How To Fix A Hole In A Kayak

Kayaking may be a word that brings to mind images of orange canoes sailing down foamy rapids or kayakers gliding across the surface of a glassy lake. But did you know that kayaking can also be extremely beneficial to your physical and mental health?

Not only does the sport get you to experience the great outdoors, but it can also build muscle and expose you to some much-needed vitamin D. 

However, this does not mean that kayaking does not come with its various setbacks, as the pastime can be very dangerous, especially when your kayak does not meet the proper safety requirements.

How To Fix A Hole In A Kayak

After all, if your kayak has a hole in it, there is no guarantee that it will be safe to enter the water again, which can make kayaking difficult or impossible. So if you have a hole in your kayak, what can you do to fix the problem? 

In this article, we are going to teach you how you can fix a hole in your kayak, as well as providing detailed information regarding the various tools and materials you will need to get the job done.

So if you want to know how you can make your kayak hole-free and water-ready, then we have everything you need to know. 

What You Will Need

Before you can begin to fix the hole in your kayak, there are a few steps that need to be completed first. In the list below, we have outlined the various tools and materials you will need to properly fix your kayak: 

  • A Patch (this is a piece of plastic that you will use to fill in the hole, which you can obtain from another kayak you are no longer using. However, if you do not have another kayak, then plastic from a 50-gallon blue drum will suffice.) 
  • Gloves
  • Heat Gun (If you do not have a heat gun then you can use a blow torch instead. However, we do not recommend this as it can make fixing your kayak more difficult.)
  • A Water Bottle (this may sound random but we promise you need one – for safety reasons) 
  • A Large Spoon or Paint Knife (preferably metal) 
  • A Pair of Pliers

Now that you know what tools you are using, let’s take a look at how you can fix the hole…

Step One: Prep The Kayak 

To begin the fixing process, you will first need to prep your kayak for the work that is ahead. You can start this process by taking some sandpaper and smoothing down the edges around the hole.

If you want to make this process move faster, then you can also use a grinder or similar power tool (personally that’s what we would recommend). 

You should also then prep the patch of plastic you are using, which can be done by sanding down the side of the patch that will eventually be stuck to the boat. 

If the hole is situated near any rigging or features of the kayak, then you will need to remove them. For example, if the hole is on the side, then you will probably need to remove the seat and paddle holder to gain accessibility. 

Step Two: Attach The Patch 

This is arguably the hardest part of the fixing process, which means you will probably need some assistance to make sure that the job is done correctly. We have outlined how to complete this step in the following instructions: 

  1. Take your gloves and put them on – this will keep your hands safe. 
  1. Take the heat gun and turn it on. 
  1. Take the pliers and use them to pick up the patch – remember to hold it from the corner. 
  1. Take the heat gun and use it to melt the patch until it has taken on a soft and dropping consistency – just make sure that you don’t burn a hole right through it. 
  1. Take the heat gun and gently sweep it across the edges of the hole, until the plastic takes on a different hue – typically, the plastic will turn yellow or white. 
  1. Make sure that when applying the heat gun to the whole, you are not staying in one area – for this could burn your kayak and cause more severe damage. 
  1. When both the boat and patch are hot and have taken on a sticky and melty consistency, you will have a small window of time to press the patch to the hole – make sure to wear gloves when doing this as the plastic will be hot. 
  1. When the patch has fused to the hole you can let it go. 

Step Three: Smoothing The Fix 

When you have successfully attached the patch to the hole, you will probably notice how messy and uneven it will look. This is completely normal and can be fixed by smoothing down the area using your spoon or paint knife. We have outlined the stages of this process in the following instructions: 

  1. Take your heat gun and large spoon (or paint knife)
  1. Take your heat gun and sweep it over the edges of the patch, to make sure that they have successfully fused with the boat – if they haven’t, use the heat gun to make the edges hot and then press them to the edges of the hole using your gloved hands. 
  1. To begin the smoothing process, take your heat gun and apply it to a small area of the patch (4 square inches) – during this step you will need to make sure that you do not burn the area you have chosen. 
  1. When the plastic is workable, use your spoon to sweep the plastic onto the sides of the boat – for this process, you will need to work quickly, as the plastic will begin to cool the moment the heat gun has been removed.
  1. It is also important that you do not press too hard with the spoon, or you should risk it becoming stuck to the plastic – we recommend frequently wiping the spoon to avoid this. 
  1. Work on the patch in small sections until you are happy with the overall smoothness – you should never try to heat a large section as it will dry too quickly. 
  1. If you are having trouble accessing the patch, then you can prop the kayak on some cinder blocks or sawhorses. 

The Finishing Touches 

Now that the patch has been applied and finished, you will need to make sure that it is both waterproof and user-ready. You can do this by propping the kayak on some sawhorses and then pouring water into the boat’s interior.

If you see drops leaking from the patch, then you will need to grab the heat gun and work on the area until it has been fully sealed. 

After you have done this and the patch is complete, you will need to sand the patch until it is smooth and indistinguishable from the rest of the kayak. When this has been completed, you can grab your paddle and hit the water – for your kayak will be fixed and ready!