NDK deck fittings

Don’t disagree Bnystrom…
The kayak industry is not as sophisticated as some may think. What you say is accurate, yet suprisingly hard it seems.

It’s only hard for some people
Most kayak manufacturers produce fine quality boats, with only occasional, intermittent problems. Moreover, I can’t think of any other manufacturer that doesn’t fix quality problems when they do occur. NDK is really an anomaly in that regard.

To produce the same crap year after year indicates to me that Nigel Dennis simply doesn’t care. That level of contempt for one’s customers and/or or cavalier attitude toward their safety is simply inexcusable. I fear that it’s going to take someone getting hurt or killed and a liability suit to finally wake him up.

The only things that come to mind…

– Last Updated: Jan-04-08 8:50 AM EST –

...are beer and aircraft engines. Hmmm. That could be a dangerous combination...

Wow, can’t go there with ya…
I believe that Mr. Dennis has done a great deal for the sport of sea touring. I also believe his boats to be overall very durable. yeah, some quirks for sure, but look at the track record world wide. My Romany was one highly flawed, yet tough boat.

Sounds like my SOF
But I’m only a “half-Brit”. Pretty sure the German half handled the design and most of the construction…

as a small business member…
…sometimes it’s a matter of someone being good at their craft but not so good at business relations. And it may be the attitude that “we’ve done great for this long, why change anything”.

NDK Quality
Rough numbers based on the reviews here on paddling.net. 62 NDK reviews 18 complaints ( not counting the constant issue of the lousy backbands) about quality issues. that puts us where at about 30% with qc issues… not very good . Tough boats they may be, but when I spend 3K for a boat it should have a better quality record. They are great to paddle but they have issues that should not be there in a boat of that cost.

Never had as issue with my seaward boats, my valley boats my perception boats… it can be done, NDK just chooses not to do it.

So be it, it all comes down to choice.

Knock On Wood
After I blew out the seat and replaced the “backband” I’ve had zero problems with my Explorer through heavy use. It’s my first NDK boat and I hope it continues to perform. It’s a tank.

'its a tank’
and that is their approach, slather on more fiber and more resin-that will fix the problem…rather than take the time and apply the skill…the boats may be durable but they are sloppy, and their durable only at the expense of your back. The reason they continue to sell is the mystique that is carefully brewed in the minds of BCU aspirants…when you look at the BCU and the established NDK dealers dont you get the feel for an AMWAY career? and it’s you the purchaser of an NDK ‘tank’ that keeps them driving the pink cadillacs…ooops, that’s Mary Kay

Poseidon fitting
A deck fitting on my Poseidon popped out when I was doing surf training with Nigel. He was very helpful on telling me how to fix it and probably would have fixed for me if I had let him. It was simple and easy with 5-minute epoxy. NDK boats may have annoying issues but they are well designed and most of the issues are easy fixes. I have read about many other manufactures on this board that have problems and there are not fixes for them. QCC has leaky hatches and poorly designed skeg control, Necky bulkheads leak, WS hatch covers, spider cracks on Valleys, etc. I do believe that NDK has improved their quality control and Nigel is trying to meet demand by producing as many boats as he can and as cheap as he can so he can stay in business. Nigel is not getting rich dumping cheap boats on the market.


That’s the real shame of it
Excellent designs, but crap construction.

They could easily be 10-15# lighter and at least as durable if they used better materials (a whole 'nuther discussion), but most people would probably be happy if they just fixed their quality problems.

Nigel is a horrible businessman

– Last Updated: Jan-05-08 8:20 AM EST –

He may be a great guy and an exceptional paddler, but he obviously doesn't know his butt from a hole in the ground when it comes to running a business. "Easy to fix" is not the point; one shouldn't NEED to fix these constant problems. Quality does NOT have to be sacrificed in order to increase production quantities or keep costs down. In fact, if NDK built better boats and had fewer returned, they'd probably be well ahead of the game both in terms of production and profitability. Improved quality would lead to increased sales and all the benefits that creates.

While NDK boats ARE "cheap" (as in "crappy"), they aren't "inexpensive". They charge as much as the market will bear and are priced at or above similar boats from other manufacturers. For that price, they should at least equal the quality of other boats.

There is NO defense for the shoddy way Nigel Dennis conducts business. IMO, he doesn't deserve to "get rich", as he's apparently not bright enough to realize that he's sitting on a potential goldmine if he would just get his act together, or license someone with a clue to produce his boats. If he's struggling financially, it's entirely his own fault. If he was smart, he would farm out the production to a reputable manufacturer, collect royalties and spend more time paddling. That works for the other Nigel...

“If he was smart, he would farm out the production to a reputable manufacturer, collect royalties and spend more time paddling. That works for the other Nigel…”

How many complaints to you year about shoddy/sloppy workmanship on Legends, etc? I have friends who have used their Foster boats hard to the point all, and I mean all, the gel coat was worn off the stern from being dragged while loaded onto rough, rocky shores and that is not due to poor or thin gel coat. Still going strong.

I suspect it is the variability in build quality that gets people frothing so to speak as opposed to a general lack of quality. Some are quite nice, some are nice but with minor issues, and some are problem children. Real crap shoot so close inspection needed and what do you do when you wait months and months for a custom order and it comes in with issues? Hard place to be.

That works for the other Nigel…

Nigel Foster has Seaward making three of his designs, Current Designs making another and soon Point 65 another.

Seaward has just about the absolute best reputation for quality control and Current Designs is very well respected.

Aled Williams has contracted the making of Tide Race boats.

For years now, many have wondered why Nigel Dennis doesn’t do the same. Certainly his designs are good enough that if combined with consistent build quality, sales would surge.

However, for whatever reasons, Nigel Dennis chooses to keep his absolute control of the manufacture of his designs. He has done so for 14-15 years and there is no reason to believe it will change.

Fortunately, the issues of NDK boats are well known. Fortunately, dealers/importers of NDK boats will replace or repair. Fortunately, there are a lot of good alternatives.

durability/tank like build
i gather it can be defined many different ways. i hope my boat holds up over the long haul as positively as some others have experienced. so far, if i compare it to some other boats, i would say the boat is not as tough. it is brittle, and the gel coat shows gouges quickly, which comes off down to the fiber. the bulkheads show white fractures where the resin has shattered where i have slid over rocks. mind you, i paddle around rocks nearly every outing and the rocks are nasty sharp all around our coast. any boat suffers here, but my Impex doesn’t show as much damage per contact as the Romany does. yet it is still early, maybe it’s just breaking in, and this stuff will settle.

as far as overall durability, there is one layup out there, not currently made, that blows all others out of the water. CD when in Victoria, had a layup they called ‘tufflam’ which was an extra heavy biaxial kevlar fabric, with bulkheads glassed on both sides, double glassed seams. vacuum bagged with vinylester resin. Michael Pardy (Handbook of Safety and Rescue) has one made at that time, and it is the stiffest, strongest sea kayak made. it was made to his order by his friends in the factory, all paddlers at the time, and it is unbelievably tough. he will paddle it anywhere, through the tight flushing rock slots, and it takes horrible impacts i am sure have broken his boat. it’s shocking, and the gel coat is stripped off over half the kayak, but the layup is untouched. the boat looks like it has been washed up in the surf for a couple of years, but it’s as rigid as ever. CD won’t make one like this anymore.

You just described my

– Last Updated: Jan-05-08 1:37 PM EST –

current boat built by Stoddard Aerospace... Only Carbon, glass, soric, infused. Insanely tough.

I read all this NDK bashing and reflect on the many nautical miles and abuse my old Romany endured. Absolutely not a perfect boat, but I sure had some great life experiences in it.

one off?
was this boat made custom for you or is it a publicly available layup? the Necky website describes their AC layup but doesn’t mention any different layups offered.

just a bit overboard

– Last Updated: Jan-18-08 1:49 PM EST –

You're welcome to your opinion but my NDK is not at all reflective of it. And when I got it I didn't even know what the eff "BCU" meant.

Those comments about amway and mary kay sound like something coming out of a child bitter with envy or insecurity.

NDK materials - another topic

– Last Updated: Jan-06-08 12:22 PM EST –

This has also been discussed at length and it comes down to Nigel using the cheapest possible materials and way too much of them in order to make a boat that's very stiff, but also prone to localized damage. Instead of using woven cloth, they use mat. It makes for a stiffer, but weaker layup and it soaks up much more resin than cloth, so it ends up much heavier. Adding thick gelcoat doesn't add to the durability of the layup as it has little structural strength, it just means you can go longer between gelcoat repairs on high-wear area. That minor benefit comes with a huge weight penalty and the thick, stiff gelcoat spider cracks badly.

Using cloth instead of mat results in a lighter more resilient hull that distributes impact forces over a large area and is much less prone to localized failure. Smart companies use structural foam in their laminates where they need extra stiffness, as it increases stiffness without adding significant weight. Thinner gelcoat flexes with the laminate and is less prone to spider cracking.

Using better materials will result in a stronger, more resilient, more durable layup that's easily 20-25% lighter. That's what most kayak makers do. Again, NDK is an anomaly in the industry.

JeezLouise, can NDK do anything right?