TCS/ABS/Thermoformed durability

Anyone have constructive feedback on the reliability of the TCS material…I want a Current Designs Kestrel kayak but I am leary on spending all the cash on it if the minute it would fall off the top of my car it would shatter like glass. What about running aground on gravel shores? Running through a riffel? Any comments on this material?

Thermoformed plastics
Thermoformed plastics versus Rotomolded PE. The PE has higher initial impact resistance. However, the thermoformed boats have higher scratch/abrasion resistance, higher UV/heat resistance and are more repairable. SO, either boat would take a beating falling off a car roof (if you’re spending on a decent boat you might as well get a decent roof rack and secure it properly and then this shoudn’t be an issue). Once the boat is off the roof and all beat up the thermoformed boat may be salvaged, with the PE you’d probably be shopping for a new boat (same for spendy kevlar/carbon/fiberglass boats). As far as riffles, cobble beaches, rock gardens, surf zones, etc. both material types will stand up to these conditions and substrates. That’s what they’re designed for. The thermoformed boats are just lighter, faster and prettier while doing it.

I must disagree

– Last Updated: Sep-28-05 5:22 PM EST –

my seaward shadow (kevlar) fell of the roof rack in huge winds while I was admmiring the kite fliers. Cost to repair: $15 in gel coat.

I could certainly throw my PE perception ARC off the roof of my station wagon with no damage. I bet you could do that with a plastic capella as well.

I would not consider that with a thermo formed boat.

agree to disagree
I suppose we have to agree to disagree… most people I’ve spoken to who have been unfortunate enough to drop their composite boat from a car roof while moving had horror stories to tell. The PE boats, sure they’ll bounce and you’re right they will probably live to paddle again but long term abuse, i.e. scratches, gouges, cuts, punctures, UV damage they are more difficult to fix (other than just slapping some duct-tape on 'em) and have shorter life-spans. I and other paddlers I’ve spoken to have put their thermoformed boats through some heavy abuse and they are still going strong. Had one fall off a roof not too long ago and got a warp in the hull that was easy to pop out and smooth over. As each company uses different plastics, gel coats, composite fibers, etc. one cannot draw generalizations across all manufacturers and methods. It all comes back to word of mouth testimonial and in my experience thermo-boats are pretty tough.

ok by me
few in north america make a boat as tough as seaward. boreal comes to mind. no doubt that given care the thermoformed boats will last longer than PE. A well made composite boat is tough though. Some manufactures optimize for light weight, some for low cost durability. some for durability with fantastic dedication to quality building and engineering.