When I got hold of my Cetus, I was lucky in that it came fitted with a keel strip in place as it was originally destined to be a demo boat. For those paddler’s ordering a new boat, a keel strip is usually an optional extra that can be specified at the time of ordering. However, there are a couple of different options available for retro-fitting a keel strip to a current boat.
Why A Keel Strip?
There are two reasons to fit a Keel Strip. The most common reason is to protect the hull of the kayak, particularly when paddling in rocky conditions and particularly for beach landings or when having to drag a kayak up a beach. Whilst a keel strip only covers a thin strip along the actual keel, it is this part of the hull that tends to attract the most damage and wear.
The other, less common option, is to strengthen the hull on a thinly laid up fibreglass kayak. If being used for this purpose only, it is felt to be better to install a keel strip inside the boat rather than on the outside.
It is possible to return boats to the manufacturer for a retro-fitting or find local fibreglass repair shops who will undertake the work. P&H for example will retro-fit a keel strip to boats if booked in.
The other option available is to go the DIY route. Until relatively recently, this involved working with fibreglass or similar. However, I’ve recently become aware of a relatively new product called Eazy Keel which is a self adhesive tape system for adding a keel strip. This video demonstrates the application of an Eazy Keel on a Sea Kayak.
For those interested in adding a keel strip to their sea kayaks, I have collated a few articles/links to information and discussions which may be of use.
Sea Kayaker Magazine Article – A useful and detailed article from Sea Kayaker Magazine.
Atlantic Tours Article – Another detailed article from Atlantic Tours.
Keel Eazy Keel Strip Article – Bloyd Peshkin – A nice article outlining use of the Eazy Keel system for adding a Keel Strip.
If you have any other useful links or advice please use the comments to add your links or thoughts.