better Sea Kayak

I currently own an older Wilderness Systems Cape Horn. I am looking to upgrade to a new, perhaps better kayak (I do really like the Cape Horn though) I am very fascinated by the Valley Knordkapp, but am apprehensive about the durability. Can anyone suggest some others to look at or give me there recommendations please. I like to Kayak in the Chesapeake Bay and I also like to go on 3/4 day camping trips out of my kayak. I would like something as big as the Cape Horn, but maybe a bit more responsive. Thanks for any suggestions.

PS: Paddlesport cancelled this year, so are there any other big shows where you can try out kayaks?

Valley Nordkapp
I would really make sure you tried before you bought on the Nordie. Regardless of what model you get, it has a strong personality and you want to make sure you like it before sinking the bucks. And the Norkapp LV is not particularly wedded to an upright position, though it rolls like a dream. I have one that just needs some replacement hatch covers to be ready for the water. Lots of boats out there, many good ones.

Don’t need no Show
You couldn’t test paddle at Paddlesport anyway.

Try dealers that have demo programs.

I’d recommend (depending on fit)

North Shore Atlantic

North Shore Ocean 17

P&H Cetus

Lincoln Isle au Haut

Let me know when you want to go play. Hudson isn’t frozen, yet.

See you on the water,


The River Connection, Inc.

Hyde Park, NY

Well, if you can wait til June you can go down to App River Co’s demo day, though last time they were real light on “real” sea kayaks.

Alternatively, I’m likely not too far from you. I have a P&H Capella, Impex Montauk, and a CD Gulfstream you could always try. I also have a WS Arctic Hawk, but that’s likely not what you’re looking for (nor would it be easy to find one if you did decide you wanted one).

Nordkapp LV
Definitely do try the Nordkapp LV though.

For my personal style it is nearly perfect, combining speed and lively agility in any conditions on the water.

The skeg compensates well for the substantial rocker and improves paddling characteristics on windy crossings.

It rolls over as easily as it rolls back up, but has never felt “unstable” while sitting or paddling.

Depends on what is "unstable"
My husband loved the boat and I have found it reasonably solid myself, though I haven’t had it in anything challenging and I am small for it so I get some advantage.

But my husband, who was within its range for weight, found that he had more chances to practice his roll in it than in his Aquanaut or his Romany. Both of us had some time in more challenging stuff, so this is hardly a newbie response. One time it happened when he leaned not very much to take some river vegetation off the bow of a bow he was next to. He would not have gone over in either of those other two boats, especially the Romany of course. But he spun around handily in the Nordlow.

I appreciate that for more seasoned paddlers you will get used to this boat and find it fully within what you would call stable. But for paddlers coming from older North American boats, like this paddler, IMO it could be a very different experience.

Personally, that boat is not leaving my fleet even with my husband gone. I am going to take this season to get my mojo back up and give it a chance before I decide it is one to thin out. But given that stability means a lot of different things to different people, it is not a boat that I would predict for people who haven’t got seat time in it.

second that
I spent some time in an unloaded Nordkapp last summer. One one hand, it was telepathic with rolls. But it was definitely more tender off center than my kayak. I think if I did more trips I’d really want to master one.

Check this forum out

Maybe someone could let you try out there’s if someone has one.

Wilderness Systems Zephyr?
I am about to put my WS Zephyr 16 on the market for sale. Its a few years old. I love it. Only problem is I lost 90 Lbs. and I want something snugger.

If you can
I would suggest trying out a Current Designs Caribou.

Thanks ! I went to the App River Demo day about 8 years ago and remember it being more fishing boats and sit on tops. I did get a nice Aqua Bound paddle there though! Maybe I will check it out again this year.

Celia, do you know if the Avocet has more stability than the Nordkapp. I have heard good things about it, but I don’t personally know anyone who has either boat.

A couple comments as I have experience in both.

Both boats have soft chines on a moderate V hull. The Avocet is about an inch wider, 18" shorter, less rocker, and feels a lot less twitchy.

The Avocet is intended for smaller paddlers and didn’t fit me at all.

One other point is that there are many different models of “Nordkapp”. Each has different handling characteristics dependent on loading and in different conditions. I only have experience with the “LV”.

Necky Looksha?
If you like the big ruddered boat, maybe check out a Necky Looksha?

Kayak Centre of Rhode Island

– Last Updated: Jan-13-16 3:50 PM EST –

Was mistaken with your location - it seams that Marshall has to much time on his hands.

The Kayak Centre of Rhode Island Full size Boat shop.

Dealers of:
North Shore
Wilderness Systems
Current Designs

On water Demo's Every Day!!

NO Sale Tax on Kayaks!!

"You live south of Boston - The Kayak Centre of Rhode Island is your closest Full size Boat shop."

BREI did plate tectonics relocate the Kayak Centre to VA where the OP is writing from?

I think Annapolis Canoe and Kayak or Potomac Paddlesports might be a tad closer than RI. Unless you’re flying into Richmond from Providence, my Full Size Boat Shop (Showroom actually) is closer to VA.

See you on the water,


The River Connection, Inc.

Hyde Park, NY

P&H, Valley, North Shore, Venture and Lincoln Kayaks

Was mistaken with your location - looked at johnysmoke

It seams that Marshall has to much time on his hands.

I have several boats, QCC 700, Epic 18X Sport, Gulfstream, NC 17, Dagger 14, and Delphin, plus a Nordkapp RM. I enjoy the Nordie in the ocean. It can handle more rough water than I am willing to try. When I first got it I thought it was too tender for me. After about 3 weeks, we settled in together and are now fast friends. Don’t let initial tenderness frighten you away. I promise that you will get use to it. My only complaint is that the RM model is heavy for an old man to do a lot of lifting onto the SUV. I keep it at the beach and use a cart to get to the water’s edge. Here at home, about 200 miles away I am going through the same adjustment with the Epic. I love my Nordkapp and never miss a chance to climb into it for a fun afternoon.

From a bit of time in both…

– Last Updated: Jan-13-16 8:38 PM EST –

Avocet in rougher stuff than the Nordkapp LV - I would call the Avocet much more forgiving in terms of staying upright for a paddler.

Note above, I am a small paddler. Can't say how it would be for someone bigger. We have several guys around here for whom it is their go to boat and all weigh more than me, but none of them is an unusually tall person.

In addition to my own sense of the Avocet being kindly, I was on a meetup paddle this last summer where a very hesitant paddler made it across in an Avocet. Things were mildly interesting and this paddler was brand new to the Avocet, froze up because they couldn't put mojo into directional control. So they were stiff and less than responsive.

The Avocet stayed upright handily for them. The same paddler in a Nordkapp LV would have been in the drink more than once. The paddler would have been the cause of the capsize for sure, but my point is that the Avocet forgave them that.

That said, the fact that the Avocet did need some real directional control from the paddler in those conditions may be a characteristic that is very different from your Cape Horn. The older north american designs were made for more of a go straight go ahead crowd than the more maneuverable boats like the Avocet. How much of the forward speed characteristics of the Cape Horn do you want to keep in your new boat? Avocet and its kin are slow.

The regular Nordkapps are faster hulls overall than the LV, but the LV is plenty slick thru the water. I don't think the LV is at all a poor choice for someone willing to get used to them. It is a sweet boat. It just doesn't take much for it to go by that secondary point where traditional North American boats often slow and hold the paddler. In either direction.

Like I said, I am not having this boat leave my own fleet. At least not for a while. But as much as my husband loved it, when he was not on his game he chose the Aquanaut to paddle in because he could make more mistakes. Hence my caution to try before buying if it is the LV.

Which Cape Horn
I think they made a 14,15, and a 17. We have the 15 and I like the Dagger Alchemy L a lot better for rough water trips, surfing , or river trips. I think our Dagger has more room for camping gear as well.