HALP - P&H Classic Cetus - Valley Nordkapp H2O - P&H Quest Classic

Hi All,

Long time lurker, first time poster – Looking for some advice from the masses.
I’m not a super experienced paddler by any means. I’m 38 and have not paddled in a decade ( sadly).

6ft tall
size 13 ft.
Football player build / thick legs from the gym.
Average / Fit.

In my late teens and 20’s I paddled a fair amount. I used to be able to roll, self rescue ( back then).
I paddled mostly freshwater – Great lakes. Nothing too extreme.

I’ve only ever owned two boats.
** - Kevlar Composite Perception Eclipse Sea Lion**
Stable, BIG, Boring Boat.

** - Nordkapp HMC **
Fun. required 100% focus when paddling, Fast, Hard to turn.

Now, I’ve decided that I want to get back into sea kayaking.
I had my heart set on a P&H Cetus MV. While I fit, I found that my size 13 ft are become very uncomfortable after time. They are cramped with the deck height.
In the Cetus HV, I find that the boat is very roomy, perhaps too roomy and I don’t like how the HV handled empty.

Aside from the two boats I owned previously and these two Cetus’s I have no other paddling experience in any other craft.

Locally I’ve found 3 boats that are for sale that are all immaculate. For the price (under $1K Cad) I can’t really pass them up…
If I had the room, I’d pick up all three and test them out come spring, but being in the City (Toronto) I have to pay someone to store my boats so boat hoarding isn’t feasible either unfortunately! :slight_smile:

Would anyone here be able to give me a comparison from their own experience with these boats?
Is there anyone here with experience on all three?
Being winter here, it’s impossible to paddle anything for another couple months. I’d like to pick one of these boats up before the spring rush.
Any / insight/ comments or suggestions regarding these boats would be greatly appreciated.

**P&H Cetus Classic ( Kevlar / Composite) **
I seem to fit really well in this boat. It’s between the MV and HV and feels “just right”

**Valley Nordkapp H2O Composite **
Cockpit is a bit tight on the hips, but that’s how I remember my old HMC. I wore that boat as a tight fit too. I really enjoyed it and wished I had never sold the boat.
I’ve heard the H2O is the best of all the boats combined for speed, tracking and stability? Can anyone chime in with their experience?

**P&H Quest Classic Composite **
I have absolutely no experience with this boat and have yet to go sit in it. How does it compare to the two above?

Lastly, I intend to paddle Lake Ontario, Lake Superior and the Atlantic Ocean around Nova Scotia and Newfoundland.
Day paddling, minimal surfing and a couple weekend tripping excursions at 2-3 days duration.

Thanks for your help!

I own the P&H Quest LV, which I understand isn’t just a lower deck, but a modified hull from the classic to account for less weight. Plenty of room for shoe size 11’s in that one. I know 2 very experienced paddlers who paddle the standard Quest. I’ve used mine, and seen the others used in moderate surf a fair amount. It’s primary stability, by Cetus standards, is a little lower, more similar to the Nordkapp. All you have to do to edge is lift one side of your butt. There’s no need to pull up on a thigh brace. It’s secondary stability is more well-defined than a Nordkapp. The LV certainly handles nicely in seas, has good speed potential, and it maneuvers pretty readily on edge.
Given the Cetus feels just right, I would suggest going with that. Given the Nordkapp is tight on the hips, I would definitely rule that out, because in my opinion, that’s bad on many levels, forward stroke and maneuvering on top of basic comfort. If you can try on a Quest, give it a go. I’m certainly a fan of the Quest LV, and know the Quest to be an all-around performer if you’ve got the chops to appreciate the stability profile. Back when the Quest was first designed, it was considered stable in reference to boats like the Sirius and Bahiya, but the Cetus takes stability to another level.

Hi SuperGoose

I’ll second the Cetus Classic (besides the P&H Team Paddler bias). I had that model at my Store when it was first out. It has much more rocker than the current Cetus HV. It requires the paddler to be >210lbs to perform at it’s peak. At the right weight range it is well behaved on an even keel and extremely nimble on edge for a 17’10" kayak. The Quest will fit your feet as well but it will come to whether you want a harder tracking kayak or more play potential. The Cetus does also have that snack hatch on the front deck.

See you on the water,
Marshall Seddon
The River Connection, Inc.
9 W. Market St.
Hyde Park, NY
845-229-0595 main
845-242-4731 mobile
Main: www.the-river-connection.com
Store: www.the-river-connection.us
Facebook: fb.me/theriverconnection

Thank you for the responses and input above.

I’ve paid for the Cetus Classic and will pick it up next week once my spot opens up in the harbour storage.
Would anyone here have a link or a copy to an old brochure with the specs or build options for the Cetus Classic?

Also does anyone know how to determine the the build date based on the serial number?

That said, I’m still considering the Nordkapp. Something is telling me I should buy it because it’s an H2O which is fairly rare here in Canada. Can anyone chime in on the Nordy?

Lastly, is there a consensus on paddles these days?
A decade ago Werner carbon paddles were all the rage. I see lots of competition in the market these days. Anything in particular to look out for?

Thanks again!


Plenty of options and info out there on the Werners.

I would give the Lendal Storm, Cadence and Voyager a look.


See you on the water,
Marshall Seddon
The River Connection, Inc.
9 W. Market St.
Hyde Park, NY
845-229-0595 main
845-242-4731 mobile
Main: www.the-river-connection.com
Store: www.the-river-connection.us
Facebook: fb.me/theriverconnection