Friday, April 29, 2011

Project Ouch!

How tough is that material?

I have heard a lot of mis-truths about thermoforming and the material that Eddyline calls Carbonlite. In a past blog I illustrate how easy Carbonlite is to repair. But how tough is it?

There are many types of abuse and each type has a different outcome on your kayak. Everyone says that a Poly boat is the toughest yet it is the worst for abrasion and UV damage (shape retention and longevity).

For 99% of Eddyline's customers, the current lay-up and material thickness does a great job of balancing the durability vs weight trade-off. Eddyline wanted to remove the light "weight" emphasis that is so important on the market and make a heavy duty version for impact zone paddling and rep abuse. Just how thick of a sheet material to use for impact zone abuse is the question at hand.

I've done most of the things you will see during this season's Project Ouch to my demo boats over the years. They hold up. I decided to have a special Samba made up just for me to abuse. If something does break we will turn it into a chance to learn about repair. Durability of thermoformed boats is just like any other material. How thick of a lay-up? What kind for reinforcements? What kind of abuse?

There is no "best" material but just tradeoffs. I love having a quiver of personal boats so I can choose the right tool for the job without any compromise. In my garage are boats of every material and they all hold up differently depending on the abuse.