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Old 05-21-2010   #1
smauk2's Avatar
Near water (hopefully), Colorado
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 770
When buying a used whitewater kayak I should look for?

I know what general type of boat I want. I am more curious as to what I should look for regarding damage. If I could get some general advice on what to lookout for that would be awesome. As far as I know patches and cracks are obvious red flags but specifics are important.

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Old 05-21-2010   #2
kayakfreakus's Avatar
Steamboat, Colorado
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Posts: 887
I would also press on the hull in all areas, check for any soft spots. Also check the condition of the outfitting.

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Old 05-21-2010   #3
Jenks, Oklahoma
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,407

scratches are ok, big deep gouges can be bad. And, overtime might lead to more folding damage.

light scratches on outside are generally ok, scratches on the inside are usually not good

most kayaks given decent care will last a long time.

I am still paddling a 1996 Dagger RPM Max with a lot of river miles and one front pin and it still paddles like new. The entire front bow to past the bulkhead was bent in to the center foam on a Selway pin. Stayed that way for a couple weeks. Had the boat in the hot sun on the driveway pavement for a couple hours. took out the front foam and bulkhead and gave a couple kicks from the inside and it popped out, no visible indications of damage.

Bottom line, there may be a few serious hard core creekers running low water gnar who crack or damage modern plastic, but for most of us a kayak can last for decades.
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Old 05-21-2010   #4
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Westminster, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2002
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Look for Faded color a good sign the boat was stored out in the open. This can cause the soft spots that Freakus was talking about, It also degrades the plastic and makes it brittle. Some oil canning is pretty normal with most boats(the indention under the seat when you roll the boat over and look at the hull). Usually a big debate on weather you would notice any effect from this I think it would have to be pretty bad to effet the perfomance of a boat! Make sure if it's missing parts that they are available or easily made. Look the boat up online and find out as much as you can about it if you can't find it ask you will get all the opinions you need to make a decision. both have good boat review sections. Good luck and welcome to the addiction!
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Old 05-21-2010   #5
Golden, Colorado
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 831
Check the bottom for oil-canning. That is the term for when the original bottom contour becomes concave or wavy from repeated flexing against rocks.

There are plenty of used boats without oil-canning so I wouldn't buy one that has it unless it was dirt cheap.

Try to find someone who got scared and quit... they usually don't have much wear on their gear
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Old 05-21-2010   #6
Foco/Red Cliff (Vail), Colorado
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 66
I hate to pimp my boat in the open here... but I'm going to!

I have a Pyranha Sub-7 (I think? Sub-8?) that I am about to get rid of. I have a nice paddles (1 piece) as well as a new skirt and dry jacket. the helmet and life jacket I am keeping for rafting. I really enjoy kayaking but I just don't get out enough. The boat has been stored inside. Let me know if you are interested. I am in Fort Collins and Vail (weekends).

I would prefer to be able to get out enough but I am just too busy in the summer and my gear is sitting.
I bough the boat used for $400, I think I paid $250 for the paddle, $125 for the skirt and over $250 for the dry-jacket. Obviously I don't expect to get it all back. I would probably let it all go for $600 (I dunno).
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Old 05-25-2010   #7
cancoolers, cancoolers
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Originally Posted by kayakfreakus View Post
I would also press on the hull in all areas, check for any soft spots. Also check the condition of the outfitting.
yes, that is better

Can coolers
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Old 05-25-2010   #8
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Weyers Cave, Virginia
Paddling Since: 2001
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 78
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If buying used:

Make sure that all hardware is still present(bolts washers o-rings screws) and not stripped out. Put loctite on all fasteners after you get your boat dialed in.

Look out for deformation around the seat\brace areas and any place that connects to the seat\brace. This comes in the form of lines of white in dark plastics...

Did the previous owner wash his or her feet regularly before embarking?
Does the foot well have gouges and look as if sandpaper was applied to it?
If yes then you also need to look at the wear from the sandy feet in all the outfitting and hardware on the inside of craft..

Ask the owner how they store a kayak; if its anything other than upright and out of the sun, proceed with caution...

Also remember a boat that was outfitted using hot glue is way better than dealing with a boat outfitted using a can or two of h2glue or some variant.

thatss all i got to say....
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Old 05-26-2010   #9
smauk2's Avatar
Near water (hopefully), Colorado
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Posts: 770
Thanks for the information everyone I picked up a dagger GT 8.1 in good condition for 300, a bit of a drive but awesome deal.

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