p&h Quest vs Valley Nordkapp H2o

Looking for feed back on these two boats only.







7.Rough Water

Can’t tell you about the Nordkap, but the Quest is a lovely boat loaded. W/o weight it is “corky.” True also for the Quest LV. The Quest is an expedition boat that is made for multiday tripping, not day trips. It is faster and straighter tracking than an Explorer, and will surf OK if you can control the edges. P&H quality and attention to detail is very good, as is comfort. You can take pictures–primary stability is good–and secondary, especially when loaded, is very good. I can easily balance brace the Quest loaded. It rolls easily, but the cockpit is quite large to fit those big Scots–I had to do a lot of modification to make it rollable. Deck is OK but a bit high for a GP. As for rough water, handling is predictable and reassuring. I had the choice of an Explorer or Quest to do the SW coast of Newfoundland–I took the Quest. That said, if I were looking to by an all around boat that was suitable for expedition paddling, I’d probably buy a Force 4. Best, John

Partial comparisons
My opinions as a Quest owner.

1.surfing: Quest seems quick to broach, I’ve never surfed a Nordcapp.

2.speed: edge goes to the Nordcapp.

3.rolling: edge goes to the Nordcapp, I can balance brace a Nordcapp, but the Quest forces me under when empty.

4.comfort: I can sit in my Quest all day, it’s the most comfortable boat I’ve been in to date.

5.stability: Quest seems more stable (comparing empty boats) and is very stable when loaded.

6.Maneuverability: This is what sold me on the Quest, it responds very nicely when on edge, even when fully loaded - seems like a good balance of speed and maneuverability.

7.Rough Water: The Quest takes it in stride, very predictable, but I’m sure the Nordcapp excels as well.

Ultimately, how the boats feel to you is most important, so get some seat time in each if at all possible. Buy what feels best to you, don’t get too wrapped up in the opinions of others.

Dave (6’4" - 225lbs)

I have never surfed a Quest…
but my experience in the Jubilee S is excellent in standing waves or shore break. I broach it alot, too, so there is no silver bullet for that. Looks: to me it is hard to beat a Nordkapp in that department. Clearly a Miss Universe contestant. My vote goes to Miss Venus, but not Miss Pluto.

Augustus Dogmaticus


Nordkapp vs Quest
Thanks for your responses. A little more food for thought. I am 5’11" 230lbs. I have had several boats. I paddled an impex assateague, CD Sirocco, and I now have an Capella RM and an NDK Greenlander pro. The greenlander seems to be a great boat. I tracks great, edges great, and is fast. It is harder to roll and does not surf as well in the big stuff, because of the legnth. My probelm is it fits a little snug. I either need to lose some weight or think about getting another boat. I have narrowed it down to these two boats. I like to go on long paddles so comfort and speed are a plus. I never load the boat down, but I do paddle for 2-4 hours. I have paddle the explorer HV which fits great but it just does not do it for me. I really like the finish on the p&h and Valley boats. Plus there is a dealer in my area that carries these boats. I am going to use the Capella for my all around boat. Now I need to find an boat for longer paddles with good quality.Also I know I need some seat time in both boats, but your feed back will help me look for different qualities of each boat. Thanks

what colour?
Tongue partly in cheek, what are your favorite colours, and which boat can you get it in?

OK, my qualification- I owned a Quest for years, and when I sold it, I used a friends Nordy untill my new boat arrived. I have used both in quite a range of conditions, from very high winds, Pacific surf, pushing them to hull speeds, and bird watching.

  1. Surfing- on wind waves, they are both great. Unloaded, the Nordy may seem twitchier than the Q to a less accomplished paddler, but I think it doesnt take much to get used to. An edge to the Nordy becuase it accelerates a bit better. On surf zone, well… the Nordy might broach a bit quicker, but I think is easier to bring back on line.
  2. Speed. Honestly, unless you are over 5kn a lot, there just will not be an appreciable difference in your energy cost.

    3.Rolling. Do not ask me, you will not like the anser. OK, you asked. If anyone thinks there is any difference, they need some rolling practice. To me, it is like asking which boat does the better sweep stroke.

    4.Comfort. I have spent hours in both, and my butt was happy in either, but results of other butts may vary. The forward cockpit height on both are deep, for me, I like that in a tripping boat becuase I spend a lot of time with knees together, a la racing boats. The seats are different, this may be the biggest difference for you.

    5 Stability. One person mentioned a “corky” feel of the Nordy when unloaded. While that is quite subjective, I think there is something to that. They are both gear boats, after all. Slight edge to the Q for having more effective hull in the water unloaded. Very slight edge…
  3. Manouverability. They are different in their turning profiles, the Nordy can skid her stern about quicker when edged. Both are reasonably manouverable for such long boats, loaded or unloaded. Slight edge to the Nordy when loaded, 'cuz she will be slightly easier to edge than the Q (same feature relates to the slightly “twitchier” feel when unloaded).

    7 Rough water. Neither boat will limit you.

    8 Was there an item 8? No? I will add it- wind. The achilles heel of long, high volume boats. This is where I give better marks to the Nordy. Both weatherhelm nastily unloaded, but the Nordy is slightly more balanced, and is easier to correct without using the skeg. When loaded, both will behave better, but the Nordy still corrects easier.


Aquanaut/Aquanaut HV?
If you are demoing Valley boats you might think to try whichever Aquanaut you fit. A newer and more refined hull design than either Quest or Nordkapp, the 'naut is very well mannered, with good speed and great secondary/final stability - especially the regular version.

own a Norkapp, so here’s my 2cents…
i doubt i can add much or improve upon Karl’s insights. from what i’ve read from that fella, he would be seriously in the know compared to almost anyone in these matters. i would also refer you to my review of the boat in that section of Pnet.

1.surfing- rounded hull shape doesn’t exactly carve well, but overall speed and rocker lends to exciting surfing. resists pearling well. however stability profile keeps you on your toes the whole way.

2.speed- too complicated to even understand, the more i read, the worse it gets. as Karl says, no real diff that you or i could notice.

3.rolling- rolls lightly, very low rear coaming and snug fitting cockpit facilitates this.

4.comfort- my view on this evolves. it is generally comfortable, excellent contoured seat and great backband. however- for my leg length and overall size (6’5", 205) the cockpit design holds my legs very low and it’s narrowness (this boat is more slender than it’s overall beam indicates by a long shot) keeps my legs fairly close together. i have decided not to sell my Cadence based on my reassessment of long term comfort. i would like my legs higher and wider (al la Cadence) for better long trip comfort and some leeway when wearing winter clothing. this has become my main concern with my Nord.

5.stability- lowish, but lively. secondary is vague but would not be an issue for you.

6.Maneuverability- very, considering the boat’s purpose. it is not a Gulfstream, however, and will not spin on a dime. for carving turns at speed as during paddling, it is excellent. for throwing around in tight spaces, less so, but still not bad.

7.Rough Water- excels here. low windage, low surface area, low everything with lots of rocker, so it performs well and predictably, but- mind your edging, as i say the secondary is not rock solid, and it can catch you up.

the only area where i would part from Karl’s observations is volume. many people think of the Nordkapp as a huge high volume tripping boat. i just don’t see where this comes from. it has a fairly short waterline, and is very very slim. it gains it’s full beam in a round about way, starting off pinched, and remaining like that for a long way. though i haven’t paddled a Quest, i’m absolutely certain that it is fuller (like an Argonaut) than the Nord and would haul more gear more easily.

my guess is that for your size and legs you would find the Nordkapp overly snug. if you are thinking about big guy comfort in a high performance kayak there are likely stronger candidates, but you already know that!

curious to see what you think, and what you go for.

JBV, which Nordkapp version do you have?

greenlander pro
if by chance you are looking for a new home for it and it has an ocean cockpit…let me know…


current version
no longer called anything but Nordkapp. made in 2005. no fin thing, just normal Nordkapp. not called H2O anymore, but that’s what it is.

i like to call it the Nordkapp NN (non nomenclature) just to be a smart ass…

i suppose the 2006 models could be called something else, as they are said to be a bit lighter due to construction changes. also new boat has abs seat with some foam on it but it is the same shape as the glass seat in mine. it’s a very good seat either way.

Greenlander pro
Thanks for all of your replies, I am going to keep the greenlander. NDK makes a new foam seat that fits great in the boat. Now my boat fits like a glove, but I am still thinking about a Valley to add to my fleet.

There’s nothing like a Valley :wink: