Valley Nordkapp -vs- Prijon Seayak

Im athletic 5’9" 195 lbs. I live in Northern California and will be using a kayak mostly on lakes rivers up to a class II. I will mix in several trips to the Ocean each year. I hope to do some multi day trips but that will be dependent on time and money…I would very much appreciate any input regarding a contrast and comparison of the Valley Nordapp -v- the Prijon Seayak. (Both would be the plastic/non-fiberglass models)


owned a Seayak, now an Aquanaut

– Last Updated: Apr-18-11 10:47 PM EST –

were you thinking of a composite Nordkap or a plastic? Prijon's best quality is that it is indestructible. I turns fairly well, but weathercocks a lot. It could be a good choice if not going real far and could be a bit better if your mild rivers have a few rocky obstacles.

Valleys' plastic boats have a different plastic, but I hear tell their three layer plastic is very stiff and durable. The Nordkapp would track better and cover distances easier. It would also handle bigger waves better (big boat wake or wind waves on a lake). Though it make take a bit longer to feel that better handling if you're still new to kayaking.

Why these 2 models?
They’re very different from each other.

I’ve paddled the RM Nordkapp a fair bit. My guess it that it would be terrible on rivers. It’s over 18’ long. I think manuvering around rocks, etc would be tough.

It’s great for open water, but has low initial stability. Some paddlers love it, but I also know some very good paddlers who can’t stand the wobbly feel. So make sure you test it our before you buy.

Nordkapp on rivers
A Nordkapp is a blast on even pretty narrow rivers if you put it on edge. If there’s a lot of current it can still get pushed around, though.

What about shorter?

– Last Updated: Apr-19-11 9:43 AM EST –

I am thinking of something like the Dagger Alchemy or similarly maneuverable boats from P&H, intended to be playful but still touring boats.

I tend to agree about the Nordkapp or anything at full expedition length. It can be done but you will really have to muscle the boat thru moving water.

I paddle the Nordkapp on open water and some smaller faster rivers and it does take some time and skill to quickly turn the boat to avoid debris/rocks. It is an acquired taste to learn how to edge comfortably and more so in faster currents. It’s definitely a try before you buy so you know what you’re getting into and wouldn’t take it on anything over class II. But for sea kayaks, it is one of the most maneuverable boats out there and can do it all on the open water

Seayak opinion…
I have 2 Prijon’s …Seayak and a Calabria( 14 ft) …I would not rate either boat all that great @ turning fast or predictable. I bought the boats ,used,based on Prijon’s reputation for being able to handle abuse well, for use in rocky waters in my area. I’m not really sold on their Trihederal hulls being the best or suited well, for fast water manuvering. No complaints on the boats otherwise. I really like the keyhole cockpit opening for getting in and out and I like the external D-rings on Prijon boats as aids in tying stuff on deck, you don’t see that on any other brand boat that I am aware of.

Alternative Prijon Kayak
The Nordkapp and Seayak and two entirely different boats. If the majority of your paddling will be on lakes and rivers (with the occasional/“possible”) camping trips you may want to consider the Prijon Yukon Expedition as well. Supposedly very good for most type of paddling and has a relatively large storage capacity. Many paddlers do complain about tracking however and some find it very rudder dependent.

The previously mentioned Dagger Alchemy may also be an interesting and fun option, albeit with lower gear capacity.

Trend in River Kayaks
Be aware the trend in WW boats is wide flat bottoms, hard edges, and short. The Nordkapp it the polar opposite: narrow round hull, no hard chines, and long.

Have you looked at Delta kayaks? they’re durable and vesatile. A cheaper option may be Nifty kayaks.

agreed - yukon expedition would be good
the yukon expedition is fairly decent for a wide variety of waters - from open lakes to twisty creeks… it also doesn’t do bad in ww up to about class II-III (depending on the paddler, and provided not many ledge drops - due to length)…

it is a very maneuverable kayak and does have a decent cargo carrying capacity…it will track decently IF paddled by someone who has some basic paddling skills…

it would make an excellent river boat for camping out of…

and almost indestructible…

WW boats designated as ‘River Runners’ tend to be longer and less boxy than the very short squarish ww boats for play. Some, such as the Remix series, are reminiscent of old school ww boats.

The kayaks termed ‘general purpose’ boats in the UK are very like old school ww boats - some actually are. A lot of fun can be had in a Pirouette :wink:

Great advise from all
Thank you for all the kind replies. Most of the my river time would be on the larger, wider and slower running rivers. I was also looking at the new “Etain” by Valley. Seems to be designed with more initial stability. I still like the Prijon Seyak, but a little concerned with how it responds in light to moderate winds. Any and all advice is greatly apppreciated.

I’d love to try the new Etain. LEt us know how you like it if you try one.

unsolicited advice
The thread is almost dead, it is time to revive it in a true fashion - give you advice that you never asked for.

Long boats have potential for quickness, but sometimes speed is overrated ( that’s what she said)

A shorter livelier design can be a blast both for rivers and ocean play.

Anyways, try PH Capella 166 RM, should be a very good fit at your size. PH Scorpio is a newer design, still very maneuverable, very stable due to the hull shape.

"There’s nothing like a Valley"
Yes, indeed, try an Etain when you can. Douglas Wilcox has a useful review here:

I would also recommend you try a Romany. Very reassuring and maneuverable. A blast to paddle, especially if you like to play in a boat.

Like I said, any advice is truly appreciated. I have been a professional in an entirely different sports arena and am looking forward to a new passion. I am currently recovering from a 3rd major knee surgery over the past 6 months…so its a great time to do some research and learn…It looks like the Scorpio & Cappella are in the 16-17 foot range. Is that considered to be a shorter boat or is that just a recommendation on a different boat? I do understand your point about speed, unless your in a race, its probably overated and largely unnoticed.

Speed May Not Be Your Priority
You may not be looking to go top speed, but you will notice efficiency.

In reality there’s no such thing as a ‘fast’ kayak, since kayaks don’t move themselves. There are efficient kayaks.

No kayak excels at everything, so think about your priorities: efficiency, stability, manuverability, durability, cost, weight, comfort, straight tracking, surfing, rough water capabilities, rolling capability…

More of one can mean less of another, so decide your priorities first, and then the pnet community can suggest the best kayak options for you.

different hulls
Even though some people take their racing hulls to rivers it is my belief that a shorter more nimble hull provides more fun.

Capella 166 RM, in particular, is a very playful design

And, I would ask you consider something even shorter, like PH Delphin 15.5 ft. That is not to say that other manufacturers don’t make excellent boats ( Zephyr 16ft, Alchemy 14ft).

Whatever you decide to get, make sure you try it on the river - any of these boats will work on flat water and ocean. The only problem that I see - you might not have enough skill to make your decision - a boat that feels fine first day on the water might be barge a few months later.

why nordkapp?
I’m curious how you settled on a Nordkapp for one of your choices? Based on what you describe as your priorities, I’d take it off the list. If you want a plastic tripping boat capable of efficiency, you’d be better off trying the Valley Aquanaut instead. It’s a touch smaller, got more stability, and it’s easier to turn. It’s still a tripping sea kayak though, and it will help you (require you) to learn good skills such as leaned turns, bracing, etc. Great boat if you’re looking to get into ocean kayaking.

If your heart isn’t set on something designed to cover miles on the ocean, then I agree that getting something shorter and a little more playful would make more sense. Some 16’ sea kayak designed to be more maneuverable. The difference in speed will barely be noticeable, but especially as a beginner you’ll definitely notice that you can turn it without developing your skills as much as something like an Aquanaut.

Is that considered to be a shorter boat
Most sea kayaks range from around 15.5’ to 18’ (and 19-24" wide) Those around 16’ or less are often termed day boats. Those over 17’ are often termed expedition boats. Those called play boats are usually of the day boat length or less (e.g. Dagger Alchemy, P&H Delphin).

Many paddlers have more than one boat as different hulls are better suited to different uses/conditions. Besides it is often useful to have a ‘guest boat’.