Valley Aquanaut LV

Does anybody have any time in this boat?

How does it compare to a standard Aquanaut, Nordkapp LV? or even an NDK Explorer (not LV-big cockpit difference), or really any other boat for that matter.

I have not been able to sit in one let alone paddle one here in the Northeast, so any (experienced) feedback would be greatly appreciated.

I have a lot of time in the LV though I
have no basis of comparison to the other boats you mention:

I intitially enjoyed the boat and I’m even more satisfied as the season progresses and I gain familiarity with the nuances of the LV.

It fits me great at 5’9" and 150#.

which one? Plastic or composite ? NM

Plastic- I believe the composite is a
little tighter. The composite actually fit me better but I am rough on yaks.

composite only please
I have paddled Valley RM boats (Avocet & Aquanaut) & I do not feel they are comparable to their same-named composite boats.

I do not know why Valley insists on refering to boats made of different materials & performing differently, by the same name.

I have paddled the Composite Aquanaut (at 17’7"), however, I am intereseted in any info on the LV model (composite). At 17’1" & lower decks, I have heard it is a somewhat different boat & I am interested in the good & bad of it’s differences.

L Valley
Try researching the Nordkapp, many different boats over the years and in Europe they call the Q boat a HV Anas. I think it may have something to do with their tradition and royalty. Many different members of the House of Windsor, all different but with the same blood lines.

Some similarities per the Valley

– Last Updated: Nov-17-06 9:58 AM EST –

website between plastic and composite:

"Sized slightly larger than the composite LV, this model is ideally suited to paddlers of average weight and below. Like all other Enthusiast polyethylene models, this kayak incorporates all of Valley’s advanced construction features and provides handling similar to its composite sibling. *Weight as for standard Diolen construction, weighed without hatches."

Why would one assume they handle differently if one has not paddled both?

Anyway- I hope you receive very favorable comments on the composite. I am truly impressed by Valley's workmanship and construction and I have sat in (but not demoed) all of their composite, as well as plastic boats for many hours.

I have demoed them all…

– Last Updated: Nov-19-06 9:37 PM EST –

and here are my impressions of all three boats in composite. I have also paddled the Aquanaut LV in poly, which is slightly roomier in the cockpit than the composite model. I believe the poly version measures ½ to ¾ inches wider at its beam. Like Bruce I go about 5’ 9” and 150 pounds.

Much has already been printed about the NDK Explorer here on All I can add is that I ‘swim’ in the cockpit without adding substantial minicell foam outfitting.

The Aquanaut LV and the Nordkapp LV are to very different beasties. I had both out for about a four hour test paddle.
Conditions: Slight winds and small wavelets. It was definitely not lumpy seas and high winds, but it still gave me decent feel for each boat’s personality.

The Nordkapp LV has beautiful lines and with its upswept bow and stern it is quite pleasing to look at. It has a higher fore deck than the ‘Naut, which I sometimes clipped with my paddle since I am use to the lower deck of the WS Tempest 165.

The Nordkapp LV turns on a dime and is a 'lively' boat. I felt it was almost as maneuverable as Valley’s Pintail. It would work best for a seasoned paddler. One that performs minor corrective strokes, without thought, when keeping their boat on-line. I didn’t have any issues, but a novice is going to find that the bow of the Nordkapp will ‘wander’ on them.

The Nordkapp has a slightly larger cockpit and with the stock outfitting I had to concentrate on maintaining five points of contacts when rolling her. I didn’t blow any rolls, but a couple were sloppy. I found the primary stability of the Nordkapp to be fairly low (i.e. ‘twitchy’) and the secondary was a bit vague. I am sure it will work very well in heavy seas, but it is not going to make a good fishing or photography platform if that is your inclination. ;-)

The Aquanaut is nice to look at, but its lines are honestly rather plain when compared to its Nordy sibling. The Aquanaut has lower fore and aft decks and a little more beam than the Nordkapp (~1”).

The Aquanaut LV was like an old pair of shoes for me. It has many of the nuances of the WS Tempest, which I have paddled for several years. It demonstrated both strong initial and secondary stability. It was very easy for me to roll and to deep scull for support. It was not as maneuverable as the Nordkapp, but still turns with ease, just not as quickly. The Aquanaut is a bit faster boat point-to-point than the Nordkapp and it does not require quite as much attention to keep it on-line. I also felt that the Aquanaut LV was a little faster than my Tempest 165, just a smidge, but then it does have more wetted waterline.

In the end I ordered a custom Aquanaut LV, because it fit my needs better than the Nordkapp LV (or several other boats that I demoed). I viewed the Aquanaut LV as more of an 'all-rounder' than the Nordy. It just disappears under me. Please do not get me wrong. If I could afford the money, time and storage space for both boats I would order the Nordkapp LV in a heartbeat. It is a fun boat to paddle, but life's realities must be factored in.

I hope you find these comments helpful.
Safe paddling, Joe

Many thanks Joe
Your descriptions were exactly what I was looking for.

It seems that the Aquanaut LV (composite) is too new a boat, so not only is one difficult to locate for demo, but info is also scarce.

Thanks again for taking the time to to share your experiences.

Very few in the U.S. at this time
Your are correct Sea_Kayaker.

From what I understand there are currently only a handful of composite Aquanaut LVs currently in the U.S.

The same goes for the Nordy LV.

For some reason Valley had a very difficult time getting these boats to the State this year. Even the promised demo boats were scarce. Expect to see more of them showing up Stateside in '07.

Safe paddling,


reply from Valley
Just to fill in a few of the gaps. Sizing-wise there are differences between the Plastic and composite versions of the Aquauant. This was deliberately planned into the range, the thinking being that (in general) as people progress through a sport there requirements become more fine tuned because not only do there senses become more finely tuned, meaning they can detect suble difference between products but also their use (generally) becomes more focused.

Take this example: Someone gets into cycling. They start out doing everything; fun day rides with friends, some lightweight touring, an occasional club race etc. all on the same bike. Over time they get more into the touring, so they either make some adaptations or upgrades to their existing bike or more likely buy a bike slightly more focused on touring. Over more time they get more heavily into ultra distance touring, save up and buy a very specialised bike for that purpose.

This is how most people progress through a sport i.e. try all it has to offer, then hone in on the area or areas we get most enjoyment from, it doesn’t mean we stop doing the other parts and sometimes this is why we end up with a quiver of bikes or kayaks or skis or whatever.

Back to the Aquanaut, this is our solid all rounder, it can do everything reasonably well and somethings very well (like inspire confidence). At introductory level we offer it in club form, sized to accommodate and perform for the widest possible range of paddlers, move up to the full spec. enthusiast RM versions and we offer these in two sizes one for the average sized paddler down and one for the average size paddler up. Obviously this is where intended use comes into play. A larger paddler might choose the LV because he will find it a more playfull day boat and a smaller paddler might choose the HV because they do more extended trips and gear capacity is there priority. Move up in to the composite range and the choice opens up into three sizes, the small being smaller still the middle being (obviously) in the middle and the large being larger still. Kind of an inverse pyramid!

If we take a wider view of the whole range this inverse pyramid exists there two, with the Aquanaut forming the back bone with bratches into the shorter Avocet, the more committing Nordkapp and further up the highly specialist Rapiers and at the other extremes the surf boats.

Possibly this helps to make sense of our range, if not just dismiss it as the ranting’s of a mad-kayak-obsessed man!

P.S. we have 5 more containers of boats scheduled coming to the US in 2007 than we managed in 2006, so supply should not be an issue next season

5 more containers in 2007?

– Last Updated: Nov-18-06 2:22 PM EST –

Would those be 40' or 20' containers?

Assuming 40' to take advantage of more favorable ocean freight rates, at an average cubic foot measure of a Valley boat of 51 cubic feet (approx. 17'X2'x1.5'), and 2,000 cubic feet to a 40' container, I estimate Valley can fit 39 boats in a container. five additional containers in a year is 195 more boats than in 2006.

Depending on the mix of sales between plastic and composite (average selling price [guess] to dealers [not consumers] is $1,500 to $2,000),
Valley will yield incremental sales dollars of $300,000 to $400,000 in the US in 2007.

Being a recently converted Valley fan, and I know another Valley boat is in my future, growth of 195 boats seems low for an outstanding product (and I say that in total ignorance of the paddlesports market in general and current market trends).

Have you considered advertising more on (or elsewhere) or expanding the number or changing the mix of dealerships you sell to?

Just a few idle thoughts on a Saturday A.M. before I take my "Naut" out for a spin.

& now I know why
Thank you also, orton1966, for you excellent explanation regarding your boats.

It seems similar to the automobile industry.

If you took a Ford Mustang as an example, there is the standard model, the convertible, the GT, and also variations/combinations of each of these. Each perform a little differently, but ultimately have much more in common (being the Mustang model) than they have in differences.

So now Valleys approach makes perfect sense to me.

Just as a data point: We’re shipping over 24 kayaks in a 20’ container from a different company for the spring. The kayaks are between 16.5’ and just under 20’. Including a couple doubles.

shipping information

– Last Updated: Nov-18-06 4:59 PM EST –

We ship almost always by 40ft container, in a 20ft box we would get approx 28 boats, in a 40ft it can be 70+

Yes to some this growth might seem small but remember we are a small independent company that makes all kayaks in-house, therefore all growth has to be sustainable and need to be created organically

Is it a regular 40’ or a "high-cube"
40’? 70+ seems high considering a 20’ holds 28 yaks and is 1,000 CF. Are they stacked in boxes or nested in plastic wrap?

Reading the tone of my posts above, which in retrospect do not appear very amiable, I did not intend to be unkind. As indicated, I have become a big Valley fan and feel that many more paddlers, once they experience a Valley yak, will also become devotees.

I wish you all the best of luck and I do understand when you indicate that your business model is attempting to attain sustainable organic growth.

container packing

Yes they are high cube containers, the extra kayaks comes mainly from the extra length, 20ft equals approx 3ft waisted space, in a 40ft the tapering ends of the kayaks allows enough overlap to get nearly a third full set of kayaks. Kind of hard to explain how we rack it but kayaks are surported on a series of adjustable padded beams

Nordkapp v. Aquanaut

I must say, in comparison to the other two boats that you mention, the NDK Explorer is huge. It is a larger boat and has a highr deck. As for the differece between the Norkapp LV and the Aquanaut LV, the Nordkapp will track a little bit better and has lower initial stability. Concerning manueverability I would say these two boats are about the same as long as you are comfortable edging. Though the Nordkapp is longer I find it is much more playfull then the Aquanaut. For me the Nordkapp’s cockpit in the LV version fits better then the Aquanaut’s simply because the deck is just a little bit higher.

disagree on one point

– Last Updated: Nov-19-06 9:43 AM EST –

I feel most of your comments are spot on, but the Nordy LV does not "track a little bit better".
It has far more rocker than the Aquanaut LV. Just look at the boat's profile. That is one reason for its playfulness.

In a tracking contest the Aquanaut will win hands-down. It would be accurate to say that the Nordkapp LV tracks a bit better than the Pintail. However, in moderate quartering winds one will probably have drop a bit of skeg to keep the Nordy on-line. That's unless you really want to work at it.

Safe paddling,

OT: Backband.
Keep posting about the original intent of this thread, but since we have knowledgeable Valley reps on the line: is Valley planning any revision to theiralmost universally reviled backbands? One glance through the Pnet reviews indicates precisely what everyone I have ever heard about Valey boats–rollers and non-rollers alike–that the backband is atrocious and requires replacement. I have an Avocet, new, and have not been in it enough to know yet, but after a couple hours, I am suspicious of an impending modification in my garage this winter.