NDK Explorer HV or Tempest 170

My son has shot up like a weed and his feet are beyond the foot pegs and about at the bulkheads of my present boats. I’m looking used and have considered the explorer HV (long legs and might need the deck bumps) and a WS Tempest 170 for him. Interested in hearing others take on how these boats might be similar and different for a 6’2"+, 150 lb.teenage kid to use. Still growing so not worried about some extra volume now. Which boat might be more user friendly (inital/secondary stability, tracking, turning, weathercocking etc.) in easy to moderate conditions? Well aware of the NDK quality control issues, but not interested in that for this occassion. Yes I will be trying to get him out to test them first, but might have to move on a deal first. Thanks

NDK Explorer
The Tempest is a good boat, and if he is skinny and long you may want to really look at the fit in the Explorer HV, make sure it isn’t too sloppy in the hips and the deck isn’t annoying high.

I can’t speak with knowledge about the handling etc of the Tempest, can comment on the Explorer hull. The stand-out aspect of the Explorer is that it has a fairly high amount of primary stability while maintaining a quite high secondary stability as well. That makes for a pretty forgiving boat that’ll let a paddler make a goodly amount of mistakes and still remain upright. It’s not fast - it has enough rocker to handle slop outstandingly, which makes for a boat that pretty much achieves average in its speed. Fitted properly, it’s also a relatively easy roller.

It’s a heck of a workhorse, a boat that’ll take you anywhere anytime and do it with a high degree of reliability in how it handles conditions. That may or may not make for a boat that’ll thrill your son depending on his goals.

Try both if you can
The Tempest was designed to directly compete with the Explorer, so I’m told. They should have similar handling characterisitcs.

I’ve only paddled a Tempest in flat water at a demo day, but I was impressed by the adjustable cockpit outfitting and the handling.

It’ll come down to a matter of small preferences, I think.


Tight Tempset
I am 6’ 2" and do not fit in a stock poly 170 Tempest … but I do fit in a Glass Tempest 170 and fit even better in a glass 180. I’d bet the fit in a poly 170 will be tight for him … but possibly the foot pegs could be repositioned or replaced with aluminum yakimas to give him more leg room. Why ??? would you want a HV boat just for leg room when you have other options? I consider a HV boat as one which you need the volume for gear storage or you are a really big person … and tall and skinny is not what I consider BIG. Impala Bob

Oh, to be so young again…and to have a Dad to buy me a kayak!! Wow.

I am 6’ 2" and 195 and had problems with the Explorer HV. Way too much room and with the lack of contact, made for some instability as well. I wouldn’t go for that boat unless I was over 6’ tall and over 225lbs…(with big thighs) Nothing wrong at all with the Explorer hull though!

Impex just came out with the new Force 5 kayak or Currituck which have more room than an OI (I am told) and yet turns easier too. Contact Danny at Impex (danny@impex.com) and maybe he can setup a demo. I would have recommended an Outer Island, but you mentioned easy turning as a condition. (need to edge)

Overall, I would go with a medium or low volume boat to give him good grip with his thighs and knees yet ensure he has decent foot clearance. If you need more volume, go with an Explorer or P&H Quest.

For big guys, the Explorer with a custom foam seat with handle big guys w/ long legs.

Consider skipping the foot pegs and just pad the bulkhead for a footrest. This affords adjustability and some serious foot support for interesting conditions.

I’m 6’1" 220# and paddle a Romany mostly with a foam seat. But then I like lower volume boats. I know people that have and love the HV but for many people it’s just too loose. Remember that comforatably snug boats seem to be the preference for most people.



you might try
a Gulfstream. It’s totally different but at 150lbs he’s not going to sink those high volume hulls down much. I don’t know about the Explorer but the Tempest really requires a skeg in wind especially when lightly loaded. The Gulfstream has a lot of footroom, is very easy to push at cruising speeds and to my mind is more conducive to developing good technique while the Tempest is responsive it’s of a particular style that requires good technique. The Gulfstream feels smaller on the water, easier to toss around as opposed to being tossed around. For a 150lb paddler he might feel more in control.

Standard Explorer
I often paddle a standard Explorer and am 6’2" and 225 pounds with a 36" inseam. I use the bulkhead as a footrest. If the boat weren’t officially my wife’s boat I’d yank the seat out and install the foam one. I’ve never had so much fun in a kayak than paddling the Explorer at the Skookumchuck tidal rapid in BC. Great boat! I would have loved to have a standard Romany or Romany HV there.

The Tempest would be a better choice for long legs in glass, than poly. The poly version’s footrest was way too tight for me and they use foam for the bulkhead. I personally would be uncomfortable with using a foam bulkhead for a footrest as I don’t think they are strong enough.

I only paddled the 170 at a demo day thing so other than good opinions on flatwater I have no experience in bouncier stuff. My friend has a poly 170 and the hatches leak like a sieve. Other than that he loves the boat.

Rob G

Gulf stream?
The Gulfstream is a pretty big boat, I weigh 160 and the dealer didn’t recomend one for me? He said I wasn’t big enough for the boat and I believe him. Hard to beat a NDK Explorer but I’m prejudiced having two NDK boats.

sort of
it’s fat in the middle but fairly rounded, the waterline is more what you’d experience with a shorter kayak. My impression is that for a 150lb paddler with long legs he’d have less problems in high winds with the Gulfstream than the Tempest.

The problem with the Gulfstream…
is that CHEEZY plastic bulkhead and CHEEZY extruded deck/hull seam. CHEEZY Plastic bulkheads may be lighter but they crack, numerous people’s I know have cracked. They cannot be used to mount a foot pump or padded for a footbrace. Double taped seems are much stronger than low budget, cost and corner cutting extrusions. It would be nice if CD offered this excellent design with these as standard features.

Hate to disagree but with a loat of 170
in the gulfstream you will see major weathercocking. this guy can handle a standard explorer and both boats are great; you just drop the skeg in the gulfstream.

I can’t comment on poly but when I was searching for the right boat in glass I demoed all three twice each and settled on the Tempest 170 Pro. I’m 5’8" and 170 lbs. and found all three handled well but the Tempest fit me best. I liked the Gulfstream second best but the cockpit was a bit too large for me and I was turned off by the plastic bulkheads.Perhaps the 180 Pro might be the better fit for him. For me the Tempest was the right choice, no doubt.

I Know Tempests
Can’t comment on the other boat. My buddy is 6’4" and is quite comfortable in the 170. However, at 150 pounds if the wind really picks up, your son will likely need some ballast.