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Used boreal designs INUKSHUK kayak - opinions, please


Aug 25, 2016
Aurora, Ontario
Hi, all.

I am considering bying used Boreal designs INUKSHUK kayak.
Would anybody have experience with that model?
It is fairly heavy (63 lb).
What do I need to look at when bying used plastic kayak.
Many thanks.
Hi Bluemoon,
I haven't paddled that kayak but can add some general comments. I think the Boreal kayaks are reasonably well respected and that they make/made decent kayaks. I wouldn't hesitate to buy a used one if the kayak suited my needs. If I'm not mistaken, they used to manufacture in Canada but now have their manufacturing in China. I'm not sure how this has affected quality. Perhaps others here can comment. A kayak from before about 2013 is probably manufactured in this country. FYI: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=6498&hilit=boreal

The weight seems somewhat heavy but reasonable for a plastic kayak. Rotomolded kayaks are susceptible to flexing and warping, and a bit more plastic being used makes the kayak heavier but should also make it stiffer - so there is an upside to weight. That softness of plastic kayaks is their largest weakness, as far as I'm concerned. Weight is their second weakness to me, but I'd rather have a bit of weight if it meant a stiffer boat in use, storage & transport. The upside of plastic is that it bounces off of rocks more easily and costs less.

Things to ask about and check into:
  • How old is it? You may be able confirm this via the serial number - some manufacturers use the last 2 digits of the year as the last 2 digits of the serial number. Don't trust what the seller tells you - I had 2 sellers, otherwise seemingly honest fellows, significantly underestimate the age of their kayaks - when I read the serial number in front of them and pointed out the last 2 digits and the actual age the response was something akin to "yeah, I suppose that's about right." Maybe it's not dishonesty - I am constantly surprised by how fast time passes.
  • How has it been stored? I wouldn't have too many concerns about an older kayak if it's been stored well. However, if it's been poorly supported it may be warped. If it's been stored out in the hot sun there again can be warpage issues, as well as weathering and UV damage. Don't pay a premium price on a kayak that has been poorly stored. Similarly, treatment with products like 303 can help preserve the kayak from UV damage as well as making it look better (shinier).
  • How has it been treated in general? Has it been dragged or lovingly cradled during transport to and from the water? Are there wear areas, especially near the stern? Are there deep gouges and scratches?
  • Check that the hatches fit well and seal properly. If it uses neoprene hatch covers, check that the neoprene is still in good condition.
  • Check that the bulkheads are intact and will do their job without leaking.
  • Check that the rudder mechanism is in good shape and that all cables are in good condition.
  • Check the condition of the deck lines.

That should be a good start, at least. None of the above is necessarily a big problem or a breaking point, but if things are in generally poor shape, the price should reflect the work you will need to put into it or the decreased life remaining in the kayak. I suppose if the kayak had been dragged a lot and there was a hole, or nearly a hole, I'd likely just walk away. Anything else would be something I'd work with if the price was right and the kayak was something that was going to work for me (i.e. fit and performance were what I wanted).
Many thanks for a comprehensive answer.
Would there be a generic position to look for a serial No is a kayak?
I have coulple of recreational variety and never ever though of them having a serial No's :)
Sorry for a barrage of silly questions, but I suppose that's all beginners do :)
Bluemoon said:
Would there be a generic position to look for a serial No is a kayak?
I have couple of recreational variety and never ever though of them having a serial No's :)

The 'standard' spot for the H.I.N. (Hull Identification Number) is supposed to be at the stern on the starboard side, as far as I know.
It's sometimes subtle- engraved or molded into the hull, so you won't see it unless you are looking.
Sometimes there can be a label inside the cockpit with the serial number.
However, not all kayaks I've seen have a HIN or serial number, even though all boats sold in Canada/US are supposed to have one.
I couldn't find a HIN number on a NDK Romany when I looked; it was the same with a Necky Arluk I had here a couple of weeks ago.

Contacting the company (if they are still available to contact) is a good idea in any case.

Also, the last two numbers are not necessarily the year of manufacture; there was some variation when the HIN 'system' started and sometimes the last two numbers were the first year of production of that model.

Here's an example, a Mariner (Seattle) kayak HIN: MSQ00200D285
MSQ= Mariner Kayak company code
00=Model number (Coaster)
200= the 200th Coaster produced
The last 4 characters indicate the dates:
D = April
2= 1992 (you need to know Coaster history to know this isn't 2002- the number would be 400+ by then)
85= the first year the Coaster was produced.

I agree with most of Pawistik's points in the previous message.
For me, the age of the boat is mostly irrelevant - it's the condition that counts. I've seen 'like new' 25 year old kayaks that had spent all but a few days stored in a clean dry garage, and much 'younger' boats that were in a sorry state after sitting outside in the sun for a few years. Fiberglass (composite) boats don't deteriorate in good storage and can usually be 'rejuvenated' quite easily. Polyethylene boats are prone to warping if not carefully stored, so that's more of an issue than with a glass boat.
if big, wide, and stable is your priority then the Inukshuk will be fine.

It's a pretty big boat, i'd say ideal paddler weight is between 140-230 lbs or so to sink it properly. 17' x 24.5". Good stable touring boat for someone just getting started. Very rudder dependant, not all that manœuvrable.

if you prefer a snug fitting boat or something more performance oriented i'd look more towards the Baffin or Epsilon series. Much better ergonomics than the Inukshuk and you will grow well as a paddler with one of those boats. You'll rapidly outgrow the Inukshuk I suspect, but it depends on your interest in paddling.