Rob Casey is the owner of SUP school Salmon Bay Paddle in Seattle, co-founder for the PSUPA and is the author of two paddling guides.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Kayak Retrofit Update

In late summer, I asked my neighbor Todd, a Werner/Jackson pro kayak fisherman and kayak/sup repair guy, to cut the top off my $4k sea kayak.  Focused mainly on sup since 2010, I've been wanting to take the kayak out but haven't kept my eskimo rolling skills up to par.  Generally not an issue but I like rough water, so it's essential to have good self rescue skills. Unlike a SUP, you can't just jump back on a closed deck kayak - or at least I can't having long legs at 6'-5".

Long story, Todd agreed and the cockpit top was removed by the time we got back from dinner.  Todd  then steamed oak ribs and made a skeleton frame to lay inside the hull of the boat as a stiffener.  He then filled the remaining space with blow-in foam, then carved it out to fit the contours of my body for sitting.  Fiberglass and epoxy was added, then leash plus on the sides of the cockpit to attach thigh straps for control and rolling if needed.

I've tested the boat several times and have to say I'm having a blast.  I'm an open deck sort of guy whether on a SUP, wave ski, surf ski or kayak.  Next up is raising the cockpit below my knees to better separate out the water wells of the seat and feet. We carved out too much under my knees so since we won't be adding a scupper to remove water while underway, it's best to leave as little areas as possible for water to collect.  Then Todd will spray gel coat to protect the fiberglass and make it prettier (note gnarly fiberglass look now).

The boat did add weight with the blow foam and fiberglass.  Certainly the smartest way to do this is to create a mould of the seating area leaving the space underneath hollow or fill it with 1lb foam.  Or buy a whole new boat.  I didn't have the funds so this was our answer.  And shipping a performance sit on top sea kayak to the US from the manufacturers in South Africa and Australia would've cost more than retrofit.  Plus I like the Illusion hull.

Need kayak or SUP repairs? Contact Todd at Specialized Kayak, 206.229.3764

Almost done. Gel coat next.



Adding leash plugs for thigh straps

1 comment:

Canoe Sailor said...

I like how yours turned out. Making it hollow requires building a mold in the boat, then laying up the seat pan and removing the seat pan and mold. Then finally removing the seat pan from the mold and fiberglassing it back in. Mine took a long time and I have notgot the pump set up quite right.