Cobra Kayak Care
Cobra kayaks are made of high density polythene (HDPE) which is an extremely robust material. Cobra kayaks require a low level of maintenance.
Good practice is apply UV protection at the beginning and end of the paddling season after it is clean and dry.
Dragging a kayak on the ground, especially across rocks and lava areas will weaken the material or create holes that will have to be repaired. Carry the kayak, or use a kayak trolley. Avoid trolleys or carriers that attach to the Kayak by plugging into the scupper holes. this may cause scupper damage.
There are several ways to properly store your kayak –
- Firstly drain water by remover the bung (drain plug). Do not leave equipment in the hull for long periods.
- Upside down – draped with a tarp that allows air to flow into the inside area – and raise it off the ground.
- If you have a plastic kayak – it’s best to store it on its edge, on carpet, to protect the hull formation. Alternatively upside down and supported on each side of the deck.
- Use a kayak cover to protect from direct sunlight.
- Manufactured stands are also available.
In the instance of restoring a depressed deck, say from storage, you can use the sun to your advantage. You can prop up the depressed deck on the inside to the desired level and leave it in the sun for a day with a blag polythene bag over the affected area. Most often, depending on the severity of damage, this method will take care of it by “remolding” the deck shape back in place by the next day.
Any time you store your kayak and equipment for a long period, you will want to do a few basic things. Simple maintenance is especially important if you are kayaking in salt water. Salt crystallizes into welds, screws, pulleys. Use a penetrating oil to protect surfaces
Unload any and all loose gear, hatch covers, straps, seat, etc. and put them aside. Undo the plug and drain any standing water. Hose out the loose dirt and drain it out. Next thoroughly wipe the inside and hose it out again. Let your kayak thoroughly dry upside down and off the ground.
Support it and clean the bottom. Make sure you clean areas that bugs like to nest – inside each end and in the deck hatch areas.
Clean the loose gear, paddle, hatch covers, straps, seat and any other components that were removed from the kayak. Use warm sudsy water (no bleach as this will burn the fibres), use only a mild detergent – rinse then thoroughly air dry the items.
While going over your kayak for a cleaning, check any attached parts – like the deck cords, toggle handles and bulkheads – take note of any frayed cords and fix or replace them. If you have a two-piece paddle – take it apart – wash and rise it too – then allow to thoroughly dry.
If you have a rudder system – sponge off and check all the control lines and moving parts in between seasons. Clean away all dirt and tighten bolts and screws as necessary. The use of some penetrating oil or other kind of corrosion block product on metal joints or fittings (moving parts) – this will keep them in good shape.
In addition to damage that sun can do – another important threat to kayaks is stress on the hull formation or decks. Particularly plastic kayaks will take the shape of what they are sitting on over a long period of time. That’s why it’s not advisable to leave your kayak on top of your car for days at a time. Some depressions and scratched areas can be smoothed by carefully using a hair dryer. Keep the hair dryer moving and at a distance to avoid melting or thinning the plastic.
Kayak care includes cleaning and checking your life jacket also. Make sure to follow the manufacturers’ label (remember to save this when purchasing) for instructions for your particular PFD. Check the straps, zippers(s) and any clips for damage. Do not put your PFD in the washer or dryer, this could damage it. Also – let it thoroughly air dry outside before putting it away for the winter. Do not store it in plastic – this traps moisture and creates mould.
Remove your roof rack in the off-season. It will also need to be cleaned and checked to ensure that it is ready for the next paddling season.