surf kayak repair

so i managed to crack my surf boat in two places I can find.

I leak tested the boat. One is up in the nose, the other is in a more accessible area.

I want to reinforce the area with glass/kevlar and then regel the surface.

But repair on the nose is way up on the nose. Not sure I will be able to get it way up there to do it from the inside even if i tried my best. Arms are pretty short. so wondering if I should either just epoxy resin the area with a syringe, or suck it up and give the nose some glass from the outside, which I have not seen done before.


If you use glass outside and do a
careful job, it will not be hideously obvious.

As for inside, based on the surf kayaks of recent vintage I have seen pictured on the web, it will be difficult doing any kind of meaningful repair in such tight quarters. I’m not sure it is even worthwhile trying to drizzle epoxy on the inside surface. If the outside repair is of good quality, the inside may be ignored.

However, just to show the benefit of having old, cranky, senile people giving you advice…

Back in the 70s, I had a Hahn ww c-1, made of many layers of glass, that kept cracking in the stern from the thump inherent in running ledges. I kept applying concentric epoxy/glass patches to the outside. And they kept cracking.

So, 70s glass c-1s having no walls, I did an inside patch. First I basted, or stitched, three layers of Nylon [polyester also OK] with ordinary thread. The largest was to go down nearest the hull, and so on. The basting was in a cross pattern, one basting seam along the axis of the hull, and the other crossways, at the midpoint of the 3 layer patch.

I then scrounged an old broom handle. I mixed up a batch of resin, and wet out the 3 layer patch as it sat on some wax paper. Then (with gloved hands) I gently maneuvered the 3-layer patch onto the end of the broom handle.

I had earlier used a piece of Ethafoam with sandpaper on the surface, slipped over the broomhandle, to pre-sand the area in the inside stern of the boat that needed to be patched. I also used a sponge on a stick and some acetone to clean the area.

Anyway, with the 3-layer Nylon patch wet with resin and on the end of the pole, I dumped it on the damaged area inside the stern. With a small, bent nail in the end of the broomstick, I shifted the patch into the proper position. Because the patch had been pre-wet, but not soppy, I did not need to worry about squeeging the patch. I just left it in place to set.

That patch stopped the recurrent splitting through to the inside. Note that this approach will NOT work with glass, because glass fabric pulls apart too easily. Nylon, polyester, and Kevlar will stay together.

It won’t surprise me if your damaged area is not accessible to such an approach. That’s a consequence of the sort of upturned bows needed for good surf kayak performance.

For an outside repair, consider using Kevlar as your first, largest, concentric layer, and glass for the rest. The largest, innermost layer may be under more of a tension than a compression stress when you run into another pier.