Hank McComas


RE: Wood vs. Plastic/Fiberglass Kayak

Some of the most beautiful kayaks I have ever seen are artistic creations made of wood. Wood is warm, beautiful material that speaks to the heart of its owner and those who admire such craftsmanship.

Wood is light, sufficiently strong material. It is easy to repair minor damage, although harder to repair for major damage than fiberglass. Kevlar is harder to repair for the home gamer than wood. Plastic is utilitarian. Neither beautiful or warm at can be abused more than any other material. Wood requires the designs of the kayak to be a little simpler and so speacial features of hull design are often impossible.

Are you a candidate for a wood kayak? What is your relationship with your car? Are you proud of the way it looks, like to wax it, keep it shined up, like to work on it yourself? Then you may be a candidate for a wood kayak.

To pursue the car analogy I would say that a Kevlar kayak is like a Farrari - high performance, exotic looking, that needs to be babied, treated gently and cared for meticulously. You like to be seen in it as it you tour around. But man they are light and can get down the road.

A wood kayak is like a classic sports car, like an Austin Healy. It has warmth, character, history. People will admire it and recognize the spirit and feeling of ownership of something special. You better be able to work on it yourself as it will require you to do so fairly frequently.

A fiberglass kayak is a Toyota. Good solid utilitarian respectable looking not flashy but good enough to make you want to park away from the closest parking spots at Target to avoid a door ding.

A plastic kayak is like an old beater than runs well and you just don't care about how it looks as long or what happens to it as long as it keeps getting you there.

If you are looking for a wood kayak look at Chesapeake Light Craft here in Annapolis Maryland. A wide range of excellent kits.