The Krackyak: my kayak split in half!

-- Last Updated: Jun-28-16 1:59 PM EST --

About 40 years ago I bought a used rotomolded PE kayak of indeterminate make, and used it for several years in the estuaries and sound and surf near Wrightsville Beach, NC. Then I moved inland where for many reasons the kayak was not used again until recently. But I kept it, thinking that one day I'd get back into paddling.

About 20 years ago we moved to our present home, where I stored the boat in the garage, hung from the ceiling by the handles at the bow and stern. Finally, last week, the stars aligned and I was able to use the kayak on a family trip on a pretty gentle local river.

About midway along the 7-mile trip, I noticed a crack, about 8 inches long, in the upper part of the hull near the coaming. I was thankful that the crack was above the waterline, but figured at that point I was probably on my last trip in this boat.

We arrived safely at the take-out, and as I pushed on the coaming to get out of the boat, a few other cracks appeared. As I was preparing the straps to mount the kayak on top of the car for the return home, I was wondering what on earth I could do with a decommissioned kayak that no sane person would want, and which could probably not be repaired without worries about cracks elsewhere in the hull. At that point, my son casually rested his foot on the bow point, and not 10 minutes after we had concluded the trip, the boat split entirely in two!

I suppose it's a good thing I didn't hit any rocks or encounter any rough water... and that I decided not to stop at the island along the way (thereby stressing the hull with an extra exit and re-entry cycle).

Now I'm wondering what was ultimately the cause of the failure. Is it just that polyethylene gets brittle after 40+ years? Was it the stress of 20 years of hanging from its ends? Or something else I'm not thinking of?

I've never heard of this kind of thing happening, but obviously I'm not that deeply involved in the sport (yet). I figured some of you might get a kick out of reading the story and seeing the pictures that I'm going to try to link to below.

The story does have a happy ending though. This trip introduced my family to river paddling, and now they're all eager for more. And on top of that, I get a new boat (a Dagger Axis 10.5, scheduled for delivery in a couple of days)!

I am glad you wern’t several miles …
out in the ocean.

Was that hanging where sun would get at it ?

Makes for a good story and I can hear the jokes now !

Jack L

My guess would be…
…cumulative degeneration caused by automobile exhaust…that and being 4000 years old in plastic kayak terms.

Thanks for the story
I guess boats get osteoporosis too.

Cause is…
hung from the ceiling by the handles at the bow and stern.

Sorry for you loss
but that is hilarious.

keep it
with very little work it could make a great Halloween costume!

Amazing Lawn Ornaments!!
Or is that just a Mississippi thing?

oh heck no

– Last Updated: Jun-29-16 8:22 AM EST –

We have our share of broken boats spilling over with petunias, tiny windmills shaped like loony tunes characters, urinating cowboy silhouettes, and plywood overweight women bending over. Sometimes in inconceivable combinations.

Hang half on the side of your garage.

can you melt it and make
ceremonial candles for gifts?

with a note
"lasts longer than a sundolphin"

Great ideas
These are some great ideas for using the remains.

If I had a hunting shack with antlers and pelts and rattlesnake skins hung on the exterior, it’d be fun to mount it up on the wall like a hunter’s trophy.

Now I’m wishing I hadn’t left it in that trash can at the takeout.

Shouldn’t you be worrying about scratches in your gelcoat?

Scratches are only superficial on a quality kayak.

Weather forecaster…
Hang both parts of kayak on a rope, hanging down from tree limb, high enough to clear the ground.

If it’s wet; it will be wet outside.

If it’s snow covered; it snowed, or is snowing.

If it’s ice covered; it is pretty cold outside & slick.

If beads of ice are bouncing off the kayak; it’s hailing.

If it’s melted; it probably got struck by lightning.

If it is swaying back & forth in the wind; it’ pretty breezy.

If the kayak is at a 90 degree angle from ground; you may be in a tornado.

Your neighbors will love it, and want one of their own. Maybe?


If it’s gone… Hurricane

recycle it
Rotomolded kayaks are made of HDPE which is recyclable. Cut the kayak up in pieces and put it in a recycling bin.

My guess is the cause of the failure was that the it was 40 years old. Was it faded? Even if you stored it indoors the previous owner may not have and ultraviolet light is pretty hard on plastic.