Keel Eazy Keel Strip (by the foot)
Keel Eazy Keel Strip (by the foot)
If you have a glass kayak, we recommend adding KeelEazy. KeelEazy is a self-adhesive (peel and stick) 1/32" thick ABS plastic strip that provides an abrasion resistant surface. Compared to fiberglass keel strips, KeelEazy is more abrasion resistant, has beautiful clean edges that induce less drag and it adds less weight. The 2″ wide KeelEazy weighs only .6 ounces per foot. KeelEazy is an easier DIY project than a fiberglass keelstrip. With a heat gun, you can install KeelEazy on both ends of the keel in less than an hour. KeelEazy is $4/foot which works out to only $40 to apply 5' on each end of a kayak. We put Keel Easy on all our fiberglass rental kayaks, and it has more than paid for itself in saved time and money on repairs.
If you drag your boat over sand and pea gravel, fiberglass keel strips wear out just as fast as the original gel coat bottoms of composite kayaks. KeelEazy is much more abrasion resistant than fiberglass and gel coat, however nothing is tear resistant enough to drag over pavement (for that we sell wheels) or plow into sharp rocks. You could cover the full length of the kayak, but we don't recommend it. Most of the wear and tear is on the ends yet the middle of the boat is the hardest part to apply a keel strip and make it look good. Five feet of KeelEazy at each end will give you the most bang for the buck, and if you do gouge your kayak on cement or sharp rocks, replacing the keel strip on one end is quicker, easier, and cheaper than redoing a whole boat.
There are two kinds of KeelEazy. As the manufacturer puts it, "KeelEazy for plastic has a universal adhesive that adheres to materials such as ABS [thermo-formed], ... as well as fiberglass and Kevlar [i.e. gelcoat]." The other kind is called the "Composite" version because it only sticks to composite boats. "Plastic version is more malleable and will curve around acute angles better." This malleability is why we find the so called "Plastic" version with it's universal adhesive holds up longer on all kayaks -- fiberglass, Carbon/Kevlar, graphite, etc. So to make your life easier, we recommend and only sell the more malleable, universal, "Plastic" version.
The Plastic version will even work on roto-molded polyethylene kayaks if applied when the kayak is new - before the keel gets scratched and contaminated.
Tips: By warming it with a heat gun on low while pulling on it, KeelEazy will stretch and bend nicely around the compound curves at the bow and stern of most sea kayaks without wrinkles. However, for kayaks with really tight bends in the bow or stern we recommend trimming the KeelEazy strip down to about 1" width locally like an "hourglass" waist to prevent wrinkles (You can also trim the KeelEazy after using the kayak if wrinkles appear, but it's easier to trim before applying it). For skeg kayaks, after applying KeelEazy over the skeg box simply trim out the opening for the skeg with a utility knife.
Fiberglass kayaks should be prepped with acetone. Roto-molded polyethylene kayaks and thermo-formed kayaks should be prepped with alcohol only.
A razor blade, X-acto knife or new utility knife blade is necessary to separate the blue backing strip from the gray adhesive.
If needed, KeelEazy can be removed with a heat gun and cleaning up with alcohol and a plastic scraper blade. On composite kayaks (i.e. fiberglass and gelcoat) you can also use acetone, Coleman stove fuel, and "Goo Gone" to remove the last of the adhesive.