Nordkapp LV in flat water

-- Last Updated: Feb-24-09 1:04 PM EST --

Hi all:

I paddle mostly on the Northern Chesapeake Bay, so I do not get to be in water that is too rough (most of the time). After reading all the reviews, I have it down to the Nordkapp LV or the Quest LV as my next boat. The closest Valley dealer to me is over 2 hours away, so I have not had time to demo one as of yet (and I know there is no substitute for time in the boats). The reviews I have read state that the Nordlow can be a handful in rough conditions . . . even for experienced paddlers. I was wondering if the same holds true for relatively flat water. Can you take pictures sitting in a Nordkapp LV in flat water without going for a swim?

nordkapp more fore rough water

– Last Updated: Feb-24-09 2:21 PM EST –

As I understand the Nordkapp has lower primary stability than many kayaks which actually helps a *skilled* kayaker handle rough water better. I think it would find its life unfulfilled living on calm water.

I have a Kapp Jubilee and a Cetus
The Quest lv is a nice boat, but my friend who is appx. 6’ and 185lbs has to balast the boat to get it to perform properly. My Kapp has less stability than the Cetus, but it is a great paddling boat. You need to decide how you will use them and if possible, paddle them both first. I think the Kapp would be my choice, but if you are more into touring and photography, neither one of them is likely to be ideal. Both boats excel in the open water, and generally with some load. You might want to look at the Cetus/Scorpio or Aquanaut (I have the Naut lv rm and consider it the best boat I own for the $) as they are going to be more stable and better day touring platforms. Have fun and be safe. Bill

If it helps . . .

– Last Updated: Feb-24-09 2:30 PM EST –

I am 6'2" 215 lbs. I mostly like to cover distance, and a relatively quick and manuverable dayboat is what Im looking for. I do not really do much photography on the water, I was using that as an example (now a poor one I realize!) to base stability on. I'm sure getting a Nordkapp LV to shoot pictures on flat water would be like getting a Porsche to take you kid to soccer. I want a boat that is responsive and fun, but not one I need to be worried about being too tippy with a low initial stability. I know the boat is made for rough water, so will it be no fun on flat? Thank you Bill!

Also, I started kayaking as a kayak surfer on an Ocean Kayak rrrapido . . . incredibly tippy boat! I am ok with low stability, I just do not want something I have to be thinking about keeping upright every second Im on the water.

It would help
if you disclosed what you paddled so far.

I own
a Tsunami 140. I have experience in a Perception Carolina, a Necky Manitou 14, and have done about 10 miles in a Tempest 170. IMOHO the Tempest was nice but I could not justify the difference between it and my Tsunami. I typically do 8-15 mile paddles when I go. I am ready to get out of the transitional touring range of boats and get something more performance oriented.

would You not be able to push the button on a camera when sitting in a 21 inch wide boat on flat water?

Best Wishes


because of low primary stability
IF you are not used to a lower primary stability boat and while taking photos (other other activities) you are distracted or feel a bump of a boat wake, etc. then you may easily overreact and flip. Such boats start feeling better both with more skill and while on the move rather than sitting still. Clearly with some practice you can take photos while sitting on a log.

Nordkapp LV stability
I’ve watched a friend get adapted to his Nordkapp LV over a couple of years. In the first month or two, he capsized a couple of times under conditions of moderate swell that he never would have in a more stable boat. But after getting used to it, he loves it in all conditions, including tidal races and surfing -it is fast, maneuverable, and fun.

If he stops at sea and pulls the skirt to pee, he will often get some waves coming in over the coaming, and he is probably about 145 lbs. At 215 lbs, I think this could definitely be an issue for pumping out if doing a solo rescue, or even just stopping to pee, in moderately rough water. Something like an Aquanaut would be noticeably more stable under these conditions. But the Nordkapp LV sure seems like a great boat, and he loves his. For a low volume boat, there seems to be relatively large amount of volume in the bow- the boat rides just beautifully going into waves, with the bow riding up rather than burying.

why not the tempest?
“but I could not justify the difference between it and my Tsunami” more details on that statement may help. I would think any of several 16 or 17 foot boats would be a nice performance step up from your 14 foot boat and yet be more forgiving than a Nordkapp. If you like Valley then either the Avocet or Aquanaut may suit you better – the former making a fun and able day boat and the latter good for longer trips.

relatively quick and manuverable dayboat
The Nordlow is certainly all that.

I’ve taken quite a few photos from my Nordlow.

It is quick and very maneuverable on flat water. It really locks in in chop and other lumpy seas.

At your weight it will have more primary than it does for lighter paddlers.

It is not a beginner’s boat but if you have the desire to grow into it, it is very fun.

recently added a Nordkapp LV
to my stable and the kayak is rather small for me.

I’m 6’1" and 240lbs.

The kayak sits very low in the water and there is very little freeboard.

Great for rolling and maneuverability but a bit too much drag for distance paddling at my weight.

Just as well the kayak is not intended for my myself but for my girlfriend.

She used to have a “poor man’s copy” of the Nordkapp and now she loves the real deal.

Paddling in flat water is still great however not the fastest boat for those conditions.

If speed is not a concern the boat is just fine in flat waters.

While very maneuverable and nimble my girlfriend uses a Currituck for long trips (2 weeks). The Nordkapp just does not have the needed volume.

Pix of the Nordkapp LV in small surf:

The Kapp is not “too tippy”, it does
have less stability than the Cetus and Naut. You mentioned speed as a priority. The Cetus is the fastest boat of the ones I have mentioned. I think you should take your time and paddle the boats over some miles in varying conditions. It will be fun if you can spare the time and hassle of getting them set up. What someone else experiences may not translate into what you experience. I found my Q boat to be far less stable than my Kapp, the hard chine and V bottom tends to want to lay flat on one side of the V or the other. For the $1250 I paid for my Naut lv rm, there is nothing I have paddled yet that can even come close to it. It suffers only in weight and flex, I find all other characteristics very satisfying. Enjoy the test paddles and take your time. Bill

Nordlow as camera platform

– Last Updated: Feb-24-09 11:15 PM EST –

Here is a shot of me taking photos on flat water in my Nordlow ;-)

Sea Kayaker drag figures indicate the Nordkapp LV has among the least drag up to 4 knots. Of the boats I've charted from SK tests, only the Rapier has less drag at 4 knots. So, the Nordlow is plenty quick on flat water. I find it downright fast in lumpy water. The guys paddling off Scotland found the Nordlow faster than an Aquanaut, Quest and Rockpool boats in surf and sloppy seas

I also own an Aquanaut which is a much more confidence inspiring boat, but not as quick or playful as the Nordlow - though the Aquanaut is fast for a Brit boat.

The Nordlow combines quickness and responsiveness better than most. It can be more challenging, but IMHO is more fun than a Cetus, Aquanaut, Quest, etc...

Assuming you enjoy rolling and bracing the Nordkapp LV is well worth trying.

Do you have a roll?

– Last Updated: Feb-25-09 8:18 AM EST –

Not a silly question - this boat will give you some chances to practice your roll while getting used to it. If you don't have a reliable roll at the moment, you may want to add that to your paddling this spring so that the capsizes are minor annoyances rather than something that really ruins a good paddle.
The boat does roll easily, even for me. Just have to remember to stop it at the top because it'll keep going.

I hope this doesn't offend, it's just that aside from the Tempest [OK - most] of the boats that you've been in are what would normally appeal to someone who really loves being sideways and upside down.

At your weight the Nordlow…
…will sit on it’s lines (if designed for paddler and gear) or below. This makes it more stable that with lighter load - so stable enough on flat to shoot pictures, eat a snack, futz with gear etc. (Assumes some get to know it time going to narrower for you beam - for me, already used to 21" and some less - I felt plenty of primary).

Lively maneuverable and fun? Sure, if you want to play - but probably not so fun touring over distance for you. OK at typical group paces, but you’ll be working harder than you should for moderate speed gains over that (where I like to be on solo paddles). Yes, it FEELS pretty quick, but actual speeds? Not likely to be very impressive. Fine for most, but why settle for 4 mph when other kayaks are similar effort at 5+?

Great kayak, I just don’t think it’s what you want. FWIW, I’m 215 and barely fit the kapp LV as braces bite thighs a little. I very much liked the responsiveness and playful feel, fun to roll too - but other than squeezing in for some tide race/surf type play it wouldn’t make sense for me.

I’ve tried the Quest LV briefly too. Don’t remember much except I think fit was a little better, a little less playful, similar speed issues. Wanted to love it - “just a kayak” feel.

For day touring over fair distances at your size, get some thing with longer legs that will reward over longer paddles. Many many options - though many bear little resemblance to a Nordkapp LV. The Aquanaut was good suggestion, and I’ve been pretty happy with my QCC 700 for 6+ years. Definitely not a playboat, and I waste the hatch space, but really nice over 15+ miler day paddles…

Moral of the story: “Day boat” and “Play boat” are different things - unless you only do play boating on day paddlers. Day trippers have differnt needs.

Need to know more about where and how you paddle to narrow the potential list.

PS - The reason that Rrrapido felt so tippy (assuming you were at same weight) is you were too heavy for it. I picked up a used one and sold it for same reason. I think about 185# would be about top end for it to perform right.

Good points…
… though as to the rollability of his other kayaks - I have rolled a Rrrapido. If I can…

You want a high performance kayak which balances speed and handling. Generally, one is obtained at the cost of the other. The Tsunami that you have emphasizes stability and ease of use over performance. It is quite a different boat than the ones that have been mentioned, and probably is not too exciting to a person who has surf skied.

I do think that at your size (215 plus gear, over six feet tall) you will probably find the Nordkapp LV too tippy - maybe not.

But the Valley boat that sounds like it is better suited to you desires and size is the Aquanaut, which is a great boat. It has terrific speed and handling and is designed for somebody your size. Valley lists the ideal load for that boat as 200 pounds, and for a day boat, your size is great.

I also agree that the Tempest 170 would be good.

I could also recommend the boat I paddle - a Foster Legend (if your legs are not too long), which some people think is tippy, but I find much less so than the Nordkapp LV. With the hard chine, it can be very quick once you adapt, and at 17’10" with the “shallow arched” bottom it is quite fast too. I prefer the Aquanaut type design in beam seas, so try that if you like the Foster.

The Cetus is also fast and quick - too quick for me. It likes to turn when I don’t want to. But I have friends who have adapted to the Cetus fine. All the Valley boats handle predictably and well in my experience.

Another boat you might like is a Force 4 or Force 5. They emphasize the speed side of the equation, but still handle pretty well.

As you have basically said, there isn’t any substitute for paddling the boats. These are all quality boats that are usually sold by quality dealers who want to be sure that you get the right boat. It’s worth a few long drives to do the demos.


– Last Updated: Feb-25-09 1:31 AM EST –

"I want a boat that is responsive and fun, but not one I need to be worried about being too tippy with a low initial stability"--original poster.

Answer: Valley Aquanaut.

Stick with Valley brand, it is phenomenal.

I have a Nord RM and a Nord Classic and my Aq LV (I am smaller than you at 5 ft 9 inches 165 lbs--slick pics to enlarge)):

Aquanuat would be worth the 2-hour drive to your Valley dealer. Drop the Aq and the NLV on the water in a demo and, if you're still dry, you'll pick the Aq for your purposes.

Here's a Nordy LV vid, for what it's worth:

I was able to roll
the rrrapido before I sold it (quite a few years ago). I think with some practice this spring, Ill be o.k. rolling my Tsunami. I intend to have a solid roll before I get my next boat, so thanks to everyone who suggested such.