At DesignKayaks we primarily work with kayaks in PE, but since it is widely used in the kayak industry, we would like to offer you some advice about composite. Just like 3-layer PE, composite comes in many different qualities which means that there are plenty of stuff to look out for.

Avoid poor quality fiberglass

For the advanced paddler composite is the ultimative material for a sea kayak, because it will outdo even the best PE kayak on stiffness. However you will meet a lot of very experienced paddlers in PE kayaks, because they prefer the durable and price competitive 3-layer PE kayaks to fiberglass. Like the above picture shows, fiberglass is often also used to prototype PE-kayaks since the material is easier to work with. What you choose is up to you, but if you want a composite kayak you should be aware that fiberglass comes in many qualities.

Composite is used because the material combines low weight with stiffness. It is made out of extremely fine fibers of glass glued together. You will find two types of composite materials for kayaks:

  • A) Woven composite are fibers woven into each other resulting in nicely looking mats creating a very strong material making it optimal for kayaks.
  • B) Chopped composite is the other type of composite found in the kayaking industry. Chopped composite are short strands of fibers held together with a binder. This is the least expensive variation of composite but not well-suited for kayaks because it is fragile and does not have the desired stiffness.

How to spot poor quality composite?

If you are out looking for a fiberglass kayak you do not need to be a professional to distinguish good quality from poor quality.

First of all a high quality composite kayak does in most cases cost 2-3 times the price of a good quality 3-layer PE kayak. But how do you tell woven composite from chopped? On the outside they all look the same because the kayak is covered by a gelcoat giving a nice smooth surface. What you should do is take of the hatches and check out the storage compartments.

What do you see? A nicely woven fabric where the fibers are oriented in two directions or short fibers randomly placed reminding you of dog hair on a carpet? If nicely arranged in two directions it is woven fiberglass this is what you will want for your kayak. If it looks like the mat is made out of dog hair, our best advice is to find another kayak.


The difference between chopped and woven fiberglass is quite easy to spot when you know what to look for.

Become a DesignKayaks dealer

DesignKayaks is a Danish sea kayak brand: Stunning colors, exceptional performance. Unmatched value for money for you and your customers. Our model range consists of three models designed to meet different demands. They apply to everyone from new paddlers, exercise and touring paddlers all the way to instructors, technique and surf aficionados.

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Our factory

Passion seeps through every step of the process when we make our sea kayaks. Our factory is located in the city of George in South Africa and with our modern roto moulding techniques we produce our high quality 3-layer PE sea kayaks in a well engineered and computer controlled environment.

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Meet the people behind DesignKayaks

We have put a lot of thought, care and love into the design of our kayaks. And it all comes from years of experience and “getting our hands wet”. Søren Telling is the man behind the boat design and Hanne Telling – with her many years of experience from LEGO is the woman behind our unique business and colour concept.

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