152 Lincolnville Ave.
Belfast, Maine 04915
207-338-6424
info@touringkayaks.com
   



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FAQ

Why Fiberglass?

Why NC Kayaks and QCC?

Why Water Walker?

And More.

207-338-6424

info@touringkayaks.com

Why Fiberglass?
One of the first decisions paddlers must make when buying a boat is whether to choose plastic or fiberglass. Here are some trade-offs to consider when making this decision:

Fiberglass kayaks weigh less.
Plastic (polyethylene) kayaks weigh more.
Fiberglass kayaks are more expensive.
Plastic kayaks are less expensive.
Fiberglass is less resistant to at least some types of impact damage than plastic (thus the use of plastic kayaks for whitewater). Contrary to what is commonly thought fiberglass is more resistant to scratches and is also easier to repair once scratched or damaged. (But somehow we care more about those scratches in fiberglass).
Plastic is more resistant to at least some types of impact damage. Plastic picks up scratches fairly easily and is more difficult to repair once scratched or damaged.
Fiberglass boats are more rigid & have finer lines, and thus move through the water more efficiently.
Plastic boats are less rigid & have more rounded lines, and thus move through the water less efficiently.
Fiberglass boats are prettier to look at.
Plastic boats are (alas) not as pretty to look at.
The hulls of fiberglass boats retain their original shape for the life of the boat. The hulls of plastic boats tend to become warped or distorted over time.
Fiberglass boats are more difficult to damage though leaving in the sun, tying down too tightly, or storing improperly.
Plastic boats are easier to damage through exposure to sunlight, tying down too tightly, or storing improperly.
Fiberglass boats last longer. Plastic boats do not have as long a life span..

Exceptions to each of the above comparisons do of course exist. The comparisons are intended to clarify the advantages of each material for those new to the sea kayak market.

And while some paddlers are very content with their plastic boats, a lot of people who initially buy plastic later move up to fiberglass. The great advantage of our boats is that the price point for some of these boats is not far above that of plastic.

And although plastic sea kayaks have improved considerably in the last ten years, they still cannot match fiberglass kayaks in terms of speed, responsiveness, and beauty. Let's face it, a big part of sea kayaking is the aesthetic experience of being out there, slipping almost effortlessly though the water. Plastic boats can be dependable and sturdy but they they can't compete with fiberglass sea kayaks in terms of providing those feelings of grace and exhilaration.

Why NC Kayaks and QCC?

We have carefully chosen lines of kayaks that each represent an outstanding balance of high quality and low price.

With most fiberglass sea kayaks now in the $2,200 - $2,800 range and full size plastic sea kayaks selling for more than $1,200, our glass sea kayaks start at around $1,500.

At the same time, our sea kayaks perform with the best. One mark of a high performance sea kayak is its ability to track straight without a rudder or skeg -- the designs of all the kayaks we sell ensure that they go where they are pointed. The problem with some other manufacturer's designs is that they track so well that they are difficult to turn -- and no fun to paddle along a meandering shoreline. The best boats track straight and turn well when put on a slight lean -- all our boats do this, as a test paddle will quickly reveal.

The full experience of sea kayaking involves becoming one with your boat enough so that you can control its direction with subtle shifts of the hips and knees, thus making a rudder unnecessary. For those interested in this kind of experience (which takes some -- but not a great deal of -- practice) a rudderless boat is an excellent choice. For those who want one for security or convenience, rudders are now available on all our boats as an option.
Why Water Walker?

Water Walker Sea Kayaks began as a backyard business devoted to helping people get out on the water in fun, safe, and affordable high performance boats. We now also offer custom guided tours of the waters of midcoast Maine, again with a mission of providing a highly personalized quality experience to our customers.
Direct Sales:

Markup is what happens when a product is passed from hand to hand to hand to hand before it is sold. And while markup is not necessarily a bad thing (people have to make a living), it does lead to higher prices.

In contrast to most kayaks on the market, our kayaks pass through very few hands on their way between the manufacturer and you. For example, QCC and NC kayaks are sold only factory direct (no distributor or retail markups). While this can make it challenging for many paddlers to see a boat before they buy one, it also means that when you buy one of these boats that compared to other makes of kayaks, there is very low markup on these boats.



Shipping Kayaks:

Through arrangements with shipping specialists such as Fastenal, we can ship composite and polyethylene kayaks nationwide for considerably less than you could as a private individual.

Shipping costs for kayaks vary according to distance, quantity, type of carrier, and type of kayak being shipped. Polyethylene kayaks can be shipped to most destinations in the continental US by common carrier for $100.00- $150.00, including insurance.

We have two methods of safely shipping composite kayaks: (1) using a carrier that specializes in shipment of kayaks and canoes. (2) Using a really big custom made shipping carton, together with foam inserts, that can then be safely shipped by common carrier. Either way, the cost can run from $135 to $235 (including insurance) for shipping a single kayak. (The price per boat goes down if you are are shipping more than one).

If we ship via a specialty carrier, your wait will be longer but delivery is normally to your residence. If we ship via common carrier, we can normally ship within 3 - 5 days, and shipping is to the trucking service center nearest your home. Alternately, if you -- or a friend -- have a business address to which the kayaks can be shipped, the common carrier will ship there at no additional cost. (An extra charge of $75.00 usually applies for common carriers to make a residential delivery).

Shipping Paddles & Paddling Gear:

In-stock items are shipped within 36 hours of your order -- and often faster, especially if you ask. Depending on the item, we ship via UPS ground and Priority Mail. We can often ship Next Day Air or other express shipping if you ask. Extra charges apply. Our cost for shipping a 2-piece paddle ranges from $12.00 to $18.00. Our cost for shipping a 1-piece paddle ranges from $22 - $40.00.


After You Buy, then What?

We'll still be here to help you make the most of your kayaking experiences in any way that we can. Need advice? Equipment? Repairs? Have a problem? Please contact us.

Please read our list of safety tips (provided by TAPS) and follow them -- sea kayaking is a relatively safe sport, but only if you are well-informed, well-trained, and well-equipped.

Check out our tips for customizing and maintaining your fiberglass kayak.

Get ideas for paddle trips or contribute one of your own at WaterWays Paddle Trip Exchange.

Please send us your comments on our boats! We value your feedback and will use it to better serve future customers.
FAQ's
  • If I paddle Maine's rocky coastline, will I scratch (or dent) my fiberglass kayak?

Not necessarily! Rocks along the shoreline are easy to avoid because of the easily recognizable changes in wave patterns they create..


  • How do I get my kayak up onto shore without scratching it?

At a water depth of 6 - 12 inches, simply place your paddle in the groove behind the cockpit and lean onto the paddle blade closest to shore. This provides stability while you deftly hop out of your boat. From here your fiberglass kayak is a lightweight carry.


  • I like to drag my fully loaded kayak up over granite boulders. Should I buy a plastic kayak?

Yes.



  • What is the difference between hand-laid and vacuum-bagged fiberglass?
Hand-laid fiberglass has more resin and and is less compressed, which can make it stronger. Vacuum-bagged fiberglass is thinner and lighter but can lack necessary rigidity unless added support is provided. Both methods can be used to construct quality kayaks.
  • What kind of care does my kayak require?
Rinse it off -- inside and out -- after paddling in salt water. Wax it with marine or car wax 1 - 4 times per year, depending on how often you paddle.
  • Should I consider buying a kayak that is not a comfortable fit?
Maybe. There are many modifications you can make to improve the fit of your kayak -- from thigh pads to hip pads to heel pads to seat pads to rebuilding the seat altogether (by replacing the present one with custom shaped closed-cell foam). On the other hand, if it's too small, it's too small and you won't enjoy paddling it.

  • Will I tip over? And do I need to learn how to roll?
Not necessarily and no. Staying close to the shoreline, paddle-float rescues, assisted rescues, and learning bracing techniques are other means of ensuring you'll be able to manage difficult conditions or an unexpected dunking.


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Water Walker Sea Kayaks Belfast, Maine 207-338-6424 info@touringkayaks.com