of Aquanauts and Explorers

good day eh.

i’m a wonderin why there are so many more Explorers out there than Aquanauts. especially plastic Aquanauts. these boats seem custom made for heavy duty use and abuse in environments that batter any composite boat no matter the layup. given their similarities, why are there so few Aquanauts out there? perhaps this is a rhetorical question, and yes i’m fishing for insight’s into the performance differences, and otherwise, between these boats.

A couple of reasons…

– Last Updated: Apr-03-07 1:04 AM EST –

Two reasons for the greater number of Explorers include:

1) The Explorer has been on production for 13-14 years while the Aquanaut was introduced only 4 years ago. Poly Aquanauts are even more recent.

2) More BCU coaches paddle Explorers and more Explorers appear in the "This is the Sea" series than any other boat.

Personally I chose a Aquanaut over an Explorer, but more often recommend an Explorer to novice paddlers.

These two boats have come up in comparison often in p.net threads. Here are three such threads:


The two boats that have really shone in the last couple of TITS films are the Valley Avocet and the Rockpool Alaw. Both, when coupled with fantastic paddlers, excelled in the rough. In fact in TITS 3 their paddlers were the only two to make it on to the front wave at the falls of Lora and here they both ripped.

Now I know I’m going to have a flood of people saying it’s not the boat that makes the difference, true but good paddlers will seek out good kit. Therefore in the rough the boats of choice seem to be Valley and Rockpool

Habit plus
I think the relatively newer boats just have a hard time getting attention in this group because the reputation of the Explorer as a great coaching platform and all-around performer is so well established. Jim’s had the experience more than once of someone taking an Aquanaut out in conditions after having experienced an Explorer and being truly surprised at how solid the boat felt, including pretty messy stuff like tidal races and rocks and ledges work.

I suspect that over time this will open up more, especially if Nigel Dennis continues at his current pace to find a way to produce these boats in plastic. I love my NDK boat, but it should be a bit less complicated to get one of these than it often has been. His apparent resistence to taking the Foster route of working with someone else to manufacture his designs is not terribly convenient.

Justine and NDK (Sea Kayaking UK)

– Last Updated: Apr-03-07 8:33 AM EST –

More different models of kayaks are evident in TITS 2&3 than in 1, which could be seen as a long promo for NDK. Justine paddles an Explorer. Nigel Dennis' boats are pretty visible in all three installments.

Rockpool certainly does get great exposure in TITS 2&3. It is also informing to see and hear Aled Williams. Maybe some Rockpools will make to this side of the pond this year.

Though the Avocet is prominent in TITS 3, I was surprised to not see any significant footage of paddlers using other Valley boats - especially the Nordkapp LV which has been so hot since its introduction.

around…Nigel, gives a lot of boats away to good paddlers…and if they break them …he just replaces them

same with expeditions…he donates quite a few boats in a year…

Best Wishes


Yup, Nigel gives a lot of boats away
"Nigel, gives a lot of boats away to good paddlers."

Why is it that it seems Nigel Dennis provides more boats and sponsors more noteworthy paddlers than either Valley or P&H?

I have a plastic Naut- however I have
not seen another Naut in my area. Lots of plastic Avocets however.

Glass vs poly Aquanaut
How much do these two hulls differ from each other?

Poly 'nauts beamier

– Last Updated: Apr-03-07 5:21 PM EST –

Both poly Aquanauts (LV & HV) are beamier than a standard Aquanaut. Other measures also vary.

Valley gives dimensions of RM Aquanaut LV as 17'1" x 22" x 13.5", RM 'naut HV as 17'7" x 22.5" x 14.5" and standard composite Aquanaut as 17'7" x 21.5" x 13.5"

I believe the hull shape (profile/section?) is similar among Aquanauts so the basic personality is likely similar among the different models.

Odd justifications
I would think that the primary reason is the first one wilsoj2 gives.

The Explorer has simply been around a long time, is respected, and trusted.

Some of the other comments given I find specious.

An implication that notable boaters are using them because they are sponsored? Many, if not all the NDK sponsored paddlers were already using the boat before they got sponsorship. That paints a different picture, doesn’t it?

Another comments implies that other boats are superior because in TITS 3 paddlers were using them in conditions that others, in other brands, didn’t do so well.

Hmmm, are we to blame Freya’s swim on her kayak?

Or, how about not questioning…the sponsorship of these paddlers (Sean?Valley?Aled? Rockpool?). The implication of the argument falls under it’s own weight.

I even find the comment about TITS 1 a “long commercial” for NDK amusing. Didn’t you notice the Valleys, the Fosters, even Necky’s?

Having paddled with many people featured in the TITS flicks, I can tell you they really don’t care that much. They all have there favs, yes, but if you put them in another brand and asked them to perform, they would do it (getting to the front waves of the falls of Lora has some to do with rough water skills, a lot to do with sheer power, little to do with the boats used).

Again, the Explorer has been around longer, and it still is world class in its capacities. The differences in the Rockpool, NDK and Valleys are so subtle, it could be summed up as personality differences than any significant performance difference.

lighten up!
Those of us who have been around know that Explorers are the choice of many advanced paddlers becaue of the boat’s characteristics.

Yes, of course I noticed some boats other than Explorers in TITS 1, afterall I am a Valley enthusiast and also own a Necky, but you have to admit that Explorers dominated the footage :wink:

And it sure seems as if NDK sponsors more paddlers of whom we hear than either Valley or P&H. No one said that Valley or Rockpool does not sponsor any paddlers.

The best answer IS the first that the Explorer has been around a lot longer. so what is the harm of idle speculation and chatter?

idle speculation and chatter

– Last Updated: Apr-05-07 9:51 AM EST –

what's the harm?

well, it's not like it'll be the fall of western civilization or anything like that but oft repeated misconceptions tend to spin and spin, take on a life of their own and eventually someone will take them as gospel.

for instance, i had a gentlemen tell me that being able to stand up in your boat was a bcu requirement for 5* because that's what he'd seen from nigel foster and derek hutchinson and that's the reason someone told them they were practicing it on another occassion....he had "heard it" from other paddlers as well. easilly enough dispelled with a link to bcuna and the syllabi but still. idle chatter, misconception and then down a path you go, don't you?

for example, what if we were to foster the thought...did you know that standing on your head in your boat was a good idea? no possible method of injury there....freya does it on those vids all the time so it must be safe. it'll probably be a bcu requirement in the 4* update.

as for why one boat over another? personal preference. you put any one of the folks at lora or at penwryn mawr or anywhere else in the tits vids in a 'naut or a capella or an explorer and and you'll likely get similar footage. it's the magician, not the wand - get past the gear.

that being said of course with the understanding that anyone fool enough to try to take my explorer away will be broken into small, disposable pieces.

Very refreshing post
The wanna be’s care about brand names The pro’s care about handling, and will make any boat within their parameters kick ass. They paddle what’s given to them and make it look great. It’s these pro’s ironically who are less impressed with a given brand…Hmmmmm what da ya think that means…

Flat Earth

– Last Updated: Apr-05-07 12:12 AM EST –

I don't think anyone conveyed wildly false information or denigrated any paddlers or boats in this thread.

Anyone who understands anything about paddling no more beleives that the boat is the most important aspect of very accomplished paddling than that the earth is flat.

Some people believe the clothes make the man. These folk probably also believe the boat makes the paddler. Some of those folk buy Explorers (or Nordkapps, or Alaws, etc...) and then end up selling them when they find out that good paddling is a lot of hard work. This is a good thing in that it allows dedicated paddlers to aquire good boats cheap.

Misconceptions about BCU standards are often willed ignorance or derive from lassitude. Accurate information is readily available and many paddlers with BCU training are more than willing to connect interested folk with that information and well informed coaches.

Some folk prefer to believe that the earth is flat, that dinosaur fossils are the devil's work, and the moon landing was filmed in the western US. I don't know whether they are covered by ADA, but I prefer on occaision ignore their existence.