× Tips and techniques for getting the most out of surfskiing.

Painting a Surfski.

1 year 6 months ago #32307 by [email protected]
I bought a used Surfski recently, the structure and fibreglass is sound, boat is only 5 years old.
It was a few cosmetic scratches on the Hull..
The hull has a colored Gel coat.
I decided I want to paint the Hull white as scratches are hard to see on white.
As I’m doing a restore Job might as well paint the Deck too.
I want several colours on the Deck and a White Hull..
What’s the best way to go.?
Spray cans and clear coat then rub down and wax.
Or use a spray gun probably have to be an electric one as I don’t have a compressor.
So electric spray gun vs spray cans.
It’s 2 pac paint right?
With 2 pac clear coat?
Rough up current gel coat. .

Any advice would be great.

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1 year 6 months ago #32315 by mcnye1
Replied by mcnye1 on topic Painting a Surfski.
Frankly, your best cheapest bet is to buy a gelcoat touch up kit and repair the scratches. Some ski manufacturers sell them with the exact color. If not, you can buy a generic kit and mix the color yourself. It won't be perfect but will likely look better than a crappy paint job. I did this multiple times on my sailboat and it is really pretty easy.

I would never recommend painting a boat with spray can paint. It is way to hard to control the amount of paint applied so you will get many runs. In the past, I had one of those electric household guns, and my success with it was mediocre. Others may have faired better than I.

If money is no object, find somebody with a good automotive air system and have them do it. Sometimes you can get body shop workers to do it on the side.

If you don't want to spend that much money and don't mind putting in some effort, I would suggest that you paint it using the "roll and tip" method. (Look up on YouTube). I have used this technique on the sailboat and two of the kayaks that I built and the results are almost as good as gelcoat. To do it right takes time and the biggest key is surface prep. Generally speaking, you first have to clean the surface removing chemical contaminants. Things like the "speed juice" that some apply to their hulls or some errant bug spray will ruin a paint job. Sanding does not remove that stuff, it just smears it around. Next you will fill any holes and rough up the surface with sand paper. Most paints will provide very specific directions regarding how to overcoat gelcoat. You may have to call their customer support line to get the info. You will likely need a coat of primer then at least two coats of paint, wet sanding in between each coat. White paint over bright colored gelcoat will take more coats or the color will show through.

I strongly recommend that you stick with a high grade marine paint like Interlux or Epifanes. Mono-urethane paint is harder than enamel but is less forgiving to apply and requires more coats.

Multiple colors are easy but you have to be meticulous with your masking. On the edges, that blue tape is not good enough and will leave a rough line. Use 3M Fine Line tape instead.

The link below has a pict of the sailing skiff that I just completed. I applied 3 coats Epifanes Mono over one coat of primer using roll and tip. (Sorry that I have not figured out how to embed pictures)

Goat Island Skiff

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1 year 6 months ago #32318 by Fath2o
Replied by Fath2o on topic Painting a Surfski.
I think mcnye1 has good advice, especially about hull contaminants.
Clean it real good before sanding. I prefer two part polyurethanes for paint. Drys immediately, is super durable and resistant to solvents.
More like resin than paint with UV resistance. I believe catalyst activated polyurethane paints actually strengthen the hull a tad. I use a paint sprayer connected to an air compressor with an air filter/dryer system.
Rolling and tipping can work just fine though. Probably not a good idea in sunlight. Nice thing about catalyzed polys is that you can can spray multiple coats that will dry nice and hard in one day.
Good luck!

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1 year 6 months ago #32327 by jateureka
Replied by jateureka on topic Painting a Surfski.
I recently painted the hull of an old K2 kayak after some repairs. I used Crystal Paints marine paint, which is a polyurethane that cleans up with turps and was only $39 AUD for a litre of white. I applied 3 coats with a foam roller then after a few weeks hardening I rubbed back with various grades of wet and dry and cutting compound and polish. Looks great, is very durable and probably cost maybe $60 all up in materials.
Then we decided to do the deck but wanted nice metallic colours so used automotive acrylic spray cans, which clean up with thinners. BIG mistake, this was not compatible with the paint on the hull, so it wrinkled where it overlapped, and was 4 times more expensive to cover a smaller area.

Current: Fenn Swordfish S, Grafton K1 intermediate kayak
Previous: Think Evo II

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1 year 6 months ago #32335 by Ranga
Replied by Ranga on topic Painting a Surfski.
Don't do it!
Your gelcoat finish even though it might be a bit scuffed is the most durable finish you will get. There is NOTHING that compares to it in the paint world.

My suggestion is to cut back the existing finish with water paper and then polish with a cut and polish to a high gloss. You will be surprised how good it will look and it will still be durable as opposed to paint, no matter how good. You still have to cut the ski back if you want to paint it and fill everything anyway.

However if you are determined to ruin your durability, 2K Polyurethane paint is as good as you might get. Bonds to most sub-straights and is fairly durable as paint goes. And what has been suggested before, get the pros to do it, it with take them a few minutes to spray with the proper equipment and heated spray booth. The preparation takes time and costs money, you can do that.

But my suggestion still stays with keeping with what you have and cutting it back to get most of the scuffs out. Gelcoat is much thicker than paint will ever be so you have some leeway to sand back.
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1 year 6 months ago #32348 by [email protected]
Thanks for all the replies, after reading the replies and listening to other advice.
I have decided to go with Ranga’s advice and other similar advice and not go down the painting route.
I have cut it back with wet sand paper and used very fine grades back up to rubbing compound and polished it, it actually looks really well, got most of the scratches out..
I just need to get some wax now to buff her up nice.
I even did the deck with fine wet paper like an 800 then 1200 and rubbing and polish she looks good..
Mind I wouldn’t want to do it again I’d be worried about thinning her out too much.
From now one I will super careful and any further scratches I will have to get used too..
Problem is the person who ordered the board ordered it with a colored Hull, which I would have gotten white as scratches don’t show up as bad at all.
I bought it as 2/3 years old.
But I’m happy with it now..
I’m just going to finish her off now with a high shine polish/ wax..

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