A kayaking buddy of mine just got involved with Keel
Eazy. They are looking at developing a skid plate kit for whitewater canoes, and being the only whitewater canoer they know, they asked me to test their prototypes out. They plan on trying several different configurations.
Disclaimer: My only association with them is that I am testing these strips out. If it works they will set up my boats with the configuration I like best for free for letting them use my boats as guinea pigs. If I want more later I have to pay like everyone else!
You can read about Keel
Eazy at http://www.keeleazy.com
. Basically it is PVC strips that have a heat activated adhesive on one side. The glue sticks to fiberglass, kevlar, ABS, polyethylene, and, at least initially, royalex. The idea is that it provides abrasion protection to the hull material.
I went to their shop today and they put it on my Probe and Caption. The installation took less than 20 minutes per boat, and they were ready to paddle immediately (although I wasn't!). The heat used to prep the glue was similar to what you would use to activate vynabond type glues.
They put 3" wide strips on the bows, and 4" wide ones on the sterns. The Probe had regular strips installed, and the Caption had padded strips (basically these had 2" strips glued on under the 4 or 3" strips). They are also working on a third option where a rubber strip is substituted for the 2" strip to offer additional padding.
Here are my initial impressions:
1. It offers no additional structural support.
2. It is easy to install.
3. It seems pretty firmly attached the boat.
4. The "padded" strips seem like they will offer additional impact protection over the unpadded strips.
5. They had some test strips on PE whitewater kayaks. The boats had been used since they put them on and they didn't look like they were going anywhere anytime soon.
Time will tell how these things fair. I'll post the results good or bad. What impressed me is that they seem willing to develop something that will work.
Here are some pics of the strips on my boats: [url]
http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set= ... dd2cb1a8ab
I can think of a ton of applications for this if it sticks to royalex in a usable way, but to me the most interesting thing is that it sticks to PE. I think I may have talked them into seeing if it bonds to PE well enough to act as a base so that you can glue in D-rings to outfit C1, and put straps in boats like the L'edge.