Painting an Ocean Ski

Submitted byhiroseski onTue, 05/26/2020 - 19:52

Hello John and Kayak forum;


After searching the internet and finding and reading thru several topics, I’ve just become a member today. Please excuse my novice approach in starting a new Topic to reach out with my questions.


I’m writing in hopes to gain some of your (and or groups) expertise, opinions, concerns on re-coating a kayak I purchased 2-3 years ago.

It is a Marshall Rosa surf-ski ‘RoseSki’ used for open ocean kayaking.

It is 19’-4” in length, 18.5”, weight is 25-lbs.

The builder raced and won the Molokai-Oahu 7 man canoe race in 1980. Shortly after he stated to design, build, and sell his single man ocean ski to use for training during the off-season.

By the serial number I found on this particular ski during sanding, it looks to be from 1989 (near the end of his ski producing years). 


It sat for a few years during my possession as it needed ding damage and two areas where the seam had separated between the upper and lower halves. I’ve finally pulled it down from the rafters and am about 90% done with repairing the damage so I’m starting to research what to re-coat it with. A recent quote from a canoe shop of $1000. to spray it has pointed me in the direction of having to do it myself. I have the necessary gear to do it from past car projects but never have done fiberglass.

Besides the areas that took physical hits, there is quite a bit of hair-line cracks in the Gel-Coat.

As the shell is rather thin to keep weight down (I can press areas that deflect easily) I’m speculating the hair-line cracks are from flexing and age(?). Though I’ve sanding a lot of them out.


Goal is to spray a white gloss finish and possible keep as much of the original Gel-coat underneath for what added protection it can give. Along with some of the comments on paints noted in the forum (and one I found in the internet called Wearlon Speedcoat-49), the other goal is surface durability but also a covering that can withstand the potential flexing in the ocean and during car transport to and from the ocean.


This is from the Wearlon site but it doesn’t mention flexibility -  “Lastly, SC-49 is permanent and durable. But if somehow there is damage, touching up is a cinch. It has great adhesion to aluminum, fiberglass, gel coat, and to itself, and will last for many season”.


Attached are 6 photos of the RoseSki prior to my repair work last week. One of the photos shows a digital chronometer wristwatch (minus the straps) glued to the deck which indicates maybe at one time it was used for the channel race. When I got it pried off the Gel-coat underneath was still shiny.


Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.




Tue, 05/26/2020 - 22:56


Neat project! Have you paddled it? It sounds pretty tippy! :)

I've painted quite a few gelcoat kayak decks (after adding hatch recesses) and had good results with automotive paint.

Polyester glazing putty works well for filling small cracks and defects. Prime and paint.

It sounds like you have spray gear, but some of the Valspar auto paints (LIC50 line and the newer replacement for it) can be rolled/brushed.

With auto paint, the colour possibilities are pretty unlimited.

BTW, I think most new surfskis are painted (no gelcoat). Certainly my Think EZE was just painted.  Gelcoat is heavy and with a 'ski you're not dragging it on the beach or running over rocks, so the easy repair aspect of gelcoat isn't needed.


Thu, 05/28/2020 - 18:06

Hello John;


Thanks for the quick response. I’m just now getting into the hairline cracks and will look at picking up polyester putty. Much easier than what I had intended to do by using resin mix!

I have not tried a RoseSki before. Been told they’re tippy. Because of the extent of repair’s it required I jumped on a used but very good condition Twogood with paddle that was for sale but in the excitement I lapsed on confirming fit. Tried it twice and was just too short so sold it last month. It was tippy when getting on it but was okay after I got going. Been paddling my father’s 9’ and a 10’ Australian ‘Hayden’ surf-skis we’ve had since the late 70’s. The 9’ yellow Hayden is a real gem in 2’ to 7’ or so waves.

Below are shots of the Twogood and Hayden.


Thanks for the support on path for re-coating the RoseSki. I will check what brands I can get locally with regards to the ones you mentioned and will send an update when I get near to purchase.


Thanks again