kayak recommendations

Currently paddle a composite Capella 163,have no issues with the boat but am looking to add another boat this spring. The boat must track considerable better than the 163 (less rocker) and be considerable faster. Thinking of demoing the Impex Cat 3 HV, Cat 4,

the Outer Island, and the Valley Nordkapp LV. Boat will not have to carry large quantities of gear, maybe overnight, mostly day trips of 20 miles. I am 5’11" 175 lbs. What do you all think of my choices? Anything else I should consider? I am partial to British boats.

Interesting array of boats
"Impex Cat 3 HV, Cat 4,the Outer Island, and the Valley Nordkapp LV"

All good boats each with a different personality. All three Impex boats you note are trackers. The Outer Island is also a fun rolling boat. All the boats you list will feel faster than your Capella.

The Nordlow is very quick and accelerates about the best of any sea kayak I’ve paddled. It tracks well but is a looser and more playful boat than the others. It has a lot of rocker and very little volume in the bow and stern.

The Impex Force/Cat boats are more reassuring than the Nordlow and have more volume than either the Outer Island or Nordlow. The Aquanaut is the Valley boat closest to the Force/Cat boats in personality.

If at all possible demo the boats in the array of conditions you plan to paddle. The personalities of boats become more pronounced as the seas and winds get more interesting. A boat you love on a calm day maybe one you hate when the going gets tough. Conversely, a boat that is not thrilling on a calm day may come alive in conditions in a way you love.

I tried…
I tried those boats. I have been a fan of Impex boats and have one (Assateague), but wanted a sportier boat. The Impex Force boats just did not feel right in the cockpit. They hurt my thighs, and the skeg control protruded too far into the cockpit. Granted I am much bigger, but when I got into a Nordkapp, it was like Cinderella and her slipper. It just fit. Everywhere.

So, they are all good boats, but ask yourself… is this the boat for me if I have to change this and that and add foam here etc. If you find one that fits well… and paddles well… you will know it is the one for you. BTW, my Nordkapp paddles really well and rolls like a beer can in a bathtub.

Nigel Foster Legend
P&H Quest LV

I don’t know if the Legend is considered a “Brit” boat or not, but these are both faster and track stiffer than the Capella. They are 2 more exceptional kayaks. There are so many that you could try, and what you think of them will depend a lot upon your ability. But if there’s some skill behind it, there is a heck of a lot to appreciate in these two.

Force 4

– Last Updated: Jan-28-10 12:18 PM EST –

The Force 4 fits a nitch of it's own. It has relatively good tracking yet never any complaints of it's turning ability. Faster than any of the NDKs and much more stable than a Nordcapp. Good day tripper or over-nighter. I paddle with 4 of them on occasion and they surf well too. Since you have a shorter more play boat, this would fill out your inventory.

Naturally, you have to try it and a lot of others too. There's many boats by many manufacturers I like so I'm just describing a boat that fits kind-of into a category of it's own.

Nigel Foster Legend
I have both a Foster Shadow (1 inch wider) and a plastic Capella 166. The Foster boats are faster and track extremely well.

Be careful though, they do take some getting used to. Initially, it will feel very twitchy compared to the Capella.

I have a Pungo
you should get a Pungo. Is is stable and is great for kayaking…

Sorry, couldn’t resist.

What’s the deal with Pungo’s. There are a lot of cheeper yaks out there, I was just wondering how Pungo’s got the bad rap?

lots of good choices
Chatham 18

Rockpool whatever it is


Any surf ski

Will not consider
Epic or any other boat made in China.

Ditto what he said! (above post)

– Last Updated: Jan-29-10 6:27 AM EST –

There are many boats available from companies that haven't gone to Chinese labor yet.

Not a hit on Pungo’s really
Someone put up a make-your-own-movie that spoofed some of the long term discussions on pnet about expeditioning, iconic boats like the Nordkapp and skills ratings. They happened to use a Pungo as the boat one of the characters wanted to use to paddle around the south end of Africa. They could have used any rec boat I guess, but the Pungo was a good choice because it is very recognizable.

The reality is
that Pungos are really nice rec boats.

The spoof is pretty funny though.


Epic 18X Sport

– Last Updated: Jan-30-10 10:05 AM EST –

I love my Epic 18X Sport. It got Freya around Australia with all her gear. The Sport is a little wider at the waterline than the regular 18X, so it feels more stable, but it still very fast. I got a new one from Epic (Kevlar, Carbon, Fiberglass layup) for $1,800 (blemished). Normally it is $3,000. It is only 41 pounds.

(P.S. The Chinese are wonderful people and they make great kayaks)

It is the most awesome kay ak.

if you want considerably faster

– Last Updated: Jan-29-10 2:58 PM EST –

then you'll have to paddle considerably harder. As long as you're paddling considerably harder do you want something that is considerably faster than a British sea kayak? What I mean is what is it that is special about a British sea kayak when your criteria is speed and non-Chinese construction?

Check out QCC and West Side boat shop if you want speed and domestic US construction.
Oh, Current Designs Nomad/Extreme is a much faster boat than the Capella but not like the QCC or WestSide boats but at that speed you are putting out a LOT of hp.

I’m am an “Intermediate” paddler and I have never rolled my Pungo.

I didn’t have much of a choice as I have two son’s so I bought three kayak’s at the cost of one really good fiberglass model. But I really like the Pungo compared to my SOT Manta Ray.

I think I said this in your last thread:

I’m 6’3, 195# and love mine… this is my second Valley and both are great all around ocean kayaks…

If you have good balance and good reflexes and learn to brace, roll, etc, the NLV is a pleasure to paddle in any conditions…

Valley boats…
I think you should really try an Aquanaut. It not only tracks better than your Capella and produces less drag above 4.5 knots than most Brit boats, but is the best mannered kayak I’ve paddled in challenging conditions.

If you want thrills in a quick boat, it is hard to beat the Nordkapp LV. It thrives in lumpy water. The Nordlow runs through chop and clapitos with greater ease than any other boat I’ve paddled. It is not a boat for the faint of heart. Its secondary has been called ‘transparent.’ It rolls faster than most kayaks and rewards a confident paddler.

There is some basis for the old saying “There’s nothing like a Valley.”

Outer Island
I have the Impex Outer Island and absolutely love it. The fit of the cockpit is different than the Force series (better IMO) but you will have to be content with a more straight legged position. It’s perfect for Greenland rolls, is fast and tracks really well. The only complaint I’ve ever heard is that it’s difficult to turn but I have no problem once it’s on edge.