aquanaut LV / Nordkapp LV

-- Last Updated: Mar-17-07 12:38 AM EST --

Looking for a boat to add to my fleet.

Boats purpose: Rough water confidence and efficient long distance crossings.

Paddler: #140 5ft 6inches Not so great paddling skills.

Other Boat(s) in the fleet: Island Qaarsut. But this *new* boat will be located on the coast 1.5k miles away.

I am getting somewhat of a discount on a demo version of either boat.

Not looking for a LV or HV boat. Just a boat that I can fit a descent of stuff into when I have to and a boat that is manageable when its not loaded. And inspiring confidence would not be a bad thing either.

Can someone give me good spec comparisons between the two boats. Volume wise, secondary/primary stability wise etc.


NordkappLV/Aquanaut LV

They’re both great boats, suitable for your size and needs. Both are new so relatively untested but it’s likely that user response will be positive over time. The Nordkapp LV appears to have a bit more volume. Try them both if you can.

aqaunaut lv
Aquanaut LV will inspire confidence & excellent

rough water boat. Nordkapp LV I still have to

demo, but from what I read from other reviews

less secondary, but depends what your used to.

be honest
you can lose a lot of rough water comfort if you seek an extra few percent in speed/efficiency. Learning to roll is a must.

Island Expedition LV
How about the Island Expedition LV? Seems like it might be a good fit for what you describe as well, and you’re already familiar with the Island boats.


Well have paddled both of these

– Last Updated: Mar-18-07 1:30 PM EST –

kayaks side-by-side on a roughly 4-hour demo. Conditions were regrettably mild, so I was unable to test their limits. I liked them both, but they have very different personalities. For comparison I am a little larger than you at 5'8" and 153 pounds.
I was looking for an excellent “all-rounder” to replace my Tempest 165 Pro. I wanted a boat I could do a multi-day trip in, but one I would primarily use as a reliable day boat.

The Nordy LV is a fun and spirited boat to paddle. It has considerable rocker and about 1” less beam amidship than the Aquanaut. In short, it can turn on a dime. Forward speed is decent, but it’s not as quick as the Aquanaut. I found that I did not need to use the skeg to keep it on track, as was required in the Pintail I paddled the next day. Even though it carries a “LV” moniker the Nordkapp felt a bit large on me. If you check Valley’s specs on this boat they indicate that 180 pounds is the suggested median weight for a paddler. Yes, 140 lbs will fall within the suggested range, but a bit toward the low end. I would require additional foam outfitting to get a decent fit in the boat. I would rate the Nordy’s initial stability as low and secondary at moderate. The Nordkapp’s fore deck is rather high, but the aft deck was low enough to do lay-back rolls.

The Aquanaut LV does not have the Nordy’s rocker, so it is not as quick to maneuver, but it is still no slouch in the turning department. Forward speed in flat seas is better than the Nordy’s as indicated above. Valley’s specs the median weigh for this boat around 150, so it was not to surprising that the Aquanaut LV, was a considerably better fit on my body. The Aquanaut’s fore and aft decks are at least an inch lower than that of the Nordkapp and much more to my liking. I would rate both the Aquanaut’s primary and secondary stability as high.
I think you can see where I am going with this. The Nordkapp LV was a blast to paddle, but the Aquanaut LV was much closer to my needs and what I was expecting out of a kayak. I placed an order for a custom Aquanaut.

Some random thoughts:
• I did not care for Valley’s backband and neither do many other paddlers I have talked to. Valley had plans to replace it with another model in late ’06, but I understand that Valley is still shipping boats with the backband I demoed.
• 2006 lead times for a custom ordered Valley kayak was a bit long. My boat took over 4 months to arrive in GRO’s Rhode Island warehouse from the UK.
• Even in a standard glass lay-up I estimate that Valley’s current boats weight 5-6 pound lighter that they did just several years ago. They have made an effort to cut down on excess resin. The weight drop was noticeable when I hefted a 2006 demo glass boat off the floor.

Safe paddling,

I agree
Can roll. But in conditions … well when I am in the conditions …time will tell. I agree with you on the speed/confidence thing. Don’t mind loosing a little speed to gain some confidence.

tvcider sounds right
The above well summarizes the personalities of the two Valley boats.

The Aquanaut is a reassuring boat for intermediate to advanced paddlers. It is a fast boat which feels confident in conditions.

The Nordkapp is a looser boat, more fun but not particularly reassurring. It can handle conditions if you can handle it.

Great Comparisons…
When I ordered my Nord LV I had never paddled an Aquanaut, maybe I should have. :slight_smile:

I wanted a challenge and the Nord has been fun. Now after taking it camping it is part of the family and a keeper…


Okay, so it sounds like both boats need intermediate+ paddling skills …right? If thats the case wouldn’t I want a funner prettier boat (Nordkapp LV ;)).

Hmm … still don’t know which one … but am going to be at the Southwest sea kayak symposium next week and Valley is going to be there.

But one things for sure. After paddling my qaarsut …I definetly would like a boat with more volume for my legs (torso rotation) to move if I am doing a long haul.


Personality differences
The Nordkapp LV is more ‘fun’ in that it is a ‘livelier’ boat. This means lower stability and looser tracking.

Both boats are good boats, so mostly it should come down to which one you feel better paddling. This includes fit and performance characteristics.