FAQs

Q?How do I submit a warranty claim?
A.

Before submitting a warranty claim please read Kayak Distribution’s warranty agreement here to first ensure that your claim is legitimate. The main requirements for warranty coverage through Kayak Distribution are the following:
• The kayak was bought new within the last five (5) years for hull damage, within one (1) year for replacement parts excluding rudder and skeg blades
• The kayak was bought in the United States or Canada (in all other countries the appointed distributor is solely responsible for administering the warranty according to governing by-laws and corporate policies)
• The kayak was not used for any commercial use such as: pro-deal, rental, educational, or training, and is not identified as demo, second, blem, institutional or K2.
• The kayak was properly registered with Kayak Distribution within thirty (30) days of purchase (a registration card/form was filled out and a copy of the proof of purchase was submitted)

• The reason for the warranty claim is covered in the agreement (i.e. the damage was not caused by transport or negligence)
If after reading the warranty agreement you still believe your claim to be valid please fill out the warranty form found here

Q?How do I fix a leak in my waterproof compartment?
A.

The first step to fixing a leak in your waterproof compartment/hatch is identifying where the water is entering. The possibilities are:
• The hatch cover is not forming an adequate seal, perhaps due to improper maintenance (requires regular cleanings to remove salt water and other harsh particles); if after a proper cleaning the leak remains replacement hatch covers are available
• Broken or loose deck fittings may leave an opening in the hull where water can enter; replacement of these deck fittings should solve the problem
• Loose bulkheads, due to the flexing of the kayak over time, will allow water from the cockpit to enter your dry compartments. If the bulkhead is loose/ has popped out you will need to reseal it; please see the section on replacing a foam wall/bulkhead
If the source of the leak is not readily apparent then you will need to do a ‘reverse leak test’ wherein you put water in the waterproof compartment and seal it tightly with the hatch cover. When you slowly roll the kayak you should be able to see where the water is coming out and fix accordingly.
Replacement parts can be found through a dealer or directly through Kayak Distribution here
IMPORTANT: Items that absolutely cannot get wet should always be stored in a dry bag for additional protection.

Q?How do I fix a crack in my kayak?
A.

For our Cross-Max (polyethylene) boats:
1. Clean the crack and bevel the edges
2. Prepare a strip of plastic material to fill the crack. If you do not have the proper plastic we suggest shaving a small portion of plastic from the underside of your cockpit for this purpose
3. Use a heat source to heat both the crack and plastic at the same time, just until the materials become shiny and the plastic sticks easily to the crack upon contact; DO NOT heat to the point where the material flexes in on itself as the crack will open up when the plastic is applied. NOTE: The best heat source is a heat gun with a small ¼” diameter tip
4. Stick the plastic strip to the beginning of the crack and apply just enough pressure for the materials to blend on each side. Continue gently pushing the plastic into the crack, heating both the crack and the plastic as needed, until the crack is filled
5. Heat the end of the excess plastic so it can be twisted and broken off/removed
6. Heat any areas of the weld that need to be leveled and smooth them out by applying pressure with a thick piece of wax paper or a metal plate NOTE: Press down – do not rub sideways
For our thermoformed/ Cross-Light (ABS-capped acrylic) and Bio-Fusion (fiberglass) boats, please see your original dealer or a boat repair specialist.

Q?How do I fix a dent in my kayak?
A.

Due to the nature of plastic it may happen that a kayak will develop an indentation in the hull that we refer to as ‘oil canning.’ These indentations tend to form under pressure, either by hitting a particularly hard surface or through improper transport or storage.
The first technique to remove a dent is to place the kayak in direct sunlight (the temperature must be hot enough to soften the plastic) where the kayak will heat up and naturally reform to its original shape over the course of a few hours. Once done it should retain its proper shape.
If that does not work the process may need some additional help in the form of weights/ your hands to push the indentation back out. Again, once reformed it should retain its proper shape.
If you do not have access to natural ‘effective’ sunlight you may follow the above steps using extremely hot water or a hair dryer to achieve the softening effect needed. Please note that you will heat the plastic just until it is pliable, not to melting. A heat gun may be used for the same purpose but in inexperienced hands may do more harm than good and thus is not suggested except as a last resort. To avoid the same issue in the future please read the sections on the proper storing and transporting of kayaks.

Q?How do I replace a foam wall/bulkhead?
A.

Due to the flexing of the kayak both in transport and on the water, over time the foam wall separating the cockpit from the dry compartments (better known as a bulkhead) may come loose. To replace the bulkhead follow these steps:
1. Remove the bulkhead completely without ripping it
2. Peel any sealant residue from both the bulkhead and the inside of the kayak
3. Using coarse sandpaper, make the bonding surface rough both around the bulkhead and on the inside of the kayak
4. With the sandpaper create a chamfer (a beveled edge) around both sides of the bulkhead where contact is made with the kayak; the chamfer helps to create a strong sealant bead that will both hold and seal the bulkhead better
5. Wash the inside of the kayak and the edge of the bulkhead with acetone or lacquer thinner to make then extremely dry and clean
6. Apply a very thin layer of Sikaflex 291 (or equivalent marine sealant/adhesive) inside the kayak where the bulkhead will touch the hull and deck
7. Slide the bulkhead in place and seal it on both sides (inside the compartment and inside the cockpit) with a continuous bead of sealant, then smooth it out with a wet finger so that there are no holes or bumps left
8. Let the sealant dry for at least 24 hours before allowing it to come into contact with water, though a few days of curing time is preferable

Q?How do I adjust the outfitting on my kayak?
A.

Your position and comfort in the kayak play a huge role in the enjoyment of your time on the water. The three main contact points between you and your kayak are your buttocks, thighs, and feet. Proper kayak outfitting maximizes contact with all three of these points, allowing you to sit upright with good posture and letting you paddle more efficiently for a longer period of time. Always adjust your outfitting while your kayaks sits stable on a soft, non-abrasive surface. If the surrounding land is unsuitable, simply place the kayak in some calm, shallow water and make your adjustments there. Regardless of where you complete your adjustments, remember that the goal is to maximize comfort and control.
Backrest angle – To sit up straight, add tension in the backrest strap. For a more relaxed, laid back paddling position, release some tension in the backrest strap. There are five different backrest strap tension systems, depending on the kayak model you own:
• Kayaks with Contour Fit outfitting use a cam buckle located in a well at the front of the seat. To add tension, grab the strap and pull it towards you; to release tension press the tab on top of the cam buckle.
• Kayaks with Advanced Contour Fit and High Performance Contour Fit outfitting use a ratchet system located at the front of the seat, doubled with a cam buckle located behind the right hip pad. First, set the ladder strap in the ratchet to the last notch towards its free extremity; in that position, the backrest should be pulled all the way back. Then pull on the strap at the cam buckle to eliminate any slack in the strap. Sit in the kayak and crank the ratchet until you obtain the desired tension in the backrest. If the adjustment range provided by the ladder strap and ratchet is not enough, loosen the ratchet and pull the strap through the cam buckle a little more to gain more tension.
• Kayaks with Custom Fit outfitting use rope adjustments. Pull on the rope to tighten or raise the seat then lock it into place with the cleat.
• Kayaks with the Sit-on-Top seat are adjusted by two independent sets of straps.

Backrest height – Generally speaking, a higher backrest setup provides more comfort for casual or long paddling sessions on calm waters, and a lower backrest makes rolling easier and allows more range of motion for performance paddling, or for rough conditions. To adjust your backrest’s height: slack both knobs behind the backrest a couple turns, pull up or push down the backrest to the desired height, then tighten the knobs again to finish the setup. If the knob appears to turn loose, just push against the seat cover with your other hand as you tighten. If it still doesn’t tighten, try twisting the knob clockwise…

Hip pads – Models with Advanced Contour Fit and High Performance Contour Fit outfitting come with adjustable hip pads. By slacking the support plate screws using a standard Phillips screw driver, these hip pads can be moved forward and back. You can also customize your hip pad settings by inserting foam shims between the support plate and the cushioning. Models with custom fit outfitting, slide in foam blocks into the pouches to adjust the seat to your body.

Footbraces – Adjustable via a rail or webbing system, properly adjusted footbraces increase your control, letting you put the kayak on edge for turning or for bracing in an oncoming wave. A properly adjusted footbrace should allow your knees and thighs a snug fit under the cockpit and thighbraces. There are two types of footbraces:

• Quicklock footbrace system (kayaks without rudder) – Simply pinch the trigger on the rear of the foot pedal to release the locking mechanism. Once released you can move the foot pedal forwards or backwards along the track to customize your fit. You can even tighten the footbraces while seated by using your feet to pull them closer to you.
• Adjustable footbrace system (kayaks with rudder) – Designed so you can fit your footbraces without affecting your rudder control system. Pull the straps to move the foot pedals closer to you. To move the pedals further away from you simply release the ladder lock on each strap and the pedals will slide forward.

IMPORTANT: After all your adjustments are complete and you are seated in your kayak, you will want to verify that you can still easily exit your kayak. If your kayak is equipped with a rudder, also confirm its proper function. Then, time spent in your kayak will be your best teacher as to which areas of your body may require additional padding.

Q?How do I store my kayak?
A.

For long term storage and to prevent hull deformation your kayak should be kept on its side, preferably on a padded rack. Take care to protect it from long term exposure to the sun or extreme heat which can contribute to degradation of the hull material and cause permanent deformation. You may also want to cover the cockpit to guard against dust and debris. Always make sure that your kayak is dry before winter storage; leaving the drain plug open will provide better ventilation.

Q?How do I transport my kayak?
A.

When transporting your kayak, take care to avoid potential damage or distortion to the hull. A good racking system allows you to transport your kayak on the top of your vehicle safely and securely. You will want to add some foam padding to your roof rack or invest in a padded kayak cradle, especially if your kayak is constructed out of a composite material.
Here are some tips for when transporting your kayak:
• To avoid loss or damage, remove all accessories before transporting the kayak.
• For your safety and to avoid unnecessary scratches on your car all but the shortest boats should be car-topped by two people, placing the kayak on a quality roof rack. Practice common sense lifting techniques, using your legs (not your back) to raise the kayak onto the racking.
• Once the kayak is on the roof rack, hull side down or on its side, use a pair of straps or ropes to secure the midsection of the kayak to the roof rack, taking care not to over-tighten.
• Each end of the kayak should be tied to the bumpers of the vehicle. However, be careful not to cinch down these bow and stern lines too tightly as that will increase the likelihood of hull warping.
• Also to avoid hull deformation, do not leave the boat tied to the vehicle for an extended period of time or in the hot sun.
• If your kayak extends more than 3.5 feet (1 meter) behind your vehicle, attach a red flag to the hanging extremities to alert fellow motorists and pedestrians.
• To transport multiple kayaks use a stacking bar and appropriate padding, placing each kayak on its side, with hull against hull to prevent deformation.
• After a long day on the water, DON’T FORGET THAT YOUR KAYAK IS STRAPPED ON THE ROOF! You do not want to drive into your garage with it still on the rack… It may sound strange but it happens.

Q?What do I wear when kayaking?
A.

When selecting what to wear remember that it should be determined by a combination of air AND water temperature. As with many outdoor activities you’ll want to use the layer system, wearing distinct layers of clothing rather than one or two thick layers. In all but the warmest conditions you’ll want your outermost layer to be made of a water- and wind- proof material. For your underlayers avoid clothes made out of cotton. Although comfortable off the water, wet cotton offers no insulation and is very slow to dry. Instead choose insulating clothing made of synthetic fibers. As well as wicking moisture away from your body, this system allows you to easily adapt to changing weather conditions. You may also want to choose paddling clothes equipped with reflective strips, especially if your trip involves long crossings and very early departures. If you are venturing offshore or may encounter turbulent water keep in mind the following rule of thumb: If the combined total of the air and the water temperature is under 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37 degrees Celsius) you will want to wear a wet suit or dry suit.

Wet suit – Available in full suit, shorty and “farmer john” styles, a wet suit is composed of flexible 3 or 4mm neoprene that works by allowing a thin layer of water between your skin and the neoprene. This layer of water is warmed by your body and helps fend off hypothermia. A wet suit should be neither so tight that it causes restrictions of your movement, nor too loose that it allows water to run freely into and out of the suit.

Dry suit/dry top – Available in one or two piece versions, a dry suit uses watertight gaskets at the neck, wrist and ankles to keep you dry. A dry suit’s impermeable outer fabric does little to help insulation, instead allowing you to wear insulating layers underneath.

Gloves – When the weather outside gets cold, neoprene gloves become indispensable. Working like a neoprene wet suit, they allow a thin layer of water to become an insulator between your hands and the cold. Fit should not be too tight nor too loose.

Pogies – Great for protecting your hands from a cold wind while also allowing normal contact with your paddle. Their insulating neoprene design, attached directly to the paddle, lets your hands exit easily.

Neoprene hood (primarily whitewater) – Ultra important when the conditions get cold. Helps avoid heat loss through your head and prevents painful “ice cream” headaches caused by rolling in cold water.

River shoes/booties (primarily whitewater) – Wearing a closed-toe river shoe with a good sticky tread surface is essential for safe scouting and portaging. More than helping keep your feet warm, these shoes grant you grip on the damp rocks surrounding the river, and help with traction in the event of a swim.

Tip – Adapt to changing weather conditions by carrying extra clothes in a dry bag, and don’t forget a good hat to reduce your exposure to the sun.

Q?Which sprayskirt will fit my kayak?
A.

Unfortunately Riot no longer produces skirts but Seals Sprayskirts will be happy to supply you.  They even have a nifty sizing chart that can be found here:  http://www.sealsskirts.com/sizing/sizing.php

Q?What gear do I need to kayak?
A.

Some of the accessories below are not only strongly advised but also mandatory depending on where you live and/or paddle. Please educate yourself on the rules and regulations in your area so that you are paddling safely and legally.
For information on the United States Coast Guard Regulations visit: http://www.uscgboating.org
For information on the Canadian Coast Guard Regulations visit: http://www.ccg-gcc.gc.ca
Personal Floatation Device (PFD) or Swim Vest – Easily the most vital safety gear you will ever own as a kayaker so choose it wisely. Regardless of the style of PFD you end up selecting, you’ll want to make sure that it is designed specifically for kayaking. Look for a comfortable, customizable fit which allows maximum movement of your shoulders and torso without shifting. Make sure to select a PFD with a floatation that corresponds to your weight and that is designed with a highly visible color. We recommend you wear your PFD at all times. Not only will it add buoyancy in case of a swim, but it will also help you stay warm and can protect you in case of a fall on slippery shoreline rocks. Most importantly, be sure to select a PFD that complies with the safety regulations of your area.

Skirt – Keeping you and your kayak warm and dry, the skirt is worn around your waist and attaches around the cockpit of your kayak, preventing splashes from waves or your paddle from entering. Designed of either nylon or neoprene, different models offer varying degrees of warmth and water tightness. Regardless of the type you choose, make sure that the grab loop located at the front of your skirt is always accessible in case of a wet exit.
Paddle – Your means of propulsion, the kayak paddle is perhaps the most personal piece of equipment a kayaker uses. With models existing for all paddling styles and budgets, you’ll want to try out several different types and lengths before deciding on the right paddle for you. Factors to consider when choosing your paddle include length, blade size, and material.

Whistle – A whistle (or similar sound signal) is used to alert other larger watercrafts of your presence, to alert your paddling partners of danger or to simply catch their attention. Although the whistle is a simple piece of equipment you’ll want to make sure that you choose one that works without the use of any movable pieces. Make sure to wear your whistle where it can be easily and quickly accessed, but not on the main closure of your PFD as this could result in an accidental opening of your swim vest.

Marine chart, guide book, or river/ shoreline topographical map – Whether venturing on open water or making a river run, it’s important to be aware of your position at all times. Keeping an accurate map/ depiction of your area with you in a waterproof sleeve will help prevent against getting lost and/or energy-depleting navigational errors.

First aid kit – A simple first aid kit should contain materials for treating blisters, minor wounds, burns and trauma; there are many companies that offer outdoor-specific first aid kits. Regardless of what type you choose, make sure you keep your first aid kit safely inside a dry bag and that you update its contents regularly.

Drinkable water and a snack – Dehydration can cause fatigue and misjudgment. Keep things fun by making sure to carry along enough drinkable water and appropriate snacks to keep energy levels high throughout your trip.

Sun protection – Water reflects much of the sun’s rays, amplifying their effect; wearing proper sun protection while out on the water is crucial. Sunglasses, a hat, and of course sunscreen, all help you protect yourself from the sun. Don’t forget to keep your items well-attached to you (so they don’t end up at the bottom of whatever body of water you’re navigating) and reapply sunscreen frequently.

Spare paddle – Every group should carry a minimum of one spare paddle. With a larger group, or on a particularly remote or long descent or trip, you may want to bring along multiple spare paddles to prevent a hand paddle or a long hike out.

Sponge – Great for soaking up those last remaining annoying bits of water left in your boat after you’ve emptied it by the drain plug. You can also use it while sitting in your kayak to remove water without having to get out.

Duct tape – Your kayak’s hull and outfitting are built to withstand the strains of kayaking but occasionally the stresses of the paddling environment may necessitate a repair. You should carry a roll of duct tape in your dry bag in case of a break in your kayak on the water.

Paddle float (primarily flatwater) – An invaluable tool allowing you to “self rescue” in case of capsize. The paddle float slips over the blade of your paddle, giving the blade floatation and allowing it to be used as an outrigger, stabilizing your kayak and permitting you to get back in from the water. Although a straightforward technique, every paddler venturing any significant distance away from shore should get proper instruction on how to get back into their kayak using the paddle float.

Distress signal (primarily flatwater) – All kayaks used on Coastal waters, large lakes or bodies of water more than 2 miles (3 km) wide must be equipped with approved distress signals. There are many types of distress signals, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Choose your distress signal(s) according to Coast Guard requirements.

Helmet (primarily whitewater) – Rapids are formed by water rushing over rocks. Rocks can hurt. Protect yourself by always wearing a helmet when running any level of whitewater. Proper helmet fit and coverage is crucial and can save your life. Your helmet should not move around on your head and should offer complete protection for key areas like your temples, forehead, as well as the back of your head. When your head is on the line, function is definitely more important than fashion. Make sure to choose a helmet with the appropriate shock absorbing padding and complete protection.

Throw bag (primarily whitewater) – In the case of an emergency, the throw bag and its rope can literally be the lifeline between you and your paddling partner. The weight of a properly packed throw bag lets you throw more effectively to reach a swimmer, while the buoyancy of the cord and a floatation disk inside the bag make it stay on the surface for easier access. In the case of a pin situation, the cord can also be used to help free the kayak. A good throw bag should have at least 45 feet (15 meters) of cord and should be carefully packed to avoid possible entanglement. Practice on land to sharpen your throwing skills.

Rescue knife (primarily whitewater) – It is strongly recommended that paddlers doing any sort of river running carry with them an easily-accessible rescue knife, used primarily to cut safety ropes in case of an emergency. Rescue-specific knives feature a serrated blade and are available from virtually every kayak retailer. If you’re doing any sort of serious river running you owe it to yourself and your paddling partners to get one.

Float bags (primarily whitewater) – These inflatable bags are secured inside your kayak to help keep your boat from swamping in case of an unexpected swim.

Nose plug (primarily whitewater) – A nose plug is a cheap and easy way to prevent uncomfortable sinus problems. Make sure it’s well attached to your helmet to prevent it from heading downstream without you.

Q?How do I maintain my kayak?
A.

Here are some tips on keeping your kayak in tip-top shape:
• Be careful when setting your kayak down on rough or hard surfaces.
• Always try to slide in and off a sandy beach. Never place your kayak on a surface that may cut or push the hull inward during entry.
• Regularly inspect the hull and outfitting (seat, thighbraces, backband, footbraces) of your kayak to ensure their condition; tighten screws if necessary.
• Pay specific attention to the grab handles of your kayak, making sure they do not become loose or damaged.
• Take care to protect your kayak from long term exposure to the sun or extreme heat which can contribute to weakening of the plastic/composite and cause hull deformations. Ask your dealer about products designed specifically to protect your kayak against the sun.
• After use rinse your kayak well with fresh water to help get rid of sand or salt that can affect the performance of movable parts and gradually wear down the hull.
• Never leave salt water inside a composite kayak as it will not dry out. The kayak may absorb the water and become heavier.
• To maintain your dual-density hatch covers clean them regularly and apply a bit of silicone lube on the rim so they remain easy to take off and put back on.
• For hatches with neoprene seals, make sure you rinse the neoprene seal and hatch rim of any sand or salt and inspect the seal regularly to detect any damage.
• To ensure your hatches remain waterproof check the bulkheads regularly as they may come loose due to flexing in transport or on the water; if loose reseal with Sikaflex or equivalent marine sealant/ adhesive

Q?Where is the serial number on my kayak?
A.

The serial number begins with QRQ and is etched into the shell of your kayak, usually on the rear right side (standing at the back looking forward) where the hull and deck meet. It may be hard to see with the naked eye so running your fingers along the hull may be necessary. If it is not there it may be etched under the rear handle of your kayak.

Q?How do I register my kayak so it is covered by warranty?
A.

A: For full details of Kayak Distribution’s warranty agreement go here . In order for your kayak to be covered by this warranty it must be registered with Kayak Distribution within thirty (30) days of purchase. This can be done one of two ways:
Mail – Fill out the registration card that was included with your kayak and, along with a copy of your original sales receipt, mail it to:
Riot Kayaks C/O Kayak Distribution
20 – 3600 1st Street
St-Hubert, QC, J3Y 8Y5
Canada
Online – Fill out the online registration form here. Please note you will need to have a scanned copy of your sales receipt to utilize this option

Q?What do I do once I’ve bought my kayak?
A.

Here is a list of things you should do:
• Read Kayak Distribution’s warranty agreement found here
• Register your kayak, either online here or by mail
• Read the owner’s manual that came with your kayak to become familiar with it. If you did not receive an owner’s manual or have lost it you can download a copy of the flatwater manual here or the whitewater manual here.
• Ensure that you have the proper knowledge and gear to safely put your kayak to use
• Enjoy!

Q?How do I find a Riot dealer?
A.

To find the dealer nearest you please consult Riot’s Dealer Locator here

Q?Which kayak is right for me?
A.

This question is difficult to answer as it always depends on the paddler and his/her personal preferences. The most important things to verify when selecting a model of kayak are that you are going to be secure (the kayak is the right fit/size for your body), comfortable (the outfitting suits your needs), and properly prepared for your outing (the category of kayak corresponds with what you will be using it for). Unfortunately no one boat is going to match your every requirement so it is essential to decide your priorities and then research multiple models and their offerings to find the closest fit for you.

Once you have an idea of which models you prefer our suggestion is to visit a retailer where you can paddle them; the best indication of compatibility is always a test-run on the water as that is how you will be using it. Also, a retailer is equipped to help you with your decision if you’re still unsure, or to confirm the decision you’ve already made, as well as instruct you on any additional gear you may need.

Note: Before taking a kayak on the water please familiarize yourself with paddling safety guidelines and procedures. A course in paddle sports is recommended for your safety and also to ensure you possess the skills necessary to make your paddling experience an enjoyable one.

Q?What are the categories of kayaks?
A.

Kayaks can be broken down into two types (sit-in, sit-on-top) and four basic categories (recreational, touring, sea, whitewater):

Sit-in – Traditional enclosed kayaks with a cockpit opening.

Sit-on-top – Open kayaks without a deck or cockpit opening; allow for freer movement.

Recreational – Generally of short to medium length and intended for calmer waters; typically feature large open cockpits and wide, stable hulls. May be sit-in or sit-on-top.

Touring – Generally of medium length and intended for intermediate waters and longer trips; typically feature a skeg or rudder, generous storage space, and a hull of average width for stability and speed. May be sit-in or sit-on-top.

Sea – Generally of great length (over 15 feet) and intended for rough conditions and long trips; typically feature a skeg or rudder, generous storage space, and a narrow hull for speed and efficiency. Usually sit-in.

Whitewater – Generally of short length and intended for faster-moving water; typically feature a hull that is designed to become one with your body and ensure maneuverability. Usually sit-in.

Q?What is the difference between a rudder and a skeg?
A.

Skeg – A skeg lowers into the water along the axis of the kayak, improving the straight-line tracking of your kayak in certain conditions, but has no ability to control directional changes.
Rudder – A rudder helps straight-line tracking, but being directional it also aids turning. Useful for larger kayaks such as tandems, the rudder is not a replacement for proper kayak steering techniques; good technique can help you better control your boat.
Both skeg and rudder can be deployed and retracted while seated in your kayak by using the control system positioned to the right side of the cockpit.s.