.

Sun can damage kayaks
An article I wrote a while back :

Check it carefully
If it’s faded at all pass on it. Rental outfits often store the fleet in the sun because they have no better options. Then they sell them after one or two years and replace with new models. You already know UV will damage the poly so be careful, there are always going to be other boats for sale.

I think fading has more to do with the pigments than with degradation of the actual plastic. Some colours fade a lot faster. The heat of the sun can warp the plastic, so look for dents, indents, warping of the hull. One year in the sun won’t kill a kayak.

In time, it will damage the plastic. But
in the present example, a year in partial sun isn’t enough to weaken the hull.

When poly kayaks were just coming out, I had one develop multiple cracks on the bottom after only five years. Maybe it was rocks, but I carried the boat inverted on the racks. It was transluscent, had no pigment. I called Perception and asked them was this normal, and what pigment did they think would resist UV. (They weren’t using much UV inhibitor then.) They said that at that time five years wasn’t an abnormally short life. They said zero pigment boats were most vulnerable to UV, and that based on limited data, they thought red might resist best. (Other color myths abound today.)

I’ve seen them laid out in full sun for
a couple of years that were still serviceable. Push on it. If it flexes easily and doesn’t crack, it s/b fine.

Trouble is, river life isn’t just a push
on the bottom. I had to look inside my old poly boat to see that cracks were propagating, but just pushing on the bottom was having no effect. Sellers don’t like buyers putting realistic stress on hulls.

But I agree, I’ve seen recently made poly boats go a couple of years in the sun without serious deterioration.

That’s just silly
Any plastic hull that doesn’t crack when pushed on is good to go? Not much of a test. I’ll stick with non-sun damaged boats.