NDK Explorer???

A good composite bulkhead…
can be used as a footrest or pump surface. Many boats that offer them can come with a specific length in order to accomodate that purpose. Nothing wrong with it at all as long as the manufacturer understands they will be used that way. The boats we have with bulkheads understand that and were made for it.

Many fine instructionals, (Foster or Hutchinson) talk about it. Lots of narratives as well (Duff).


“I’d never use a bulkhead for anything other than holding back water. Not a good practice, IMO.”


– Last Updated: Jul-02-07 5:26 PM EST –

People sure do like them NDK boats!

Quote: "Her observations after paddling one for the last 3 months is probably the most objective I've heard: "It's a very good boat in big water, but it's not the magic bullet I was led to believe it to be"".

I haven't exactly seen anybody call them "magic bullets" and I hope that such characterizations would be ignored (since they are unrealistic).

I have no idea how tall or big your wife is, but boats often perform quite differently with different paddlers.

No boat can be a "magic bullet" because all sea kayaks are rather similar (heresy alert). That is, when talking about boats, I believe we are talking about a 20% difference (sometimes less) rather than a 100% difference.

Paddling rough water is inherently difficult. A particular boat might make this a bit easier for a particular paddler but the boat won't eliminate the difficulty.

Quote: "However, she did say it made her more confident in rough water".
That's a pretty big deal.

NF Legend
1) Good enough for the other “Nigel” to paddle in conditions.

2) Much more fun on flat water than an Explorer. Sweeeeeeeeet glide and carves like a knife through butter.

3) Seaward has as good of QC as anyone out there (shields up to deflect attacks from the Borg/QCC faithful;-).

4) Lots of used/demo’s available. In fact, there is a fine looking Lime/White kevlar boat in the pnet classifieds right now. Jim M. is a car salesman in at his day job, so I’m sure there is some “wiggle room” in that price. Otherwise, call Chris Banner direct at Seaward for an ex-demo.

5) Explorer has a better cockpit layout for guys our size, but that can be fixed right quick with minicell.

6) Both have strange backbands - replace with back support of your chosing. You like the IR reggie if I recall correctly.

7) Don’t fall into the “I’m on the East Coast now, so I must paddle a “Brit-Boat” trap.” Next thing you know, you’ll be decked out in Reed-Chillcheater gear, making tea from a Kelly Kettle, whilst wearing your storm cagoule.

8) Sua Sponte - Build yourself a boat. That may be the only way you’ll be satisfied.

Looking forward to hooking up for a paddle with you soon…


Boat bulding

“Build yourself a boat. That may be the only way you’ll be satisfied.”

Boat building is way cool but it’s a risky way of getting a boat. The big problem is that they can be hard to demo and they probably are hard to get rid-of if they don’t work out.

You can buy something that is designed to appeal more or less to the general populace. Even, high-end, specialized (i.e. quirky) boats like the Valley AA, Greenlander pro, QCC, Eddyline, etc. are to some degree a compromise to appeal to a given group of people.

If you build yourself a boat, it is guaranteed not to be what you expected the first time through. But in the process you will have gained some degree of understanding of how design relates to function and you will have developed a set of skills in fabrication that should allow for infinite refinements in design in the future. Basic continous quality improvement cycle: Plan, Do, Study, Act, repeat. A recipe not only for druggery at work, but a lifetime of creative expression in the context of boat-building.

Come to think of it, I think my Legend hould have a little less beam and lower decks, but I’m not willing to go to a Silhoutee and sacrifice the manuverability … I may have just had my epiphany. See you all on at kayakforum.com.

Peace out

There are a few

– Last Updated: Jul-02-07 8:04 PM EST –

local "gurus" who people tend to listen to that strongly infer that Explorers are the only boats for "serious paddlers". Fortunately, there are some really good, and even better, paddlers who don't believe that, and keep up with them in rough water just the same. And they have their disciples, too, even if they don't want any.

And in my girlfriend's case, one of those guys is terrified of her Silhouette, and openly questioned her judgement in buying it. It affected her perception of the boat, and her approach to being proficient with it. I have no doubt that the new boat does make her more confident, but I wonder just how much of it is psychosomatic -- she was very confident in the aforementioned Arluk, and while I'm a fairly topheavy guy, I don't find the Silhouette twitchy at all.

Nothing other that experience and practice will make you a better paddler. The boat is way down the list of things that affect your overall skills.

I saw a kevlar Boreal holed by Yakima rollers when the dealer reefed down to hard on the tie down straps. I don’t think he could do that to my Explorer>

Remarkable statement
“I still have no spiderweb cracks in either Valley or NDK where bulkheads are placed.”

Either your pen name is quite appropriate or you have not observed that many Valley boats with OCs.

I don’t know…I’m going to have to think about this a bit.

By the way…I am not eaten by the British bug nor am I squeemish in rough water and looking for a cure. I actually love rough water and feel pretty comfortable in it in any boat…just that some require more braces than others.

I am debating over several things. The first is the concept of having two boats like I have in the past–a long boat like the Greenlander Pro or Aquanaut, and a short boat (Avocet). I now have sold the Avocet and am debating over whether to keep my Greenlander and get a Romany for a play boat, or just to sell it and get one boat…any Explorer that will do all things reasonably well. Also debating over this because of the fact that I feel that I may be a bit on the heavy side for a Romany and think that perhaps I need a higher volume boat like the Explorer as a surf boat (maybe I am a bit heavy for most of the 16 foot play boats).

I already have a good fast flat water boat (Greenlander Pro) but it is not that great in the surf. I am looking for a boat that is fun and good in the surf and that may serve as a single boat for all occasions. I think there is merit in this concept. Not only is it more cost effective, but it also does not require any adjustment period when switching between your long and short boat.


EEL, I’ve observed few Valley boats…
with ocean cockpits out west, besides Anas Acutas. Here, we have varied beaches that ocean cockpits add time most of us would not rather take in getting in the boat before-thump. Most folks I know paddle one brit boat or another, Mariner’s being the 2nd most popular concept. We look over our friends stuff quite a bit. Not a lot of what I see reported in the bulkhead alarmism. More kicked in ones, leaky ones than the spider cracking stuff. Trade your boats in after 25 years and maybe you will see less of it. ; )


Fair enough
For a one boat quiver, the Explorer is a great choice. It can do everything. That’s what I would choose if I only got one. I’ve seriously come damn close to aquiring one at several points in time. The cockpit off-the-shelf is near perfect fit for me and me and the hull is really fun to paddle. However, I am a total gear-head and like the idea of choosing a boat to fit the conditions and the different feel I get from different boats.

I know you don’t prefer the Legend, but in our local conditions, flat water > surf, I’ll have more fun in the Legend than an Explorer. Wife loves playing in the marshes and following shorelines, and chasing her whilst carving along shorelines and creeks is a blast in the Legend. Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

I have only played in a Romany
at a pool session and found it to be quite a bit different than the Explorer. I am 6’ 165 lbs and my skinny little butt couldn’t really fit in to the Romany’s seat. Also the stability was much different than the Explorer. The thing I really like about the Explorer is the solid secondary stability that makes it a dream to paddle in rough conditions.

I like the Romany a lot. Have found a lot of variability with them though. Two I have sat in that I could not really fit into due to the low thigh braces. A few others I have been in fit me just fine. Go figure. There was SIGNIFICANT difference in the fit.

Also resulted in significant difference in stabilty. I paddled one for a few days in the surf. It was one that was really too tight for me. I found the overly tight fit made the boat quite tippy in the surf.

One I had paddled in the surf that seemed to fit me had a compeletely different personality. It was so stable in the rough water that it was almost boring. Much different feel. Again, I think it was due to the fact that this one actually fit me.

I am still toying with the idea of getting a Romany; however, if I find that I can’t fit one or that I am too heavy for it at 190 (which is pushing the limit probably with kit for a day trip) then the Explorer would certainly be the surf boat for me.

I paddled with Nigel at a symposium a couple of weeks ago. He said I was borderline on weight for the Romany and that an Explorer may serve me better as a day / surf boat. Of course it is a bit longer than your standard play boats (Romany, Avocet, etc) but it does have more volume and therefore may be more appropriate for a heavier paddler.

Don’t know…


nothing makes my eyes roll more than hearing someone drop a name, say s/he uses such a boat, thus it’s the bestest boat ever…

Reminds me of my younger days competing… Some dude was saying, “Yeah, my instructor is so and so (big name back then)…” His upcoming opponent replied, “Yeah, is he here to fight for you? 'cause I gonna kick your butt right now.” I was almost on the floor Laughing :slight_smile:


Explorer is the expected
Among most paddlers I know the automatic answer for a do everything boat is an Explorer. It is what I recommend to most paddlers. It is a good boat that many use for everything. Most training sessions I’ve attended include as many or more Explorers than all other models combined. It is a very good boat.

All that being said, I choose to not have one. I’ve got an Aquanaut and a Romany - a fellow participant (sitting in his Explorer) this weekend at St. Michaels’s BCU symposium said “the perfect combination.” I wouldn’t assert it as perfect, but I do like each for what it does well. Were I in the market for a new sea kayak at this time, I would quite likely get a Nordkapp LV.

Of course, there are some BCU Alphas who have been talking up the P&H Cetus as an extraordinary boat…

What about Impex boats?
I’m surprised no one has brought up any of the Impex boats to compare with the Explorer or Romany boats. I’ve heard that the Force series is very similar to the Explorer without any of the quality issues. Impex boats seem to be very well made…


Great boats.

My Explorer (LV)
Perfect for a boat that you don’t have to think about in conditions and will get you wherever, and there is a place for that. The LV is the same hull as the full size - they just played with deck height and cockpit size. If you want especially fast or playful, not it. A number of people we’ve dealt with have found the Force 4 to be a very satisfactory boat for the same kind of usage.

For smaller people, the concern about the Silhouette that Wayne mentions above is why I chose an Explorer LV over a Silhouette for my first big water glass boat. I needed something that’d give me a ton of confidence to advance. And frankly I can’t see ever letting mine go because it is such a solid workhorse. However, a few years and improved skills later, I am thinking that I should take another look at the Silhouette sometime.

Having paddled the Silhouette from time to time and having surfed it and rock gardened in it (When she wasn’t watching, of course), I think I know what unsettles some people about it. The Silhouette, like all of the other Foster boats, has a narrow beam, round bottom, and hard chines — a unique hull shape in modern kayaks. Therefore, the transition between light initial stability and moderate secondary can be a little elusive until you get used to it. I find it to be no tippier than my Betsie Bay Recluse, but definitely less stable feeling than my Caribou or the Explorer, but not in a bad way — it feels more “lively” to me. YMMV

I like the way it handles in rough water overall, but I do find that I prefer to have the skeg fully deployed in following seas, as the stern will tend to wander if I don’t. This is the part that unsettled my girlfriend — she had two ruddered boats before the Silhouette, and became a little too dependent on the rudder (Always had it deployed even when it wasn’t needed), so having to make the boat do what she wanted through paddle strokes and edging caused a confidence situation or two when the boat was new. She quickly adapted, but never quite fully got over that initial trepidation in larger water or confused seas. Hence the Explorer LV purchase, which she is quite happy with. The Explorer goes on the paddles where there might be “conditions”, and the Silhouette goes on the days when speed, long distances, and/or playing in smaller conditions are the order of the day.