Chaos Monkey Impact Protection
In creek boats, there is one area of the kayak which overwhelmingly is the area that tends to break. Sure, we all know someone who's broken just about every imaginable part of a kayak, but it is the nose (and tail) that really get the abuse.
The solution has been simple. Throw more plastic at the problem. While rotomolding is a pretty amazing technology, it's not magic. If you want 6mm under the seat for wear and tear, and 8mm in the nose for impact, its very difficult to reduce the other areas of the kayak to the adequate 3mm or so that's needed. If you could concentrate on making the Bottom wear resistant, and not need to also worry about end thickness, then it's suddenly much simpler to take out excess weight everywhere else where its not needed, and really concentrate on keeping the bottom thick.
The other problem is that plastics are generally either stiff (which contributes to increased wear resistance too), or impact resistant (high impact plastics are generally more flexible and have lower wear resistance). Imagine it as a slider - as impact goes up, so stiffness comes down, and vice versa. Overall, you need your kayak to be relatively stiff, and have relatively high impact resistance. But in the ends, you don't need rigidity, and you need exceptionally high impact resistance.
Our solution is to make the ends separately from the kayak. This allows us to concentrate on getting maximum material under the seat, and use a high rigidity and wear resistant plastic throughout the boat, and then use a low rigidity ultra high impact material on the ends. And we can make that as thick as we like.
This accomplishes three things.
1) It allows us to control material distribution better, and select a plastic that is not as much of a compromise in that balance between impact and rigidity, thereby reducing overall weight and increasing wear resistance where it's needed,
2) Make the ends of the kayak ultra resistant to the massive impacts that kayaks are taking these days,
3) In the event that you do break the end of your boat (lets face it, in the contest of rock vs plastic, rocks will always ultimately win), you can replace the broken part for about very little and be on your way, as opposed to having to replace your $1100 kayak.
This is not just a plastic shell slapped over the existing kayak as you've seen before. The entire end of the kayak is a separate unit, so even if you were to puncture it on a river run, you could effectively still continue your day.
We're pretty proud of this little innovation. In fact, we're so proud of it we've applied for a patent!