Introduction to Composite boatbuilding

Do you sometimes feel like a cantankerous old man, shaking his fist at the kayak industry? “I could totally build a better playboat than that!” you might yell from your porch, or perhaps “What I want to paddle is the gliss monkey hull with the edges of a skunk rocker!” Are you fed up enough to finally do something? Are you ready to put your money where your mouth is? Well, in that case, prepare for a mind-blowing introduction to the incredible world of homemade composite kayaks.

Exact same idea, but for boat design versus boating experience. I'm going to build a Stinger with the rocker profile of the Jed and the bow of a Scud! From SMBC

Personally I started building custom composite boats because I am too tall to fit in production boats. I fit in the 2010 Monstar, but it wasn’t comfortable. I also fit in the Fluid Element, but that’s… a  very special case. I needed something short but big. I saw a few other pro paddlers building their own boats, and I figured, hey - how hard can it be?

Oh, looking back on those foolish days of my youth, those two or three long years ago.

The Slug, my first homemade boat.

In a series of articles on this blog, I will try to express and pass on the meager amount of misinformed experience that I have accumulated. I make no claim to be a professional. I imagine a lot of my advice will, in fact, be completely wrong. However, if I could build a boat or two with only this much knowledge, imagine how well you could do! Really, the beautiful thing about composites is that you can produce something with only a moderate amount of experience and effort. More effort and experience can eventually produce a great work of art like a Murky Waters boat, or a Featherweight. But watching youtube videos and working in your garage can get you something that floats. (Disclaimer: some of my boats don’t float.) Some of these articles will be instructional, but some will merely recount what I did and why.

The Articles:

1: Composite boat repair for the clueless: In which I smash open my bow and ALSO MY MIND! And begin learning about composites.

2: Building the Slug: In which I do battle with a measuring tape and some insulation foam and build my first boat.

Stay tuned for more.


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