NDK - still building the same way?

I’m not wanting to rehash an old subject but I am only here at this web site periodically and don’t keep up with the latest kayak news.

Has NDK changed any of their building methods in the last couple of years (IE improved them)?

I know that they use to use mat fiberglass in their kayaks but I was never clear on how much they used. Did they only use it in the bow and stern at the tight bends or was it used through out the boats?



They use mat everywhere…
…not just in the bow and stern. They’ve made a lot of claims of improvements over the past couple of years, but I keep hearing about the same old problems. For example, they still can’t seem to install their coamings straight or at a consistent height and the seats still break.

seems there is a current post
in the threads about a skeg leak?

Why would anyone get one when there are manufacturers like Valley, Impex,WS,Necky who have 1/1,000,000 the QA issues? I’m on the verge or ordering kayak number 21 and it won’t be an NDK…

That skeg leak
I have the same boat as the one in that post and my bulkheads remain bone-dry - as the person indicated the tubing for the skeg cable has gotten knocked out of its correct arrangement in their use. It’s not a manufacturing issue. And my hatches remain drier in my NDK boat than the rear hatch in my P&H Vela starts to be - I can count on that rear hatch taking in a bit of water no matter what if it’s wet work.

Granted there have been some really serious quality control issues at NDK, and it is prudent to confirm the current status of that. But they are not unique - we know someone who had to return his Valley boat about a year and a half ago because of fatal problems with the coaming.

In sum, NDK has undeniably had some issues, but it isn’t helpful to attribute problems to the wrong cause or nor is it correct that others have always been perfect.

Deck Fittings are Different
I had read many reports on this site regarding the sketchy QC at NDK. However, I also loved the Romany most of all during my test paddling. Finally I crossed my fingers, placed my order last fall, and received it this summer.

They got the important stuff right - layup, color, no skeg and no footpegs.

They botched a couple small things: The keelstrip came black instead of white, and I had ordered a foam seat but it came with the composite seat. The dealer volunteered a discount for these mistakes (I would have accepted the boat anyway).

It also came with a sticker for a skeg system which the boat does not have, and without the NDK dragon sticker.

Also, it seems like NDK is changing out their deck fittings. The '06 boats I test paddled all had recessed fittings similar to Valley’s, but the boat I received has smaller, circular fittings that seem to expose more of the knots. Not all of the '07 boats have these, as I understand they are in the process of changing the forms or whatever.

Finally, the area under the coaming is not what I would call ‘elegant’, however the boat paddles perfectly and does not leak anywhere, at all.

I would do it again. :wink:

We have a new one
Better half’s new Explorer LV doesn’t leak.

The deck spider cracked severely around the rear day hatch bulkhead within 2 months of purchase, and the skeg is loose enough in the cassette that you can hear it banging around when she paddles with it down. The day hatch lid also is very tight, and hard for her to seal properly without beating on it (She has zero patience, so it gets pounded on a lot - just waiting for the leaks and spider cracks to appear there).

She loves the boat just the same. Most of these are small annoyances. I, however, wouldn’t tolerate them in a new boat. YMMV.

we have two 2006 explorers
the entire deck (top half of the kayak) is chopped mat fiberglass, the hull is cloth.

One of ours came without any decals or lettering of any kind (which I like), the other has all of the correct decals and lettering.

We haven’t has any issues with ours everything is solid and the hatches are bone-dry. I don’t care enough about the aesthetics to pay attention to the pretty little details that may or may not be there.

Lots of expedition proven time!
My experience was pretty good with NDK! People get really freaked over gel coat spider cracks etc., but that stuff happens. My boat had various cosmetic issues, but I sure beat the heck out of it, and it served me well. Never owned a perfect boat…of any type. The boats are not sophisticated in materials or lay-up, but they are overall tough and it’s hard to knock their track record on expeditions etc.

second that
YMMV. I’ve actually had more QC issues with my valley than with my NDK. Rock solid layup, good fit, no broken seat and watertight hatches and bulkheads.

Buyer beware. Meanwhile they have good designs and a great expedition rep. So I think if you’re interested in all that you just go into any purchase with eyes open.

Your loss
None of the above make a kayak like the NDK’s regardless of their faults. ( I have 3 presently, none perfect but better than anything else I’ve paddled)

Through good dealer or used
I love my Romany and might be acquiring an Explorer. My wife loves her Explorer LV.

If you like the performance of the hulls, nothing compares.

My take is if buying a new boat, order it through a dealer who is familiar with NDK issues and can address them. We got our NDK boats from MIKCo. Tom Bergh took care of the stuff that the guys at NDK forgot or did poorly.

Many I know simply buy an Explorer or Romany that somone else has paddled and vetted, including taking care of whatever issues arose.

The only deck decal on my Romany is the Welsh dragon, which, IMHO, is the only one the matters :wink:

Deck Fittings
Which deck fittings depends on which deck mold. My Romany has all NDK RDFs. Most I’ve seen have Valley RDFs. Tom told me there are two deck molds. I believe the same to be true of Explorers.

The decals
are dealer applied. A friend applied her’s wrong and has a Roamy S :slight_smile:

fanning flames
OK, I get to see things from “the other side”, ie, retail. No, I don’t sell boats, but I teach at a place that sells a lot of the big names.

I gotta say, they have sold a lot of NDK in the last year. Problems? Very, very few. One person had quite a few chips in the gel coat of the coaming.

Biggest problem? Custom orders that don’t always come correct.

I just took my new Triton for a spin- zero flaws.

Now for the clincher. This store has had a lot more problems with other brands! Not a few, a lot.

One company has finally seemed to have fixed a problem with leaking hatches that were improperly installed (I own one of them, and it was annoying to have to fix; it took me two six packs to get through). With another company, problems are nearly guaranteed; the staff hates selling them, yet people still demand them. But the rumour mill still churns out silliness on the NDK.

My vote for best workmanship? Valley (Peter is kicking butt!), P&H, and Impex. Yeah, NDK seems a bit rougher in finish than those, but problems seem to be way, way down.

No physical proof, ie, actually putting them on a scale, but of the 40 or so NDK boats I saw last year, they also seem to be quite a bit lighter in weight. My first NDK was bullet proof, but a tank. My latest two (Explorer and Triton) are surprisingly competitive in weight compared to other brands. Still stiff, though.


What Celia said
Simple problem, easy fix.


“Mat everywhere”
“They use mat everywhere…”

Do you mind if I ask where you got this information?



just bought a used Nordkapp Classic HM

– Last Updated: Sep-24-07 9:11 PM EST –

that is a decade old. It has nary a spider crck or gel coat issue.

Loose skegs? Broken seats (plenty of those posted on Pnet). Spider cracks on two month old boats? Leaking this and that? Crooked coamings?

Don't walk, run(!) to Valley.

Or P and , Impex, et cetera. I agree with the posters above in that regard.

you flame fannerer you!
the retail angle is quite interesting. i like perusing the different ND boats in the shop and see all the differences from boat to boat, there are quite a few! perhaps it all adds to the intrigue and mystique of NDK. one thing’s for sure, it’s like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get. IMWTHDIKBTSTBTCAIEI

But if you want to get really picky…

– Last Updated: Sep-25-07 7:54 AM EST –

I haven't seen a Brit-made boat yet, even the more recent souped-up P&H boats, that are finished as nicely as a Seaward boat.
Of course, none of the Brit-made boats have a seat that also serves as a paddle float so you end up having to try and re-insert this big wet square thing under your butt while bouncing arund in the seas that caused you to capsize in the first place.

No one’s perfect
Peter’s kicking butt, may be a bit of an overstatement.

Nice boats? Yes, but my wife and I purchased 3 this summer and there were issues with all of them. Misplaced bulkhead on the first. Months later the replacement was fine, though the dealer had to supply hatch covers since Valley forgot to ship them with the kayak. #2 was a poly Nordkapp with edges so sharp on the coaming it would cut your hand. Nothing sand paper couldn’t correct, but the fact they engraved the S/N with a character missing caused a couple weeks delay in getting it registered. #3 was a Nordkapp LV that showed up with a flat finish, and no decals of any kind. The dealer removed the deck lines and buffed it out, so that’s ok.

We like all 3, but in my opinion, quality control was not exactly job 1 on any of them.