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How strong is a skin-on-frame sea kayak? (Destructive testing)

How strong is a skin-on-frame sea kayak? (Destructive testing) from Baby Seal Films on Vimeo.


Katya Palladina was given this skin-on-frame kayak by Phoxx Ekcs after he completed his expedition along the north coast of Vancouver Island in 2011. After 7 years of regular use, it's time to replace the skin and do some minor repairs. This gave us an opportunity to conduct some destructive testing.

We tested the strength of a the nylon fabric skin prior to completely removing it in preparation for re-skinning. It resists blunt force very well but can be punctured by a sharp point. Typically when this happens it's because of dragging against oyster shells or large barnacles. The skin comes off easily from the wooden frame after softening the resin with a heat gun.

This kayak was designed by Kiliii Yu of Seawolf Kayak and built by primitive skills expert Phoxx Ekcs.

It doesn't seem right to destroy this kayak without a reference to the amazing journey Phoxx Ekcs took this kayak through. The full story can be found in our interview with Phoxx on YouTube:


PART 1 "Living Primitively"

PART 2 "The North Coast Trail"

PART 3 "No Limits, No Regrets"

PART 4 "My Most Dangerous Day on the Water"