Explorer vs Shadow-I Made My Decision

A friend and I drove to San Diego on Friday to make my final decision about what boat to buy. I was looking at both the NDK Explorer and the Nigel Foster Shadow.

We couldn’t have asked for better conditions for a test paddle. I jumped into the Explorer first since I had never paddled it and we went out to the entrance of Mission Bay to the ocean.

Because of the high surf we have been having, there were 5 foot breaking waves rolling in and reflecting off of the jetty on one side of the channel. In addition, the tide was going out against the waves and there was a very strong current that we found very difficult to paddle against.

The Explorer handled beautifully, but the lower than I am used to, back deck made the backband hit me very low. Soon my abs and butt were both killing me. My partner mentioned that when he got a boat with that low a back deck that it took him several months of sit-ups before he could paddle his normal distances.

I was resigned to that and thought I get used to it. However, even though my muscles ached, I still had to try the Nigel Foster Shadow.

Jen Kleck of Aqua-Adventures gave me a tip on how to get over its tippiness when not moving. I tried it and it worked.

Then I started paddling it and all of my pain went away. It felt terrific. The boat handled like a dream in the rough stuff. It surfed well, and I had no need to use the skeg.

Carving turns was amazing. I could steer the boat with just my knees. No need to start a turn with a sweep stroke first - just edge it and it turns.

Two years ago when I first paddled the Shadow, I said it would be my next boat.

Now it’s official, I have a brand new one on order and should have it in a few weeks.

As per above … I am bummed you
were not able to try my 19 as a third darkhorse… It was born for those conditions and gets better as the wind comes up.

Uncorkthe wine! You’ve show us the lable

– Last Updated: Jan-02-06 9:27 PM EST –

what was the tip? All shadow owners are dying to hear!!!!!

“gave me a tip . . .
on how to get over its tippiness when not moving.”

Well, will you tell us. I need all the help I can beg, barrow or steal.


It’s really easy.
While you are standing up, just cock your hip to one side so most of your weight is on one foot.

That’s what you want to do while sitting in the boat. Just put your weight onto one cheek.

When I did that and stopped trying to fight the boat wanting to sit on one chine or the other, the tippiness left and it was very comfortable.

I did find that I have an "on-side and off-side cheek. Was a little disconcerting when I had to sit on my off side in order to lean into some waves that were coming at us.

Still it was stable though.