With regards to making repairs to the hull sections, it is possible to repair the plastic if it becomes damaged by one of these two methods.
- Put 16oz or so of water into part 3 and hold it up so the water ponds where the hole is and confirm the location of the water coming out. Mark that location with a piece of tape.
- Let the part dry completely. Set it out in the sun or inside a room until you are sure no water is left in any of the crevices.
- I would then try to open up the hole a bit by using a toothpick or a pointed pen or a tiny screw driver just to be sure the surrounding plastic is solid.
- Take the repair kit epoxy and force some into the hole from the outside, then completely fill the interior of the groove with the epoxy. I would go at least 1 1/2" on either side of the hole and completely fill all of the air spaces with the epoxy so the groove is full.
- Let that completely cure and test to be sure the leak is sealed.
2. For a gouge, you can melt the plastic and essentially weld it back together. If the damage is a hole in the plastic, cut a thin strip off of a flange on section 1 or 2 and use it to fill the hole by melting and welding into place with a soldering iron. Here's how to do that:
These types of repairs would typically only be made if the damage was severe and presented a functional problem with the kayak.
To make any repairs, even the ones just described, cosmetically perfect is a much more difficult process and requires a level of skill derived through instruction and much practice. The process is similar to auto body repairs in that it requires many of the same tools (sanders, orbital sanders, polishers, buffing wheels, etc.) as well as the knowledge of the properties of plastic and its inherent melting points. It is a fairly straight forward process to fill the gouge back in but to make it visually disappear is not as easy.
The best thing to do is to prevent or minimize damage rather than preparing to make repairs. You can do this by entering your kayak and launching with the kayak parallel to shore in a few inches of water rather then entering the kayak while it is on the shore or launch and sliding into the water. Also, you can be careful not to drag your kayak on the shore or across rocks, oyster beds, or hard obstructions in shallow water.
It is inevitable that some wear and tear will occur with use and this will not effect the performance of the kayak. The resin used in our kayaks is a very durable material that is specifically designed for the kayaking industry and has been being used for decades without issue.
Another characteristic of plastic is that it can be deformed by pressure and increased temperature. If you sit on a thin wall section it can cave in. If you were to strap a kayak to the roof of a car in hot summer sun, it can cave in. Plastic does however have a memory. If you remove the force that is deforming the shape of the plastic and you allow it to warm up, let's say by placing it in the hot sun, the plastic will tend to return to its original shape on its own. You can speed it along by pushing it back towards its original shape.
We occasionally sit on our Pakayaks when they are on shore, but we typically sit directly over one of the two bulkheads which offer support and prevent the hull from caving in.