Wash your kayak with fresh water
The kayak should be washed inside and out with fresh water after every use. Rinsing off sea water will help preserve metal parts.
Damage and gelcoat scratches
Deep scratches through the gelcoat exposing laminate should be repaired. Small star cracks, gelcoat scratches and chips are a fact of life in a composite kayak, and do not pose a threat to your kayak’s lifespan. See Gelcoat repairs.
Care of deck lines and toggles
Keep deck lines taught and inspect all ropes for wear and tear regularly. Pay special attention to the condition of toggle ropes as they usually take the strain of carrying and towing, replace them when they begin to show wear.
Storing my sea kayak
If you store your kayak outside, keep it up-side-down. This keeps the kayak dry and in the long term is best for your kayak by slowing down water ingress into the laminate. Remove hatch covers if you store long term.
Keep the kayak out of direct sunlight to best preserve the deck elastics and ropes, also over a period of time gelcoat pigment will fade due to the UV light.
If you cover the kayak with a tarp or similar, note that trapping moisture between the tarp and the kayak’s gelcoat may lead to osmosis of the gelcoat (little bubbles and blisters). Only use a tarp for short periods, remove and dry both kayak and tarp if condensation builds up under the cover. Ideally, hang the tarp so to prevent it touching the kayak, this prevents condensation and chafing of gelcoat.
The best solution to storing your kayak is to keep it inside a garage or shed. This generally reduces moisture in and around the kayak, and shades it from UV light.
If the kayak is kept on the floor, use sculpted pieces of medium density foam, e.g. Ethafoam, as cradles in which to sit the kayak. The cradles should be positioned directly under the front and back bulkheads to avoid any pressure distortion on the hull. If the kayak is hung from the roof in strops, position the strops onto the bulkheads, again to minimise pressure distortion. If a pair of padded trestles or a padded wall mounted rack is used to store the kayak, place the inverted kayak on the trestles/rack resting on its front and rear hatch rims (remove hatch covers first). Storing your kayak on the hatch rims prevents shape deformation.
Transporting my kayak
The minimum requirement to transporting your kayak by car is a padded roofrack and webbing straps. This is the least secure way of carrying the kayak as the kayak is prone to shifting due to side-winds, and bow and stern ties are advisable. The kayak is prone to damage when strapped to a bare roofrack as the load will be placed on two relatively small pressure points on the kayak, and this may cause star cracking or worse, especially if it rests on a lighter deck section or hull section away from the bulkheads.
A padded pair of upright bars bolted to the roofrack help by stabilising the kayak in side winds, though not necessarily from damage if it sits on a point away from the bulkheads. This may be lessened by resting the kayak on its side.
A better solution is to sit the kayak in V or J shape cradles. These cradles stop the kayak moving in side winds, and maximise the contact pressure point areas, especially if the cradles line up with the bulkheads. For cars with roof bars close together, bow and stern ties are advisable. If the bow and stern are tied down through the toggle ropes, check the condition of the toggle ropes after every use as this does greatly increase the rope wear. Cradles are also better for keeping two or more boats apart, and prevent rubbing and chafing, which may be severe if the boats are covered in sand.
What is gelcoat and why it needs repairing
Gelcoat is the very outer layer of the kayak. Gelcoat scratches and chips are a fact of life in a composite kayak, and they do not pose a threat to your kayak’s lifespan. To minimise any damage follow the guidance on how to Care for your composite sea kayak.
For repairs we recommend topcoat. Topcoat is gelcoat with a wax solution added, the wax will allow the surface to harden making it easier to sand.
The hardest part of a repair to the surface of a composite kayak is matching the colour. Professionals who do gelcoat repairs daily still have difficulty getting a perfect match. Even “factory” colours don’t match exactly after a boat has been exposed to sunlight (UV).
White has the significant advantage of being fairly easy to match, and once a small repair is buffed out to a gloss, shading differences will be unnoticeable. Matching coloured decks is somewhat more challenging. Start with the closest RAL shade and fine tune with the relevant pigments.
The first step is to create an area of gelcoat on the boat that is not faded and which can be used as a comparison when mixing the pigments. Use a sanding block with 1200 grade wet-or-dry (waterproof abrasive paper) with water to rub away a small test area of faded gelcoat and expose the original gelcoat colour beneath.
Put a measured amount of gelcoat into a mixing cup and add the pigment tints a drop at a time. Keep track of the number of drops of each tint. When the color looks close in the cup, touch a drop of the mix onto the hull. Make required adjustments until you are satisfied with the match – don’t expect perfection – then write down the formula so you can duplicate it for a future mix. When you are satisfied with the colour match, wipe away all of the test drops with acetone.
Always colour gelcoat before you add the catalyst.
Gelcoat colours for Tiderace sea kayaks – 2008-2017
Tiderace Customer Warranty
Tiderace warrants for two years from the date of retail purchase all kayaks to be free from defects in materials and workmanship only. This warranty applies to the original owner for purchases made directly from an authorised Tiderace dealer. The warranty is not transferable as warranty does not apply to second hand kayaks. Tiderace does not warrant that the kayak is unbreakable. Your original invoice is your proof of purchase.
If damage is due to a material or manufacturing defect, Tiderace will repair or replace all or any parts of the kayak, at Tiderace’s discretion. Tiderace reserves the right to determine if a product will be covered under warranty.
We will work with you through the dealer who sold you the kayak. To pursue a customer warranty claim, contact the dealer as they are best placed to advise if you have grounds for a claim.
You will be asked to provide the dealer with the following information: