If you use a canoe, you will scratch the surface. For a Royalex boat, that means you will scratch the vinyl top layer.
So what? That's why the vinyl layer is there. You want to put a possibly less durable top layer over the vinyl, like auto paint? Why?
I don't see why this is relevant. Paddling is relevant. Protecting the boat against ordinary abrasion is not relevant, not unless or until you wear through the vinyl and expose the ABS structural layer to sunlight, which over time can damage it.
My Mad River Synergy, a ww tandem that I paddle solo, was bought around 1998. I have used in on rivers all over the lower 48 states. It has been my main paddle craft as I extended the number of states in which I have paddled to about 41.
Of course there has been a lot of scratching of the vinyl topcoat. There have been a few dents. So what?
About four years ago, the vinyl topcoat wore through in a few spots. This happened right under my solo pedestal position. At first, I just spray painted over the damage, to protect the ABS. Not that any sun damage was going to happen quickly.
No paint I could applied would have made a difference for long. Paint is not hard enough, and is not thick enough. Eventually, I removed the vinyl from the damaged area (using a low angle chisel, NOT by sanding) and then I put on a two layer S-glass patch using epoxy resin. That patch has resisted all damage since then.
S-glass is the hardest boat cloth that can be used for such purposes, and E glass is the next hardest.
Paddle the boat, and don't have fantasies about protecting the surface from abrasion. Most such damage is not worth worrying about, and when it becomes consequential, you'll need some boat cloth and epoxy for a functional repair.
Deck Rigging Gear
Recreational Kayak Paddle
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