What is Thermoformed Plastic?

I am new to this forum so first let me introduce myself. I am from Halifax, Nova Scotia and I am about to take the plunge and purchase my first kayak.

One of my options is the Riot Tour Lite 16 which is manufactured by thermoforming a sheet of ABS-acryllic. Their trade-mark name is “Cross Light”. Does anybody know anything about this? Is it the same as the polycarbonate plastic I have read about?

The Tour Lite 16 must be very new as I cannot find much on it on the web, so I would appreciate comments from anyone who has purchased one.

My main concerns are durability and repairability.



thermoformed plastic
Hi, Check out enlightened kayaks, listed in the boat section on this site. They have pictures of the process.


Also known as Eddyline’s “Carbonlite” and Perception’s “Airalite”. Thermoformed ABS is stiffer than generic rotomolded polyurethane and a lot less prone to warpage and looks like composites. weight range near fiberglass.

Downside-not as durable for bashing on rock as poly, and not near as easy to repair as fiberglass. also pricewise its very close to lower-priced fiberglass boats like Impex/Formula products and Seaward’s Discover line. My personal take on it-i dont see it being field repairable like fiberglass, but i do see it field-busted,unlike poly, so i wouldnt. i think great choice for a workout boat like perception’s Cadence/Rhythm that you won’t ever bang on rocks.

They say it’s easy to repair

You say it’s hard. So who is right?

(Field repair? Duck tape)

Thermoform . . . I like it
I have a Hurricane Aqua Sports Tracer which is a Thermoform boat. I like it a lot. It is light weight (46 lbs), strong and looks great. It can be repaired with superglue . . . That seem a lot easer to repair in the field that mixing catalyst and resin. Based on my experience with this material, I would say go for it.

made of Trylon, Hurricane Aquasports proprietary version of the thermoformed, vacubagged plastic. It looks like composite or glass, is stiff, and is tough. Friend of mine says he saw some dude try to get ready for the NBA playoffs by dribbling in at a concrete boat ramp from about 5’ up -did just fine (the boat, not the dribbler).

We think it’s great. Apparently, quite a few manufacturers do, too, with their own takes on Trylon being used for more models as time goes on.

But in truth, I hadn’t thought about a field repair for it -I have sealed a slicey gouge in a conventional poly boat with my cigar torch -bi=ut I guess I’ll have to bring along some cyanoacrylic along with the torch when Sally and I


-Frank in Miami

check the Archives
there have been many threads on these topic.

ABS Repair
The ABS thermoformed boats like Carbonlite (what a misleading marketing name that is) are easily repaired using a material known in the boating industry as Plexus. Plexus is an awesome material that both fills as well as creating a chemical bond to the materials being joined. joints and repairs made with Plexus are usually stronger than the materials being joined. Many high quality boats and kayaks use Plexus for hull/deck joints including QCC. Its expensive, but worth it to do a job right.

Plexus can be bought at WalMart, Home Depot, Lowes, etc…as Devcon High Strength Plastic Welder. It comes in a two-part syringe like epoxy adhesives. Squeeze it out, mix it well and spread smoothly into cracks that have been V’d open with a Dremel type tool.

Plexus/Devcon dries an amber yellow color. ABS/Acrylic boats may be painted using off-the shelf spray paint. I recommend Krylon Fusion which is formulated specifically for painting plastic.

ABS/Acrylic sheet is usually co-extruded with about 90% of its thickness ABS (hopefully virgin) along with about a 10% outer layer of acrylic for a high gloss finish and better scratch resistance. This stuff will crack on its own simply from changes in temperature (especially cold) or internal stress from manufacturing. Crack propogation is possible anywhere there is a hard corner or a drilled hole. A surface scratch that is flexed can also easily crack. I am surprised some big manufacturers are willing to take on the liability associated with making kayaks and canoes from this material.

I would only consider one of these boats if the inside is reinforced with glass/Kevlar/ or some other FRP composite. Composites will help keep the outer plastic from cracking or at least prevent a dangerous situation when the plastic does crack.

The jury is still out on kayaks built with thermoformed plastic. Make sure you understand the manufacturer’s warranty if you go with one of these boats. The plastic suppliers are very careful about taking on any liability for any product made with their materials. I don’t blame them with the variabilities of thermoforming and unknown long-term properties of plastics in this application.

NIce POst! thanks for the line on pexus
I appreciate it!

this material & process…
…is not all that new (Hurricane Aquasports has been using it for at least 6-7 years; Eddyline even longer).

You will note that while many will caution you about this “newfangled” material, how many years would they have you wait until it proves itself to their satisfaction?

You will note that more & more manufacturers are beginning to offer boats in this material, & those that began thermoform production just a few years ago are gradually using it in more models. Are they all throwing caution to the wind?

Some cite cost as the prime objection; I believe the cost will drift lower as the market becomes saturated with thermoform offerings.

I have heard the arguments about repairability and can’t quite make sense out of it…the repair process (which each manufacturer can supply) seems simple enough to me…certainly no more difficult than repairing other hull materials.

IMO, I suppose the only valid argument against this stuff is that it is not the ideal hull for rock gardens & shallow river runs. But for the isolated but inevitable impact with submerged objects, I’d pick thermoform over fiberglass.