This is where a few years of experience kicked in. Using a product like 3m Protection Film on the area of your kayak that will see the most damage over the years is a good idea. Up until now, I’ve always been a bit late with the film. I’ve installed it AFTER the damage was done. This time I’m finally getting ahead of the ball.
On my kayak, the trouble spots are the top of the deck right in front of the combing, the right side of the hull near the cockpit, under the front bungies, and on the back deck behind the combing. The wear and tear come mostly from my spare paddle, the contact tow’s clips and on the back, it’s the rescues.. all the rescues….
I’d suggest installing the paint protection film the next time you replace your deck lines. If you’ve got a brand new kayak, you may just have to make the sacrifice and replace them anyway. It’s a total pain, if not impossible to work around the lines and bungie. Just cut the cord. Besides now is a good time to replace that standard deck line with reflective cording!
There are a lot of videos and how-to guides out there so I’m not going to get too deep into how to install the protection film. What I can tell you from my experience is to take time to use the 2 spray bottle (One soap/one isopropyl alcohol mix) & squeegee method. You can just stick the film on, but it’s nearly impossible to get right the first time or get the air bubbles out. Also cut all corners to curves if possible. Over the years sharp corners can slowly get caught and lift. Rounding the corners in my experience keeps the film firmly in place for years. Oh, and you can do it all nice and pretty… or fast.. I’m generally a “fast over perfect” person myself!
So, many of you know I have a sticker fetish! I’ve held on to some of my stickers for a few years now until I finally got a kayak I was going to keep for a while. There are actually 2 ways to protect stickers on your kayak. The first, is to simply put them under your protective film as I did here. They are sealed away from water and have UV protection. Another option would be to spray the stickers with a clear acrylic sealer, allowing it to dry (doing multiple coats), then to attach them to your kayak. When possible I’d go for placing them under the 3m film.
In the end, your kayak is going to get beat up no matter what you do. It’s not a bad thing. Personally I love and respect trashed kayaks. On the other hand, there are some areas of your boat that seem to get totally trashed before their time. For those spots the 3M protective film is the obvious solution.