Newbie on the river!

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Newbie on the river!

Post by Taffzorro » Wed Mar 07, 2018 2:33 pm

Finally I have got myself a kayak. It is old and second hand but I have been told it is riverworthy. However it does look quite tatty. It is very old (circa 1980s). I wanted to know where to start either to either rejuvenate it or get it river worthy. Some people have mentioned flotation bags and the seat looks like it could do with some padding. Any tips? Also should I just launch it and hope for the best? I have done a little bit of kayaking before and the river is mild where I live.

There is loads of second hand gear around for a beginner so I was wondering what I should aim for to get a taster.

Appreciate any help. Thanks


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Re: Newbie on the river!

Post by Danny_G » Mon Jul 16, 2018 4:41 pm

I think you could start by doing a good clean to it along with a polish so that it looks shiny again. On the other hand, I would also suggest you pad the seat as it might not be as comfortable as it looks when paddling long distance. You can enhance the look and practicability of it by adding a Kayak Kevlar Spray Deck. This will stop any water from getting inside the hull and keep your feet dry. You can also apply a layer of wax underneath but be careful which wax you use. Some of the waxes out there can actually slow down your kayak other than help it to gain more speed.
I hope this helps!

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Re: Newbie on the river!

Post by Taffzorro » Mon Jul 16, 2018 6:00 pm

Thanks so much for the advice. I have repaired the seat with a bot of epoxy resin and now need to give it a clean and polish. Definitely need some seat padding!

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Re: Newbie on the river!

Post by Jim » Tue Jul 17, 2018 1:08 pm

DO NOT get a kevlar spray deck as a newbie!
Kevlar spray decks are for extremely heavy whitewater where there is a chance of the spraydeck being pushed in by the water hitting it, they are extremely tight to get on and off and therefore for experts only.
For a beginner an adjustable nylon spraydeck is a much better (and significantly cheaper) option, once you are comfortable escaping upside down using a nylon spraydeck you might want to move to a basic neoprene type, but not neoprene and kevlar.

Difficult to tell exactly what kind of boat it is from a partial photo (although there will be someone who can ID it from the distinctive cockpit moulding) but it should be OK on easy rivers.

Look inside and see what buoyancy it has. If there are foam pillars glued or wedged in that is a good start (they also support the deck), but be wary if they are polystyrene (will suddenly fall apart) or if the boat has been filled with expanding foam (not waterproof, in the long term it can soak up water and make the boat heavier). Foam pillars will keep the boat just afloat if you come out of it, but it will be hard to recover and empty so it is always worth filling any extra space with floatation bags (and canoe/kayak shop will have some) to make it float higher.

Also check out the foot rest, ideally it will be a full plate or bulkhead, and adjustable (in which case it will hide the bow float bags). If not a full plate, adjutable footpegs would be the next preference, either the aluminium ones you have to fold towards you and slide up and down the track (will be stiff, might take a lot of WD40 to get moving - WD40 is good on aluminium), or aluminium and plastic where you squeeeze a lever to release a pin and slide them along the track, or all plastic with a lever to slide them along the track. Given the age of the boat you maywell find that the footrest is just a piece of wooden or aluminium dowel, the smart version was able to pivot at one end (bolt) and slotted into fitting on the other so that if your feet slide past it will swing out af the way as you try to wriggle back out - called a swing out failsafe footrest, but they are usually jammed up and don't swing out so far from failsafe. If there is no footrest, or a jammed up dowel type, I would reccommend upgrading to adjustable footpegs (bolt the track through the side of the hull) for maximum flexibility and easy installation.

The seat is probably OK, but will have been moulded to fit someone who may have a different shaped bottom to you - if it is too narrow or digs into the backs of your legs you may need to cut it out and replace it (leave a flange to bolt a new seat to), if it is OK a layer of karrimat might make it comfortable for you. It is clearly the type that hands from the cockpit rim (moulded with it originally) - do not rely on it just hanging, pack under it and beside it with minicell foam to stop it moving around. If you decide to replace it you can sometimes find entire foam seats which you can glue to the bottom of the boat (use contact adhesive to glue foam and karrimat in place), or you can buy composite seats for slalom and wild water racing canoes from people who supply those boats (distributors rather than shops - trying them to find right size may be difficult). Typically a new slalom seat will have side flanges to bolt to the cockpit flanges (i.e. the ones you leave from the old seat), and a flange along the front that you can use some epoxy resin and glass or kevlar tape to stick it to the bottom of the boat too, also it is usual to run a couple of bits of kevlar tape from the back of the seat down to the bottom of the boat to help stabilise it too.

If you really want to clean and polish it, try a rubbing compound like Farecla or T-cut. I wouldn't bother to wax it, just polish it. If you are really fussy you can wet sand scratches first - start at P400 and go finer before finishing with a polishing compound.

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