Jump to content

Kayak Tan Lines


Recommended Posts

The gelcoat on my all carbon QCC 700X kayak is fading. During half of the year in Florida it’s out being paddled about 4 hours almost every day. While not being used it’s stored on a small floating dock, usually covered with a tarp. But since I bought a Sunfish there’s no room for the tarp cover, at least as I designed the quick on/off tarp system.

Back home in New England I usually keep the QCC in the garage when I’m not using it (but I use it about four times per week). So it's still out in the sun a lot of the time.

I’m not too worried about the cosmetic look of the kayak. Nevertheless, I apply 303 two or three times each year (probably not nearly often enough).

Some questions:

1. Am I correct that the sun doesn’t damage the carbon fibers at all?
2. Is the faded gelcoat just a cosmetic problem? If so, I don’t really care that much.
3. But if the fading is more than just a cosmetic problem would auto paint spray solve the problem?
4. Any other ideas?

The attached pictures show:

1. Non-faded part of the deck; it’s usually covered with a mat to protect against fishing equipment.
2. Tan lines from under the hatch cover straps.
3. Kayak on floating dock with the tarp cover.
4. Kayak and Sunfish sharing the floating dock (sans tarp cover).




Link to comment
Share on other sites


Since this does not involve complex math equations I'll take a shot.

I would say the gel coat is the uv protection for the carbon fiber but not certain. Damage is cosmetic IMO.

I would not want to paint or clear coat any fiberglass production kayak or boat unless it was really nasty. I have used an automotive polishing/rubbing compound with an electric buffer and had good results with similar fading conditions. Some marks and stains will be so deep that you would need to use 700-800- 1000 grit paper and then polish it up with the electric buffer. Can be a lot of work with a 150$ buffer. Some boat or body shops could easily clean it up for a fee.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Big boats (sailboats, powerboats) use a seasonal application of marine wax (maybe more often in Florida) to protect gelcoat from UV fading. Since 303 will wash off in water, I'd recommend saving that for your rubber parts, and stick with a good marine paste wax to minimize gelcoat fading.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Paul and Nate.

Ironically, I always used Collinite 925 wax on my kayaks until I became obsessed with racing. Then I switched to 303 because I was told that it’s less hydrophobic (the hydrophobic property beads water and that increases frictional drag). I’m going to switch back to using a wax … I think the increased drag is negligible. Do you know whether Collinite 925 is a good wax choice (I still have half a bottle)?


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...