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Waxing your kayak

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Does it help to wax your kayak? Does it boost speed, prolong life or increase the visual look?
Every paddler has his own look on the matter, but here are some objective findings.

First off, we should make a distinction between the upper deck and lower hull. The upper deck will never see water where as the lower hull is the exact opposite.

Will it boost speed?

We are talking about the lower hull here.
Removing obstacles will increase speed, like tape residue or damaged bumpers. These should have as little drag surface as possible, that’s why modern canoe polo kayaks have integrated bumpers. If there is some wear & tear, replace them, remove any leftover glue and stick a new one on your kayak, it will make a difference.

Waxing the hull however is another matter. Boat to water contact (normal sprint, no other player involved) will actually be slower when wax is applied. This was researched with speed boat racing and fiberglass hulls.
Uncovered hulls tend to have water stick to them which in turn acts as a tiny film that reduces drag when traveling on water. Water vs water drag is less than water vs wax drag.
When we are talking about duels and moving boats on top of other boats the wax will increase speed when contact is made on top of another kayak.

Life expectance

Maintaining your kayak will increase its lifetime. Rinsing, cleaning, polishing and waxing all add to this process. The upper deck is mostly subjected to UV light, which in turn can deteriorate the epoxy layer and eventually the carbon/kevlar construction.

Visual look

Waxing a kayak makes it look more shining and attractive. It will remove small visual cracks and put on a layer that shines.