NDK Quality

I’ve read numerous references to the nice design, but poor quality control of NDK kayaks. Going through the archives - most of the digs seem to date back a few years. For those of you in the know, is there still a perceived quality issue with NDK kayaks, as has been mentioned in this forum, or have things gotten any better?


Better is relative…
Word is the NDK quality and consistency has gotten better. Better is still not necessarily good.

I love my Romany and my wife loves her Explorer LV. Neither one of us would give up our NDK boats.

However, the best made NDK boat I’ve seen still does not attain the quality of nearly any Valley boat I’ve seen.

This past summer I demoed a new Romany that had no serial number, had a striking crack in its coaming and, although officially standard layup, weighed less than my Elite layup Romany. This was a 2005 boat. My 2004 Romany is only as well finished as it is because Tom Bergh did the work under the deck on the RDFs and took care of a few other details. The coaming is set in too low to accept many spray skirts. The bulkheads look like crude scraps of carbon/Kevlar that required a great amount of resin to seal.

The safest course, if one is thinking of getting an NDK boat, is to get one that you can see and paddle. Ordering one new is a crap shoot. Not only is the QC vague but NDK’s ability to keep to shipping schedules or even keep their paperwork straight is just as variable.

If you’ve paddled an Explorer or Romany, and liked the performance, IMHO there are no other boats that have the same characteristics. There are a good number out there that someone has paddled and taken care of the issues. It may be best to buy used.

In the meantime try the Valley boats :wink:

perfect ones do exist, and they are not rare, I have one of them NDK Explorer. Inconsistency is not the rule now but still good advice to see the boat and inspect it with someone who knows about boat construction. Valley has been consistently better, so true. Less known but super designs. They are having a few growing pains in their light layups, promise is this is corrected though for this season. Pays to be careful always.

What about

– Last Updated: Apr-07-06 8:54 AM EST –

Evan's Explorer is the best made NDK I've ever seen. Which for NDK makes it an 'A' boat.

However, that gap between the deck and hull? It is a good example of the benefits of NDK's glassing the seam inside and fiberglas taping it on the outside.

I ordered a Romany HV standard
layup and the wife ordered the Romany Elite layup. We got the boats January 2006. Her boat is lighter than mine which is the way I think it should be. The boats look fine. No cracks or blemishes. They seem to work well and the hatch covers keep the compartments bone dry. We are beginners. Maybe we don’t know what we should be looking for when it comes to assessing quality, or maybe the quality is fine and that’s why we can’t pick anything out to be concerned about. Also I changed the color of my kayak on the order after I placed it and everything got adjusted so the color I wanted showed up. Also the delivery time was right on the mark.

That’s our experience. We are really happy with our choice. Would do it again and probably will when we are ready for longer boats with more volume! :slight_smile:

Our new Romany standard came in…
and is flawless. Nothing in the sea kayak world surfs like a Romany. No connections, just know a good ride.


That’s funny!
Nothing in the world surfs like a Romany! Oh my…oh my…Glad yer happy :slight_smile:

It doesn’t have fins or rails…
either! ; )


That’s really funny!!
I don’t care who ya are…That there is funny!

I paddled a Romany for at least a couple of thousand miles and really enjoyed it…Never got a taste for that NDK Kool-Aid though…And I’m even a Brit, well, Scottish…Fins would be cool!

Taking a sea kayak surfing is like racing your mini-van. You can do it, but why? :slight_smile: PS, I’m teasing…

Why surf a sea kayak?

  1. I paddle on the sea
  2. the sea has surf
  3. I am in a sea kayak
  4. because it is there

    Yeah, it is a bitch to come around compared to a surf specific boat, but once you have done a cutback in a sea boat, the giggle fest can overload the grin muscles.

from a guy who probably has never surfed a HP surf kayak…So sorry dude, as I like yer stuff for the most part, but a cut back in a Romany, or other “sea kayak” = ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ Puhleezzz give me a break people. What’s up with sea kayakers?

I actually surfed a sea boat a couple of weeks ago and had a lot of fun!

I think my first ride in a surf specific boat was…8 years ago? I have put skeg boxes in WW boats… surfed a Topo Duo(back seat only!), even took out a WW open canoe in the surf (once!).

I think I know surf fairly well-come to think of it, I started surfing in WW kayaks, followed by surf specific boats, followed by sea boats.

I even have used GP paddles several times, only in an effort to be able to understand all the fuss.

My point was, when I am doing an offshore tour, I do not shy away from having fun in surf just because I, oh darn, didn’t paddle a Mega that day.

If I am going out for the day only to stay in the surf, I usually use a surf boat. But if the day is boring, the sea boat ups the ante, plus is a useful (and did I mention fun?) skill.

I know one person who passed the BCU 4* surf assessment in a sea boat. Apparently she impressed the hell out of the assessors.

otterslide?? more?
Hey old buddy good to see you in the forums… Debi and I sure miss paddling with you, in fact we miss the Northwest all together.

Just curious, do I know the person you spoke about passing the 4*?


I get that
and was really just thinking to myself how much more fun a surf kayak is in the surf. Going back to a sea boat just isn’t the same for me at least. But surfing anything is better than not surfing! I’m a supporter of the Romany!

Hi, Wade
Yeah, you should know who I am talking about- Ginni Callahan, the perpetually happy person. Especially around surf.


Kinda hijacked…
this thread, didn’t we?

No argument about having wicked good fun in a surf boat in the surf, but you nailed it when it is more about being in the surf than not being in the surf. Heck, I would take out a Scupper pro if that was all I had…better than not surfing.

But I did check on what Dogmat said, and it was qualified on the Romany the best surf ride…in the “sea kayak” world. Now we really have something to argue about, cuz I can think of some 16ft long boats I like better in the surf zone.

But then there are situations like surfing in a tide race, or surfing following seas in big wind. And there are “best” boats for each of those. But what I like about Romanys and Explorers is that, while they might not be the best boat in any of those specific areas, come in solidly across the board.

But the thread was about quality; IMO, there will be issues as long as the manafacturing process stays with the hand lay up idea. That said,I have seen several new NDK boats in the past year, and all of them- yes, I said all of them- were excellent. I think there is some truth to the claim that more attention is being paid in that regard.

Yes, they still tend to be heavy. Yes, the diligent owner should likely check seams, bulkheads, etc, for nasty glass fibers, and sand them out. But as for specific problems, well, I have seen more issues with the Necky Chathams in the last year than problems with an equal number of NDK boats (including my poly Chat 16).

Looking forward to paddling my new NDK Explorer that just shoeed up stateside!

Yes, you did.

Early Necky’s had Gel-coat issues, but are crazy strong boats. Recent boats have been superb. I think Wildy will likewise work through some issues. as will Valley with their new composites. Seems no matter how hard ya try, ya still have growing pains with new manufacturing processes. But, the reward a year down the line is hopefully an outstanding product. I think I answered the question about quality as I’ve paddled many miles in a Romany…happy miles, and it’s a great boat. Take care…

Or good outfitter…

– Last Updated: Apr-10-06 12:45 PM EST –

Actually, if you are contemplating a new boat, get it through someone who you can rely on to stay on top of the shipping and take care of any issues.

While it is good to read the positive experiences folks are having with NDK these days, things can go or be wrong with any boat, so having a dealer on your side who will look out for you is very good.