Since 2000, the hulls have been urethane. This is a very hard material, used in a vast array of applications. This fabric has been tested extensively on beach landings with rocks, barnacles and coral. The hull fabric has multiple layers of urethane with solid strips of urethane welded to wear points along the keel and chines. Depending upon use and care, the kayak skin should last 15 - 20 years.
Prior to 2000, the hulls were made of Hypalon; in the late 80's and early '90's, it was Feathertex (a lightweight urethane) as well as Hypalon; and in the early '80's, the hulls were Butyl rubber. Most of the kayaks sold in North America were Hypalon hulls. This is the same material used on Zodiac inflatables. It is incredibly strong and abrasion resistant. But the process to make the hulls was terribly toxic and labour intensive, with hours of buffing and honing. Full mask respirators were required for the glueing process. It was hot and cumbersome work. For almost four years, we worked closely with our supplier to fabricate a proprietary hull material that would match the Hypalon strength, but be lighter. The process begins with a ballistic 840 denier high tenacity nylon balanced weave fabric. The fabric is first impregnated with a polyurethane solution coat, followed by a series of additional polyurethane coats. The material is finished to our weight specifications using multiple layers of polyurethane. This unique, lengthy process results in a supple fabric designed to be heat sealable, and highly abrasion resistant.
The material was changed from Hypalon to Urethane to get away from the toxic glueing that was required with the Hypalon fabric. The resulting welded skin was completely waterproof, strong, and lighter weight.