Valley Pintail

-- Last Updated: Oct-21-07 5:40 AM EST --

After a lot of kayaktesting I bought a Valley Nordkapp std this summer - and I am really pleased with this kayak. However, I am also looking for a boat for playing the sea in addition to the Nordkapp. Going to try the new Tide Race X-Cite when it comes to Norway, and have already tried the Rockpool Alaw which I really like.

One boat that really has cought my interest lately is the Valley Pintail, but how is this kayak for big guys? I am 220 lbs in paddling shape and 6 foot 3" tall (191 cm). Do any of you who are familiar with the Pintail think that I could fit in that kayak?


Have you tried the Nordkapp LV?
It is rated at a little higher weight capacity than the Pintail.

This is a review matching the Nord LV and the Alaw since you have already paddled the Alaw.

I suspect that you would be a little too heavy for this boat. I paddle an Avocet which was originally designed as a replacement for the Pintail, but happily both still coexist. When I was at 195-200lbs. I was pushing the upper limit of the Avocet, especially when loaded with gear. I only used it for day trips and never carried too much gear. It might work for you, but I don’t think you would be in it’s designed optimal performance weight range.


I’m 6’ 165 lbs. and I just

– Last Updated: Oct-21-07 9:33 AM EST –

fit into my pintail. Even my skinny butt fit so tight that I had to trim the front of the seat supports so they wouldn't cut into the side of my thighs. I have the foot pegs all the way forward and I wish I could move them one notch farther forward. I think your weight would be at it's maximum. It's an awesome kayak to paddle in rough conditions. What I really like about the pintail for rough conditions is that it's hull design allows the kayak to stay on top of the water giving the paddler a great deal of control. If your handy you could move the front bulkhead and get a different seat and you'd be alright.

depends what year?
I recently sat in a 2006 keyhole pintail & it

felt alot bigger then the 1999 keyhole I

used to own. Over the years its like Valley

kept adding volume to this boat. If you go back

to early 1990’s it was abit lower volume compared to now.

I paddle an '01
and weigh 190 or so and have a 36" waist & 34" inseam. I really need to pad out the sides of the seat for a better fit and I still have a couple notches to go forward on the foot braces. Should be a great play boat for weather, but small volume for extended trips at your weight.

I still can’t
figure out all the interest in Pintails. I had one for a week to try out and it made me glad I had a Romany.

Beautyin the eye fo the beholder
The Pintail has very dramatic lines. Likely, this has something to do with it. Haven’t had much seat time in one (plenty in Avocet and Romany), but it is one of the prettiest designs in my eyes.


Pintails, Romanys, Nordkapp LV…

– Last Updated: Oct-22-07 8:46 AM EST –

The Pintail has had some change since its early iteration. Early ones seem quite different from recent - rounder, lower volume, flat rear deck...(see Brian's post above) Some love them.

Both the Romany and the Avocet evolved from the Pintail. Each has a personality of its own - each different from the Pintail though basically intended for similar use. Each attempt to be a better mannered boat (read less demanding of the paddler).

The Nordkapp LV is a blast. It is very different from a standard Nordkapp and is in someways a better behaved Pintail - better tracking and speed while being very lively and responsive.

Why Pintail
Thanks for the answers - they are very useful for me as there are very few if any Pintails here in Norway - and the distributors does not know this boat either.

My brother paddles a Nordkapp Jubilee with Ocean Cockpit and his wife has a Nordkapp LV (and they also have an old Nordkapp HM…) - and I am very aware of the LV. My brother uses the boat as his playboat - I suspect he had this in mind when he talked his wife into the LV:-)

The reason I did not buy that one was that I wanted some extra volume for touring - which is why I bought the Nordkapp std.

What really tempts me about the Pintail is to have a playful sea kayak that would force me to paddle correctly and put years of white water paddling to its right. If I can manage to get into this kayak, it would be ordered without skeg to really be a “paddling technique developer”:slight_smile:


I’ll venture out on the limb a little here…

When or if your ordering you might want to keep in mind that ww boats often have a flat bottom yet many surfing kayaks have three fins, much like a surfboard. Fins to me are realy just non- adjustable skegs.

So a boat with a skeg might not be a negative but an enhancement to it’s ablity.

You would want to be confident in your choice that eleminating it from the design would not be counterproductive to it’s potential abilities.

Just some food for thought…

There was only one change to the Pintail
In '94 or '95, they changed both the hull and deck shape, making the hull squarer in cross section and adding a shallow arch to the aft deck. The newer design has more volume, but I don’t think it changed the weight limit significantly. IMO 220# is too heavy for a Pintail. A friend of mine who’s a little lighter than that has a Pintail that we refer to as the “Yellow Submarine” for good reason.

Get the skeg!

– Last Updated: Oct-22-07 9:24 AM EST –

My brother owns an early Pintail and I paddle it every now and then. On a following sea, with no skeg, the boat is just about impossible to keep going straight. It's a fun boat with fast, easy turns it's major asset. But, it's highly skeg dependant. If your goal is to go around in circles in a rip - fine, but if you like to catch surf rides, forget it without a skeg.

One time I was coming in with a 3 ft following sea and the skeg was jammed up. What a chore and believe me, my bow and stern rudders are good. I couldn't wait to get into shore to fix it.

The Anas and Pintail are probably the most beautiful production boats ever made.

" years of white water paddling"
Some assert that the Romany handles the most like a whitewater boat of any sea kayak. I can’t say that is absolutely true, but my Romany handles closer to a whitewater boat than any other sea kayak I’ve paddled.

Cut to the chase
You may sink that boat.

It is a tiny person boat.

I have a simple rule. If you can’t paddle it a couple of miles without a spray deck it is not the boat for you.

I have not paddled that boat but have played in it’s rivals. Great for rolling but without a spray deck it is not fit for me.

Oh I never paddle without a spray deck but some day it may break and if the cockpit is level with the sea when I start it will be full of the sea when I end.

I have a Pintail and a Nordkapp LV, both are standard fiberglass layup. I am 6’1" and 175, the pintail is really a bit too small for me but a lot of fun to paddle. The Nordkapp LV fits me perfect but with less rocker the the Pintail is a calmer paddle. If you are looking for a fun boat then between the two the Pintail would be one great choice for sure, the Nordkapp LV while fun is a bit more stable and tracks better.

My Pintail is 10 years old, Ocean cockpit with a built in deck pump, the Nordkapp LV is new this year and also has a built in deck pump, so the comparison between these boats is pretty good as far as weight and outfitting. Hope this information helps a bit. Regards.

I have a 2001 Pintail with keyhole (wish I gone OC) cockpit. It is a wonderful rough water boat because it so maneuverable with the skeg up. All that rocker is terrific in confused seas meaning rock gardes, zippers in tide races etc. I tend to keep a bit of skeg down surfing but it still needs to be worked. Max hull speed it 4 knots and going faster doesn’t add much straightline trackability. W/o the skeg, going in a straight line is a PITA, which is most of what we do most of the time. Omitting the skeg IMHO would not be wise. You can probably manage leg length if you order a custom front bulkhead and might be OK weight-wise if you don’t carry much gear. Loaded with you and a ton of stuff, it would likely loose all its playfulness. John

Get a skeg

– Last Updated: Oct-24-07 7:07 PM EST –

A maneuverable long sea kayak handles much differently than a short river kayak. This kayak is very skeg dependent and for most paddling would not be much fun without the skeg down a little. I seem to keep my skeg dropped about a 1/4 of the way down and the kayak handles very nice. It can be very unpredictable and non responsive without the skeg for someone of my weight.

Thanks for all the replys. I guess I have to work out seriously to get rid of some more bodyfat - I was down to 200 lbs when I raced K1s in very good shape:-)

I am very tempted of the idea of ordering a sea kayak like the Pintail without skeg, it is something like the idea of a bicycle with no gears - a singlespeed:-)

I have some experience in kayaks like that - I first debuted in a sea kayak as training for white water paddling i 1979. That was in an original Nordkapp - the one with ocean cockpit and no skeg and lots of rocker (the HS - not the HM with a built in skeg), and with that kayak I had many very nice trips with playing and day touring. What really appealed to me was that this kayak had to be paddled correct - no room for sloppy technique:-)

I might find the time to go to the UK the coming spring - Ill see if I can try a Pintail then - or maybe Ill like the new Tide Race X-cite better:-)

Thanks for all your help.


A better analogy?
Pintail without skeg is more like a fixed-gear bike, not merely a single-speed (which might have a freewheel).

By that I mean when “things” get more demanding, it might feel like the kayak/bike has a mind of its own. On a fixed-gear, a steep descent forces you to pedal at very high RPM, very smoothly and 100% continuously. You have no other choice other than to risk being bucked off.

The only time I paddled a Pintail it felt fine at first (calm). Later in the day when the wind picked up, I felt like I was fighting it too much. That one had had the skeg removed for repairs. It didn’t help that the cockpit was huge on me, but I bet it still would’ve been unpleasant with a better fit and no skeg.