need new kayak--valley aquanaut ?

I am 6’-175lbs and want a boat to handle rougher sea conditions than I and my barracuda ( prijon) can handle. I am looking at the valley aquanaut rm-17’7" by 21.5. Is this a good choice?

Thanks in advance.

You don’t want to go into any situation
you can’t handle. That being said, I cannot think of a better boat that has as much to offer in as many ways as the Aquanaut RM LV. I bought mine new for $1,250 and I LOVE IT. I am not sure if they are calling it an LV anymore. Search the posts under Aquanaut, I think this was discussed at length lately. For the money, numero uno. No boat will ever make up for improper preparation, but the Naut is good boat to grow in. Bill

…handle rougher sea conditions than I

– Last Updated: Mar-13-09 2:46 PM EST –

The boat makes it easier or harder to handle conditions. Your skill as a paddler makes it possible or not to handle those conditions.

That being said, the Valley Aquanaut is the best mannered boat in challanging conditions of any I've paddled. Everyone I know who has been in an Aquanaut in conditions has been impressed with its confidence inspiring nature.

It is a more 'active' hull than an Explorer, but far less demanding than a Nordkapp. Over the past 5 years, I've paddled my 'naut in a broad range of conditions and found it a great boat which is forgiving without the loglike feel of the Explorer.

It is not as easy of a surfer as an Explorer and takes more lean to turn. Otherwise, IMHO it is the best all round expedition length boat available. (Mine is a 'standard' Aquanaut - 17'7" x 21.5" in ProLite layup.)

My question would be do you need an expedition length (17+ feet) boat? If not, you might want to try a Romany, Avocet, Chatham 16, or Tempest 165 for challenging conditions. There are times when having less boat to control is a plus.

My skills are probably average. I do kayak quite a bit–lakes, rivers at times with with some rough wAter. However when I got my barracuda out into the ocean it was a pain in the ass for me. Following seas and beam seas were hard to handle.

I have been in this boat long enough to be generally comfortable but I think a different design might be more suitable in rough conditions.

aquanaut may help but…
I think your barracuda should be at least okay so I think at least half the issue is just getting more comfortable in ocean conditions (esp following seas). A skeg or rudder can help a bit in these conditions (not sure if your barracuda is so equipped). Briefly you may find the Aquanaut even harder to handle though that wouldn’t last long.

Following seas and beam seas
The Aquanaut excels in such seas. I’ve paddled with and heard from devotees of other boats who happened to be in an Aquanaut when encountering beam seas who were amazed at how unaffected the 'naut felt to be in such conditions. One major Explorer paddler was very surprised when hit with strong beam waves how smoothly the Aquanaut reacted as compared to his Explorer.

I’ve needed the skeg less in following seas in my Aquanaut than in my Romany, Nordkapp LV or Elaho DS. I’ve needed the skeg more in both a Cetus and Quest LV in following seas than in the 'naut.

Which Aquanaut?

– Last Updated: Mar-14-09 9:41 AM EST –

I am curious. The only model Aquanaut Valley lists at the measures you give (17'7" x 21.5") is the standard composite model. The RM models are listed as 17'1" x 22" for LV and Club and 17'7" x 22.5" for HV.

It is quite possible that Valley has introduced an RM model not listed on its website which is the same as the standard 'naut. This only matters in that at your size I think you should avoid the HV models.

Yea I thnk I got the wrong stats from the dealer. I asked if it was rotomolded and he said yes but I can’t believe it only weighs in at 50lbs at 17’7". At any rate from the responses so far I think the lv version at 17’1" in plastic is the way to go. I appreciate the responses. This is a very helpful site.

It would be impressive…
If the RM Aquanaut weighs only 50 pounds. Though the current Valley RM boats are stiffer and lighter than previous ones.

Valley Aquanaut and Cuda owner here.

– Last Updated: Mar-14-09 10:27 AM EST –

Poleplant—Hi, how are you. I agree with moparharn, wilsoj and the others on here—you are making a fantastic choice. Actually, I made the same choice, so it must be great!

The Prijon Barracuda is a twitchy bitch that only someone who has been in one can understand. People looking at 21 inch beam might say, “Hmmm, you need some seat time,”, but anyone that owns one will attest to the v-hull design, rockerless to boot, to be a bear and a half on the chop. I love mine, and use it on large inland waters, and sometimes the chop picks up, and then I am in a test of skills, for sure.

That said, I bought an Aquanaut LV (I am 5 foot 8.653 inches and 165 lbs) last year and adore it for size and feel and stability—yet as wilsoj states, still responsive. I am a giant plastic fan—esp Prijon and Valley plastic—and the only reason I got the composite (carb/Kev) Valley Aq LV is because I wanted a sectional. If anyone invents a sectional plastic, I’m there (too flexy).

For what it’s worth, I own a plastic Valley Avocet RM, too. It would be too tight for you, I think. I find it sort of hard to describe, but higher in the water feeling to me. I learned to roll with it—the Aq Lv is similarly easy to roll---and I love the Avocet for tight cornering and stump-gardening (that’s what we have in Illinois), but I would not choose it over the Aq.

I have a Valley Nordkapp RM also, and I find that to be a super nice boat— it is the best Overall boat I have ever paddled, but I then bought the Aq LV and it may be better for an overall boat that just fits me best. But I still adore that Nordy RM, and frankly, other than the Aq LV being a better "fit" for my body size, I still think the Valley Nordkapp is the best overall kayak ever made. It is playful for its size, even in the soup (my comments do not pertain to the Nordkapp LV, which I have never padled--but if I ever hook up with wilsoj, he's getting in my Prijon Cuda and me in his NordLV for some serious comparisons, eh brother wilsoj?). But in yuor case, I think you would fit a Nordy RM well, but you have the Barracuda for speed and tracking, and something slightly more directional would be best--hence, in my opinion, back to the Aq RM you mention.

Speed: Fastest to slowest (i.e. draggiest)


Just like one would think. I do no0t know comparison in speed between Nord RM and Aq regular RM, but would surmise that the Nordy is slightly faster, but not by much.

I always felt, with Cuda alone, that were I to go with a group and thje waves kick up, I will be the lone swimmer. Not with Valley.

One comment: no matter how much you modify the seat and the backband--and I have studied the newer Valley backbands on line but not in person, and they seem to be only a slight upgrade to the Valley backbands pre-2008--I find the Prijons much more comfortable on the back for long periods of paddling. I wish I could say otherwise, and perhaps it is just personal preference, but that is the case for me. The support of a Prijon in the lower spine is ideal, as you know--not too much seat back to impede torso rotation, yet enough to prevent a backache. That said, the high back is not as good for sweep and layback rolls, certainly. So again, for variety,m you will be getting a very different boat in the Valley Aq RM.

Bruce on Pnet, my paddling partner, has a plastic Valley Aq Rm and it sings. I agree wheoleheartedly with your desire and your choice. Plastic Valley AQ and you will be having a ball in all sorts of conditions. For your size, desires… the V Aq RM is best choice to give you selection based on purpose/water conditions with the Cuda.

(open linck then click actual pic of my VAqLV to enlarge)

I applaud your decision, polep. Get some pics when you get the boat.

Ah yes, cd-1, the responder I wanted. Thanks for the pertinent info. As usual spot on. I am going to pull the trigger and make the purchase. Just have to figure out how to hide a 17’ kayak from the wife.

Thanks again.

"I am going to pull the trigger"

Answer to OP’s ? = Yes
There are other good choices too.

Pitch the OE backband and put in an IR Reggie or foam block and Bob’s your uncle.

What’s valley’s web address? I can’t seem to locate them.


Here’s the web address

I second all the nice things that have been said about the Naut.

Good luck!

Bought it!!!1 In yellow-like my other 2 boats. This way I confuse my wife by leaving one down the basement and the other 2 up in the garage. I am soooooooo smart and she is soooooooooo fooled.

Now, go paddle your banana. We have two bananas in our garage.


– Last Updated: Mar-17-09 1:05 PM EST –

Enjoy it!

Some years ago, a paddler on this board bought a Sirius in the same colors as his Quest hoping his wife wouldn't notice it was another boat and determined if she did notice to say his Quest had a baby ;-)

Congrats- even though “lava” is the
better color.

I won’t say “hope” you enjoy it because I “know” you’ll enjoy it.

Poleplant, you gotta add a profile to your Pnet “teensy head”, like the rest of us.

Hey, when you taking it on the water? When you getting us some webshots/flickr pics?