Valley Nordkapp????

Just curious to hear some responses about the Nordkapp. Not that it will necessarily affect my decision which will be based on my own assessment but curious to hear some input…if you have criticism about the question then please move to the next post and don’t comment…

So many of you may know that I have tried about a million kayaks. I like them all and love some of them.

I have found few that compare to the Explorer as an all-around performer, especially in rough water where I really like to paddle.

So I found a great deal on a Nordkapp a few months ago and have been paddling it for a while. Unfortunately though it coincided with moving so I haven’t had as much opoortunity to paddle it in really rough conditions so I need to do some more testing.

But so far I have to say the boat is extremely impressive. It is an H2O / Current model. Paddling it back to back with the Explorer, the Nordkapp is hands-down more maneuverable, and faster. It is a very responsive boat, responding to the smallest shifts in weight, edging, etc. I find it to be an extremely refined and sophisticated boat so far.

I have had it out in moderate conditions in wind waves and surf. So far it seems really great. Super at surfing following seas, doesn’t seem to broach, responds to slight corrections on the face of a wave. Also rides up and over surf very easily and is minimally affected by beat seas…probably due to the soft chines. It’s a fun boat to paddle.

It makes the Explorer seem a bit boring…but the Explorer definitely is more stable and predictable. I have to get the Nordkapp out in some really big stuff and really high winds to be sure of its performance in such conditions which will be a huge deciding factor for me over which boat I will keep since I really like to paddle in rough water. I can say that so far though the Explorer does seem to be less affected by wind, but this is not based on a whole lot of data.

I am curious to hear the thoughts of others. Largely because of the “interesting” reviews I read. Everyone seems to say that the Nordkapp is “extremely unforgiving.” I guess I am confused by exactly what that means. I guess I can agree that if you lean it too far it requires a bit of a brace. But I haven’t experienced the “constant attention” that people seem to say this boat requires. But I have experienced…the “great reward” that it has for proper boat handling. So far I can certainly see what people are talking about there. It is perhaps the most rewarding boat I have paddled when it comes to being responsive to nuances in boat handling and good technique.

So it is a cool boat so far. Maybe my favorite one yet…subject to my testing in really big conditions which I haven’t been able to do yet. We’ll see.

Curious to hear what you all say about this boat.

Again my decision on whether to keep the Explorer or Nordkapp will be based on my experience but just curious to hear what others say. I can say that the Explorer is a hell of a boat from my experience and I’m not gonna get rid of it until I can get the Nordkapp to prove to be a better boat in really big stuff.



Oh no!
It’s awesome,buy one.

Matt, in many respects you have answered
your own question. Like you, I too am a boat whore and happen to have settled on the Kapp as my most often paddled boat. You are going to find that the more you paddle it, the more you become one with it. I imagine this is going to also sound rediculous, but it is almost like a mermaids fin. The control and predictability are excellent. It is a big boat and as such I sometimes go to my Aquanaut LV RM for breaking water and possible abuse. I am 6’3" 245 lbs so please consider this in my comments. At my size the boat is almost painted on me with all minicell seating, bulkhead, and thigh padding. Bill

The H2O was my very first boat

– Last Updated: Nov-22-10 11:35 PM EST –

... chosen by knowing that it has been on expeditions. I had no idea what I was in for. I would say it almost intimidated me. So I also put my butt in other boats as I progressed...but I kept coming back to the Kapp. Out of the boats I have it fits me the best, and I love the speed, I've had it in rougher water for my taste but I haven't had the guts to take it onto a trip where I could encounter larger conditions. I absolutely love how it paddles and how it responds. It is my best rolling boat...I think this next 12 months will be another phase of me and the 'dolphin'

The more I paddle it the more I think that this 'intimidation' is just in my head. - I love the boat.

Fellow man whore…
…I have owned the H20 since 2005…if I could have only one boat that would be it. Past boats…Looksha 4, Sparrowhawk, Greenlander, Recluse, Chatham 16, Romany, Avocet. Current fleet…One-off scratch built Greenland, H20, Superior Baidarka, Superior Greenland SOF, Inuk, Necky Rip, Jackson Fun. I found a way to make the H20 feel like a big comfy stable jon boat…paddle the Inuk 90% of the time, and just take the Nordkapp out when you want to feel really safe…

I was SCARED out of my mind…
…the first time I paddled my Nordkapp. I took my first test paddle in 20 MPH winds with some moderate waves in a less than perfect day. Within 30 seconds, I was upside down. I went from paddling a Chatham (flat bottom) to this round “Humpty Dumpty” boat. What the heck? I was SO intimidated. I never felt safe in the boat. I hated it. Hated the boat. Everything it did, every wave I hit and just about anything in the water was noticed and reacted by this boat and it felt it was ready to tip at any moment. Hated the boat…So…I bought the boat! I took it as a challenge. A year later, I am one with my Nordkapp. I LOVE my Nordkapp. I appreciate the boat and realize it made me a better paddler. It’s a fantastic kayak. If you have the chance of getting a Nordkapp, BUY IT. I call my “Humpty Dumpty” but in reality, the paddler should provide the stability. I learn to provide that for mine. By the way, I am just over 5’8", 170 pounds. My Nordkapp is 18 feet long, all white fiberglass. The boat paddles better when it has a good load of about 20 pounds front and back. That’s MY take on the boat.

had one for 3 years
Liked it from day one. Never felt tippy, but then I like getting on edge. With no load beyond my 170#, it was fairly neutral in beam winds and seas and would run down wind with 90% skeg. Sold it when I moved to US. Was between another one and Valley Q. Went with latter just to have lower volume. I find the Q less stable at rest and more affected by wind. Waves is same as Nordy. The LV was not out when I was shopping for my one and only boat. I have tried that and found it too snug for my size 13 feet.

Is your decision process and time the same for this boat as previous? Just get it and enjoy it sooner is my 2 cents.

Hey Matt

– Last Updated: Nov-23-10 3:56 PM EST –

You said it...

"But I have experienced....the "great reward" that it has for proper boat handling. So far I can certainly see what people are talking about there. It is perhaps the most rewarding boat I have paddled when it comes to being responsive to nuances in boat handling and good technique."

The Nordy pays dividends to skilled paddlers, but will often punish the unskilled.

people i know love their nordkapps dearly. I tried the RM version a few days in fairly rough conditions. For me it was like putting on and old shoe.So i was almost dissapointed with how easy it was. Iguess stuff like this is very subjective. I almost bought it, but decided to go for the pintail. Later i tried the LV brifely, enogh to get an idea of the kayak.

I also have a tempest 170 , and its propably more like an explorer. Its totally different from the nordkapp/pintails…I guess how one wants to use the kayak is alfa omega.

What did you think of the LV?
A little off topick, sorry…

I already did get the boat. I currently have both it and an Explorer and am deciding which to keep. Probably will sell one…but want to spend some more time before I decide which one goes. And…it’s hard for me to make the decision to sell the Explorer since it has been such a good boat for me.

Given that I like to paddle in rough conditions and big surf, I have a hard decision in my opinion because this is where the Explorer really excells…and where I have not had the chance yet to paddle the Nordkapp much.

So far in all the conditions I have paddled the Nordkapp I prefer it strongly to the Explorer…but sometimes the boat that feels great in moderate conditions just doesn’t feel as good as something as capable as the Explorer in rough condiitons. It’s really tough to beat there.

I guess I am mostly curious about what people mean by how it is unforgiving / requires a lot of attention, etc. I haven’t really figured out exactly what that means yet I guess, and haven’t really experienced that yet. I can only imagine that is just referring to it having lower stability I guess. That has not been a problem in anything I have paddled it in yet…moderate surf and wind waves.

Again, for me the real test will be in big conditions…winds over 25 knots, big clapotis, big breaking waves, tidal races, etc. Just haven’t gotten to paddle it in conditions like those yet…but the Explorer excells in those conditions for sure.

It is certainly a very interersting boat though and excells at all I have done with it so far.


It was good enough
to circumnavigate Ireland :slight_smile: among other things.

Chris Duff’s was the first one to circumnavigate Ireland. In his book the description of the rough water he encountered will assure any Nordkapp aspirant.

You’ve had a Nordlow…
Matt, as I recall you’ve had a Nordkapp LV and got rid of it because of its behavior in conditions. Though not identical, I believe the H2O’s personality will be closer to the Nordlow than the Explorer.


You’ve paddled enough that the Nordkapp’s “unforgiving” character won’t be an issue for you. You won’t have any problem with the Nordkapp in rougher water that you don’t have with the Explorer–in such conditions you’ll find its motion to be smoother than the Explorer’s.

You may find that the Explorer surfs a bit better–its soft chine will give you a bit better “catch” on the wave face than the smoother curve of the Nordkapp’s hull. Otherwise, I think the Nordkapp trumps.

Mine is an old HM, and the only thing I don’t like about it is the high rear coaming on the ocean cockpit makes it tougher to lay back to roll. Never a problem rolling in the Pintail, but unless I’ve been fine-tuning the roll in the Nordkapp I can’t always count on it, which is anxiety-provoking when it’s rough. The newer versions–Jubilee and H2O–fixed this issue with their redesigned cockpit.

I finally put a decent back-band in the HM a couple of weeks ago, but I haven’t had it out since. I’ll be interested to see if that helps–I was able to layback my head onto the deck in the garage, so that ought to be enough!

Saving a few minutes of learning curve
…coming down wave, sit up straighter, and bring your working stern rudder blade further forward than in the Explorer. Edge the boat more agressively away from desired turn direction…it will work, just like a sideslip works…and don’t worry so much about edging into a beam wave…plant any old low brace and watch the Nord take care of the rest. Best of all, after paddling the Nord for a while in calm water, jump back into the Explorer and notice how it feels like you’re towing someone.

like gassera said…
you seemm to have the skills required, so you won’t have to endure a learning curve.

how did i like the nordkapp lv? It was great. Most people i know that almost have a religious feeling with their nordkapps,mentions its ability to cope with really rough conditions. The reasons i did go for the pintail was that i had some problems turing it in strong wind. I might be on the light side for these boats, and the roto nordkapp has less rocker than ther lv. This was inside a lagune and gale force winds, not much waves. so it wanted to get its nose away from the wind…out in more waves i didnt have that problem, but the pintail definately is easier to turn in conditions, at a price of course. If i had been a “expedition kayaker” the nordkapp would be the best choice of the two, but for playing in wind and rough water i chose the PIntail. ive had a distant love affair with the pinny since i first saw it.

The bottom line here is very subjective i guess. I dont want to part with my old beat up tempest170. But i think the pinny will be my main kayak for some time.

Of course my good friend here that is an importer of valley has a White nordlow, that i can have at a very good price…hehe.I think if i were to get a nordie i would have the full version as an expedition kayak.

What you NEED to buy is a kayak trailer. Your journey to find the perfect kayak will never end, and that’s OK. Helps the paddling economy. They are all good and depending on sea state you may want one one day and another the next. I’d bet my 401K that YOU will always be searching for the next kayak, so, get a trailer and have several is my suggestion. Don’t limit yourself to the pain and frustration of only having one kayak.

I can only imagine the trailer choosing process. Whew, This is meant in good nature Matt.

the Nordkapp

– Last Updated: Nov-24-10 11:57 AM EST –

I see the name a lot but get pretty confused about them. I did happen to notice in this years Canoe and Kayak 2011 buyers guide (pg 62) they have a picture of Paul Caffyn presumably in a Nordkapp and in the text it mentions that midway through his circumnavigation of Australia way back when he had it modified with a "heavy storm Rudder"

The text does mention others who have done all sorts of things in a Nordkapp so I guess it depends on what year model your boat was made how it will handle.

Still a rudder on a Brit boat seems get one to wondering...

salty is right.

– Last Updated: Nov-24-10 12:55 PM EST –

a trailer is a must for the adventurous kayaker. and im dead serious.The problem might be what trailer? perhaps one should have more than one trailer too? fuel economy etc etc if you only want to bring 2-3kayaks, and not the entire arsenal!
this is a very nice article that you propably know. anyway , heres a link.