Lightweight Touring and Fishing Kayaks
Generally composite kayaks (fiberglass etc.) are lighter than roto-molded kayaks, and shorter kayaks like the Valley Gemini and CD Karla are inherently lighter than long kayaks. For a given size, thermo-formed kayaks are generally much lighter than a roto-molded polyethylene, sometimes even lighter than a fiberglass kayak and yet they cost less than a comparable fiberglass kayak. Thermo-formed kayaks are built from two sheets of ABS type plastic that is heated and vacuum molded then seamed together at the gunwale similar to assembling a fiberglass kayak. Thermo-formed kayaks share many of the good characteristics of composite (glass) kayaks: light weight, ridged, never warp, smooth, low drag, and hard shinny finish. The ABS plastic that TF kayaks are made from has better abrasion resistance than fiberglass, gelcoat, or polyethylene. So for most users thermo-formed kayaks have the best durability of all. However, thermo-formed kayaks have the poorest impact resistance and once cracked they are difficult to repair. So to quote one of our sales reps, "If you're paddling in conditions where you need a helmet, a thermo-formed kayak is not the best choice." But for the average kayaker exploring the Puget Sound and San Juan Islands you'll get years of trouble free paddling from one of these kayaks.