Wax on, Wax off

Just read a post about someone waxing their kayak on a Facebook thread…
How many of you do that? How Often? Would a quality carnuba wax for cars do just fine? Is it worth doing on a rotomold?!

No, It is useful if you paddle scum filled waters as cleaning is easier. Makes the boat slippery but paradoxically slows the boat.

I wax all of my boats with various brands of wax and if it slows them down, I don’t care, I like to keep them nice a shiny. I’ve also experimented with Rain-X and that probably works for the first 30 feet, or 30 seconds. I wonder how long silicone would last.

When I raced sailboats the top people would sand their hulls to increase laminar flow. Not sure how much it helps for kayaks but I sanded my kayak.
Now with a smaller but beautifully finished kayak I wax the whole boat with my auto wax which is a combo of carnauba and siliconizers.

I wax the decks of poly and composite boats with Mequires Yacht Wax.
I waxed a hull once and it slid off the rack while I was loading it. Dinged my wife’s car. Bad thing.

We wax our yaks with a good automotive wax with carnauba in it.
On the “making it go slower” -And all this time I thought it was age of the paddlers that made them go slower!

@JackL said:

On the “making it go slower” -And all this time I thought it was age of the paddlers that made them go slower!

Tis true. I add lightness to my road bikes to combat that age thing.

Looks like the “speed coatings” are pretty good at lightening one’s wallet, which may have a positive impact on speed. But I don’t see any empirical evidence, even here.

I’m going to continue to wax my kayaks, using a basic marine wax… I don’t know if it does anything good or bad, but the hull does feel so nice when it’s slippery smooth!

Wife uses Starbright polish waxer maybe twice a year. I use varnish. Scum sticks to her waterline but not mine.

If the wax has some uv barrier it is good for he deck.

What’s the physics behind waxing your kayak makes it go slower?

Very basic. Pour water on a car hood that needs waxing and it will sheet right off.
Now pour water on it after waxing and it will bead up and want to stay there.

Laminar flow…A slightly rougher hull will hold a layer of water close to the hull that the other water will slide over.

Thanks @grayhawk, one less thing to do! But I will wax the deck. :slight_smile:

This is one of the most logical (to me) summaries that I’ve found.


I wax my fiberglass '84 Nordkapp and '01 Greenlander Pro four time a year - just like my car. In fact I wax my boats whenever I wax my cars so I know they’ve been waxed. I researched the importance of waxing of my car and I assumed that waxing would help preserve the gelcoat of my boats. I use MEGUIAR’S Flagship Premium Marine Wax which states it protects against UV and removes light oxidation. I wax both the deck and hull since I have to look at the deck and the hull is in salt water 90% of the time. Perhaps a cheaper wax would suffice but it never hurts to use the “good” stuff. If you spend money on boats it’s worth spending a small amount of money and time to keep them looking good.
I’d rather paddle 0.001 mph slower than look at a dull, weather beaten boat. It takes a couple of hours and a six pack of beer (or two) a year but I figure if she’s good enough to carry you through a beautiful aquatic environment in style, she’s good enough to take care of.

On my '92 plastic sit-on-top Ocean Kayak Scupper (that I have for family and friends) I use 303 Protectant 4 times a year. Works great on the plastic parts of my car, too.

@TomL said:
This is one of the most logical (to me) summaries that I’ve found.


That’s a good one.
I use to coat the bottom of the hulls on my wooden kayaks with graphite powder mixed with epoxy and then sand to a slick finish, a real chore and I don’t think it matters that much. I would do the same to a racing catamaran including the dagger boards and rudders. On the cat the speeds were much higher and I think it helped.

All said and done I’d say wax everything and keep 'em pretty.

I wax my boats 2-3 times a year. I have had good luck with
3M marine ultra performance paste wax or Meguiars Premium Marine Wax.
I paddle weekly in saltwater so no wax is going to hold up for more than 2-3 months in summer.

Since the subject has come up, what is the recommended procedure when starting with a boat where the gelcoat is visibly oxidized? Rubbing my finger over it a few times takes most of it off. Will I be able to do this by hand or do 'I need a power buffer? Am I going to get myself into trouble with this? Do I need to use something prior to waxing that removes the oxidation?

I’ve used a rag and Meguiar’s M6732 Marine/RV One Step Compound to remove oxidation from my Nordkapp. Like most British boats, it has a thick gelcoat so I didn’t worry about removing some of it.

Another advantage to waxing is the opportunity to feel and closely inspect entire kayak for any areas requiring further maintenance or repair. I remove all deck lines and bungees when waxing and make sure hardware is snug back on and new lines as needed.

I Klasse my glass boat. Wax is old tech. https://www.autogeek.net/klasse.html?utm_campaign=8008446&utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_content=201591182612&utm_term=klasse&gclid=Cj0KCQjwov3nBRDFARIsANgsdoF_SXmfC_uMz6x-d5WOkP8JAtd-HZ7j_lcDR8mkpyjgnNiCG74KwbUaAgV9EALw_wcB