NDK Explorer vs Explorer LV

What are the recommended paddler weight ranges for the two models. I was told recently by a NDK dealer that I was (140#) on the upper limits of the Explorer LV and that the Explorer may also work.

So go me thinking about the question above.


Don’t Know for Sure
I’d see if the LV will fit you. I’d say 140 lbs. is a bit small for the Explorer, but you could watch, “This is the Sea” DVD and change my (your) mind.

Who’s got the Explorer for sale? I’m looking for one.


Same hull

According to the NDK website, the hulls are essentially the same. The difference is in the deck and cockpit size. I’d go for the one that’s a better fit.

I have the LV
Listen to Brian - the two boats have exactly the same hull, in the LV they just brought the deck down an inch (basically have it as low as it can go) and put in a smaller cockpit.

I think either you misunderstood what the dealer meant by the top end (was it Tom?), or you weren’t talking to someone who understood what was LV about this boat. I am 135 pounds, up or down by 5 pounds depending on how good I’ve been and how much water is in my PFD hydrator, and the boat is sitting with an inch of space under the EXPLORER labels on the side until I put a decent amount of gear into her. And I need to trim the bow on the heavy side for a lightly loaded paddle, unless I am looking for the loosey-goosey behavior. In sum, 140 pounds is if anything a bit light for this hull.

However, get back to that cockpit - it is best described as an ocean cockpit with a keyhole in front of it, takes an extra small skirt (SnapDragon) that is on the “gotta ask for it special” side of most manufacturer’s lines, and the interior deck height has been lowered enough that guys’ size 12 feet are going to be a real problem. The cockpit fit, deck height etc is more likely what whoever you were talking to meant, and the only way to tell is to sit in one.

At 5’4" I love this cockpit - it’s big enough that I can sit into it then slide my legs under and can do a wet re-entry, but tight enough that I can leave legs relaxed along the bottom and know that the thigh brace will be there for me instantly. This is a kind of luxurious fit that is not available in any other cockpit I have found out there in a sea kayak, except the Impex Force 3 comes pretty close. But you do need to be able to get in and out…

I’m over
140 and the LV fits me like a glove. Of course if I don’t lose a bit of weight before my first camping trip of the season I might be in for a wet ride.

All I know is from the moment I sat in the LV, on dry land, I knew I was going to buy it.


LV vs Reg
At your weight, you could go either way. I weigh more and use a regular explorer and find that it is a bit too big for me. Too much of the bow is out of the water when paddling empty.

I know of at least one woman who sold her LV as her leg length made the LV uncomfortable to paddle. She is probably about 5’8"-10".

I use mine primarily for camping and so when using, it is well loaded.

190 lbs
I had no trouble getting into and paddling the Explorer LV at 6’2" and 190lbs. The cockpit was just snug though I am used to low volume boats. I still had 2 inches of freeboard when I took my kit and had no boat performance issues. Felt just like a regular Explorer on the water except not so loosey-goosey.

I sold it as I just don’t like keyhole cockpits.


true lv’s coming
there is talk of both ndk and vally coming out with true lv boats (avocet and redesigned romany) NARROWER HULL to complement the lower deck and smaller keyhole. this is welcome news (if true)since it will allow lighter paddlers to properly sink the hull!

How much narrower?
Kiyiwana, I thought the LV was already a narrow boat, or is it still the regular 21.5"? What’s the redesigned width going to be?

Might want to take out an Impex Force 3 at 20"x10.5" deck height. My wife absolutely loves hers. At 5’2" and a lighter weight than me (not a safe topic to guess at)

Let me know if you’d like to go out and play with a 3, have another in the fleet. (No one paddles the wife’s kayak) :wink:

See you on the water,



Boat Width
Explorer LV is the same width as the regular (which is narrow by older North American design standards)

For what it’s worth, my Vela is maybe an inch narrower atop, but because of the hull shape is more like an inch and a half narrower at the waterline, and I can really feel and appreciate the difference. For a 5’4" paddler, chopping an inch off these widths would make a more significant change than most people realize.

The difference…
Celia, you’re on target.

Many novices that come into my showroom look at measurements as shorter is easier to deal with on the land or narrower means it’ll be tippier. What they don’t immediately realize is This is small changes in measurements, 6" in length here, and inch of width there, will change the performance and entire character of a well made performance kayak. This is why I do so many pool sessions and test paddles because you can ohhh and ahhhh over a pretty new kayak in the showroom but until you have it on water you have no real idea if that configuration will “Click” with you or if you’re going to have an allergic reaction to that model of kayak.

Buy your last boat first.

(Although a golf bag has more than one club in it and new toys are always so much fun, never mind.) :wink:

See you on the water,


Hyde Park, NY

Measures cont…

– Last Updated: Mar-07-07 2:30 PM EST –

Actually the overall width of the Vela is 1/4" less than an Explorer or Romany. However, as Celia noted, the angle of the chining of the Vela results in an apparently significantly narrower waterline beam than an Explorer. Its rounder hull under the cockpit add to the Vela's liveliness.

An Aquanaut and Explorer have very similar overall measures (exactly the same over all width), yet the Aquanaut's waterline is as much as an inch narrower and 1.5 inches longer than the Explorer. The differing hull profiles both in cross section and run account for most of the difference in feel between these two boats.

Small differences in waterline measures and profile can make big differences in the feel of a boat.

don’t know any explorer for sale (used)

Not sure who has one for sale at a good price. I watch TITS and thats why I am scratching my head. Justine paddles one and a few other “gals” … dunno what height weight they are though. Plus I did not see a Explorer LV in any of the videos and some of the paddlers looked fairly small.

not tom
Was another reputable dealer (BBB from WA). I just probably misunderstood. I know the explorer well (paddled one) and I definetly felt it a bit loose. My thoughts are that if its the same hull and its only an inch difference …then why not just get a explorer and foam it out! (easier to find used ones). Yes it may weathercock a bit more …but …

On a quick glance at the pics online, it appears that the widest part of the boat may be in pretty different places between the Vela and the Explorer (LV). It looks like it is somewhere forward of the seatpan in the Explorer, maybe up nearer my knee, but at or just behind the hip in the Vela.

Assuming the stated dimensions of the boats are the maximum, this would make a difference in how wide each boat each felt thru the forward stroke.

Interesting - worth a tape measure when the temps come up into the 30’s again and it’s safe to stand under the porch.

Swede Form v Fish Form?
Fish form is widest ahead of the cockpit, Swede form behind.

Swede form is considered faster through the water, while Fish form is more stable. Many Brit boats compromise and are widest at the cockpit.

Fish form is more stable?
That comment was a bit sweeping (technically, same for swede = speed), no?

I’d wager the “lower stability” many associate with swedeform isn’t from that at all, but rather because designers interested in efficiency though the water (and in paddle stroke) prefer swede - and their performance bias also naturally extends to other hull features that DO impact stability.

In other words - it’s a coincidence.

Feel will be different with volume at hips vs forward of paddler, but that doesn’t mean stability has to suffer. Primary and secondary in my QCC are not all that different from an Explorer, or even a Pintail for that matter, but speed and handling vary considerably. What feels “better” depends mostly on what you’re used to.

Personally I prefer volume near my hips rather than having to reach forward around it. The kayak doesn’t need to feel stable - I DO! So I want the volume around my COG, not that of the empty hull.

Brit boats are fishy due to Greenland ancestry, but note that if the max width is at the cockpit (masik on most SOF) and the cockpit is aft of center (most SOF) then odds are just good they’ll be closer to symmetrical (many) or even swedeform relative to the kayak center. Using the cockpit as center can give the wrong idea.

To further complicate - most people are looking at the deck and not the hull. It’s is quite possible to have a fishform deck appearance with a swedeform hull and vice versa (and add symmetrical and anything in between to really mix it up).

To be sure you’d almost have to look at the waterplane area, at a given displacement, and compare area/distribution of either end from center.

PS - Fishform is faster for submarines, and of course fish. Full immersion has different hydrodynamics than surface interactions - so you are not wrong about the speed potential - but with kayaks this likely has more to do with a narrower catch and better stroke mechanics than anything. All 3 forms can have pretty similar drag - all else equal - but all else is never equal…

I was trying to be careful to say ‘considered’ and not assert facts of performance. I have these impressions mostly from reading discussions here.