NeverWet kayak experiment

posted in: Gear | 0
For those of you who haven’t heard, Neverwet is a hydro-phobic spray-on substance which has garnered quite a fan base. The hype grew mostly online from this promotional video, and when the product was finally released for $20 a pop forums went wild with imaginative and outrageous ideas of spectacular applications. It does seem like pretty awesome stuff, but as it often goes, the hype was a bit overblown. No, you can’t spray this on your entire kayak and expect to hover in magical zero gravity. Not only will it not create a super strong anti-water forcefield around your items. It actually wears off fairy easily. In my experience it tends to rub and peel off items similar to Elmer’s glue from my middle school-aged hands.

 

I didn’t know all this at first though, and I admit to being a bit giddy when I picked up a kit from Lowe’s the day it came out. I didn’t have any crazy or ingenious ideas, I just wanted to test it’s effectiveness in a practical solution. I decided to coat my kayak paddles’ blades. The idea was that maybe they would come out nearly dry, similar to the toilet brush in NeverWet’s promo video. I’m not a terribly messy paddler but sometimes those drops really annoy me. Plus, I knew if it worked there might be a few people out there who would be happy to stop soaking their knees. So I sprayed them up.
I laid both paddles out in my open garage. I needed ventilation but not wind. The first solution was tacky and immediately created a noticeable film with each coat. It is advised to do multiple coats of the first spray and wait for a while. I was in a hurry so I might not have waited as long as I should have. I sprayed the second coat shortly afterwards and realized I had sprayed a little too far up the shaft. If you try this yourself be careful not to do this! I spent the next few floats rubbing off the sticky substance where it contacted my hands. Keep it on the blades. The project took me under an hour, including waiting for coats to dry. It was pretty simple.

 

I took them out for a run the next day and was actually impressed. As you can see in the video, the black coated paddle hardly held any water, leaving only small drops clinging to the edge. The white paddle was uncoated and really picked up and poured water in comparison. Success! It really did help keep the drips at bay. I was pretty happy with the initial results, however they did not last long. After a few hours of use wear marks began to show in the high-friction areas of the blades. The hydrophobic film had deteriorated and left the bare plastic to grab water again, leaving me ultimately disappointed.

 

I really did enjoy the clean exit they made initially, but I have yet to respray them. Perhaps I will try again next season. I am still curious if giving them more coats and a longer drying time will affect the durability . Until next time…