waxing my new to me kayak

I just picked up a end of season rental kayak, an Old Town 138. I have been told by a couple of folks to wax the bottom either with kayak wax or surfboard wax. Any suggestions? Do or not do? Brands to use or not to?

I will be using it primarily on fairly calm lakes/ponds and maybe some slow moving streams/rivers.

Thanks in advance

Some waxes claim UV protection, but
who knows? Waxing the bottom helps only if you drag it on land or bull over gravel bars on the water.

I wouldn’t bother. I wax, but the stuff is expensive.

Thanks ezwater
My wife and I have been kayaking on several occasions and finally decided to get our own. The owner of the place I got it from said waxing would help it go faster in the water. I wasn’t really worried about uv protection. It’s a been around for a few seasons.

Thanks for the info

Waxing has only a tiny effect on speed
and it is likely to be negative.

We used to wet sand our rowing shells because a micro-roughened surface is believed by some to make for more speed.

Technique and conditioning are what really make for speed.

surfboard wax
Anyone who told you to use surfboard wax on a kayak does not know what he/she is talking about. Surfboard wax is used on the top deck of a board to add traction and grip for the surfer. It has nothing to do with glide or moving the board through the water. It would add drag if you put it on the hull of a kayak.

Agree, consensus among high performance displacement hulls discourage waxing.

However the prep such as a good cleaning and waxing along with caring for the boat should end up being a plus and it will look better. Any good auto wax will work fine.

Turtle Wax is what I use on my surfboards, surfskis, outrigger canoes and prone paddleboards. Sure, it may “re-formulate” in salt water after a short period of time, but it’s cheap and easy to re-apply. Without it, it takes a bit more effort to catch a wave and take the drop. It works for me and I miss fewer waves.

first things first
You say that the 138 is several years old and used a bit. The first thing you should be concerned with is the scraps and scratches on the bottom. Very carefully scape the worst of them with a razor blade, or very sharp knife to level the surface.

I hope you checked the keel line of the boat for straightness before you bought it. The 138 is a very capable recreational kayak and a surprisingly good surfing boat. However, if it is the model with the really big cockpit–keep it upright.

I don’t

– Last Updated: Oct-14-14 3:14 PM EST –

I have had lots of plastic (rotomolded) kayaks, and I don't bother doing anything to the hull besides paddle it and not worry about what I do (besides not dragging it on concrete). At most, I may trim off any hanging threads of plastic. No waxes or coating.

Scotch 303
The only coating I put on my poly boats is Scotch 303 UV protectant. I don’t see any point in waxing plastic. it makes sense on painted surfaces like cars to protect from surface scratches and make them shiny, but poly boats are not painted metal. Waxing will not make any boat faster. Unless you plan on using it as a snow toboggan.

Auto Wax on Wax off
I use auto wax. Easy on, Easy off, affordable, durable.

I find that a freshly waxed canoe/kayak does slide through the water better than non-waxed. I definately notice the difference after I wax

It’s true that waxing will not improve speed due to any change in surface properties. Contrary to remarks below, wax in itself will not reduce drag.

The hull just needs to be as smooth as possible to reduce drag. It’s true that any prep done prior to waxing that smooths the surface should help, at least a little.

If the wax actually fills in small pockmarks or grooves in the hull, that might be beneficial, but this effect would no doubt be miniscule.

303 a 3M or Scotch product?
I don’t think so…

303 provides a month or two of UV protection, and that’s about it.

I drove my kayak thru the car wash
and forgot not to use “clear coat protectant”.

does that count?

I do that too. But i have em vacuum out my cockpit also.

I asked them to spray mine with “new car
smell”. But once it got near the cockpit it went back into the spray can.

I use Meguires Yacht Wax on my decks.
Nothing on the hull since I waxed the hull on a Tarpon 140 which proceeded to help it slide off the racks onto the trunk of my wife’s car. Not a slick move.


– Last Updated: Oct-17-14 12:29 PM EST –

Jim, it was a VERY slick move... in the wrong direction!

As for our boats, we have a pair of 14-15 year-old OK Scuppers in our fleet of 6. A pressure wash maybe once every two years does a marvelous job of cleaning out the scratches (they are VERY 'experienced'...) and a 409 scrub brush scrub or two in-between, both followed by a 303 application, (2-3-4x/year regardless of cleanings), and they're doing well racked and stored in the shade of our mango tree under the palms in our Miami back yard. Indeed, cleaning and seasonal 303 applications do it for all our boats, be they poly, Trylon, or glass.

In a boat like the OP's, speed really isn't the REAL object, actually, but efficiency. That's a decent rec boat but no speedster.

Hope all's forgiven and well in Stringville, amigo, and that boat slides as well through the water as it does off you rack as you


-Frank in Miami

Tropical shade…
It is my firm belief that any time spent resting/relaxing under the shade of mango and palm trees will do far more good than any wax coating!

Go ahead
If you like to wax your boat, wax away . I enjoy keeping mine slick and watching it bead up. I look for wax that says it blocks uv. No matter, wax away.