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In my search for a "new" boat, I have found that the P&H Cetus is the heaviest boat amongst comparable boats such as the NDK Explorer, Tiderace Xplore, Valley Nordkapp, and my own Boreal Epsilon. Does anyone know the technical reasons for this? I assume it has a heavier layup (more layers?) or additional reinforcement to make it stronger, but I could be wrong. Also, does a heavier boat provide any advantages or setbacks on the water. Since it will regularly be loaded with camping gear, it may not be an issue, but between four and 8 pounds heaver than the others seems like it mike make a subtle difference. At least it will be noticeable when taking it out of the basement and putting it on top of my van!


So far, my preferences have come down to the following:

#1 - P&H Cetus - Heaviest; 2nd highest hatch storage volume; widest (still 1" less than my current boat)

#2 - NDK Explorer - Lower hatch volume; only other boat paddle-tested so far; generally decent boat

#3 - Tiderace Xplore - Highest hatch volumes (affect performance?); lighter boat (not as strong?)

#4 - Valley Nordkapp - Longest, narrowest, lightest of all (no hatch volumes available) - way to "playful"

I guess it would help to know what my priorities are:

#1 - Load capacity for camping

#2 - Distance paddling in fair to moderate conditions

#3 - Day paddling / sight seeing

#4 - Surfing (primarily standing wave)

#5 - Rock gardens

I welcome any thoughts and input, but the big question is if boat weight is much of a consideration.

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Ha...this topic is liable to start a firestorm of responses.

I will premise all comment with the gleeful admission that I like NDK (SKUK) boats...I REALLY like NDK boats. I paddle NDK boats and am convinced that upon the occasions (more than one) I've done dumb things, the boat was rugged enough to get me home/to the surface, etc., where others may not have been. As I don't have similar empirical evidence for those other manufacturer boats, I will sing the praises of Nigels "British Heavies" til I no longer paddle.

GENERALLY speaking...boats that use older manufacturing technology (hand lay ups, chop strand and then don't vacuum bag to draw out the excess epoxy/resins) will be heavier. They almost have to be by the means they are manufactured. NDK uses a hand layup with chop strand and doesn't suck out the excess epoxy/resin and It's why you see the explorer towards the top in weight. In all those manufacturers you can spec order different layups (getting your top deck reinforced if you think you might do a lot of rescues) and those will all affect the weight.

There are pros and cons to each method....the argument FOR chop strand is that when (the boats are built to be beaten) you damage the boat, the damage is localized and the crack doesn't travel as far - it's easier to repair and in the meantime the boat is more structurally sound until such time you can make a proper/decent repair. As I've put lotsa holes, cracks and dings in my explorers (hey, anyone wanna buy a boat?) and this has been my experience, I'd say it's a valid argument. One of the cons is the weight. They ARE HEAVY.

On the other hand, they're all touring/expedition boats so really, other than loading it onto the roof or hauling it above the high water mark, does a few pounds one way or the other make a hill of beans difference? While less weight would be great for responsiveness, the boats you've listed aren't all that far apart in weight are they? I've only noticed a marked difference in performance due to sea kayak weight in a spec order explorer that they were playing around with trying to manufacture - that weighed 30 odd pounds or so? THAT was a dream to paddle! Alas, it'll never happen and if it did the cost would be like buying NASA surplus equipment. In any event, no, I personally have never noticed a marked difference in performance on water due to sea kayak weight. Hull shapes? Sure, but not weights so much.

AN example of hull shape making a difference - my first proper sea kayak was a P&H Orion that was a dream to paddle - it was wide amidships and with very little bow/stern volume...it was very stable but if you put that thing on edge there was a lot of the boat was out of the water - it was very, very easy to turn quickly. HOWEVER, It was an absolute PIG in the surf - wallowed and those ends would just pierce into the wave and you'd take green water in the kisser! More bongo slides than anything else So...while that hull shape was good for some things, it was lousy for what I ended up really liking to do.

The volume of the bulkheads / size of the hatches has more to do with the ease of getting things in and out of the boats. I've gone for a week out of my Explorer without a problem. I saw one lady once pull everything but a kitchen sink out of a very cavernous Valley boat (a lady who's name rhymes with Huzanne Sutchinson...oh wait...) and then at one point I had to put it all back in but realistically, HOW MUCH stuff do you need? I think you'll find the shape of the hatch to be more or less convenient from one to another and know that while I'm not sure about the TR boats, that the NDK's can be ordered with an oval hatch as opposed to the standard rounds. I think the consensus is that ovals are easier to pack than rounds but that the rounds aren't exactly a hardship...you just need a little more finagling.

Not sure there are any "losers" in that bunch you've listed and it'll all come down to what you like best.

Again, my opinion is the Explorer rocks. It does everything pretty well but the place is shines is when it gets rough. For the most part, that's EXACTLY the moment I fell in love with them.

Have fun, paddle them all in a variety of water if you can. I've got an old explorer that's "battered but not beaten" if you'd like to paddle it for awhile.

As ever, opinions will vary.

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I believe your main question involved how the weight of the boat might effect your decision to purchase. I honestly do not know if heavier boats are stronger. I do know the weight of a boat could be a factor during the times when you are moving it to or from the water. Since you are young and strong, that may not be as much of a factor as it is for others. I do know your van is higher than many sedans and you hope to gain some experience in solo trips. I do have a product which you might consider trying out with your van. It is called a rollerloader, obtained via www.rollerloader.com. I bought it thinking my back would appreciate a little assistance, but a rarely use it now since the back is AOK. I do know you might be concerned about boat weight when putting the boat to bed for the night above the high water mark, but I would not compromise hull strength for lighter weight especially with the rocky coast of Maine as your playground. I do know you have been paddling my Explorer 50/50, which was my compromise regarding strength versus weight. I did not see myself doing many assisted rescues on my deck and I had a positive experience with the same layup on my Romany.

Now here is where I need to go slightly off topic and highlight my main reason for buying two NDK boats. Perhaps unlike Rick I try my best to avoid rough conditions and that is precisely why I need an Explorer. I could count on one hand the times when I needed to paddle in rough water. During those times both the Romany and the Explorer just settled in and gave me great confidence. I remember two occasions when the paddling groups was very focused on managing their boats while the other NDK guy and I were having a grand conversation about how our boats just love these conditions. In other words, I want the boat to do all the work in helping to keep me safe when my paddling skills are not the best. I sense these NDK boats do precisely that and that is why I believe they are worth their weight in gold to me.


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Great review Rick.

I agree that NDK is a very strong boat. I'd say its stronger than my kevlar reinforced custom P&H Cetus. It's exactly that reason my next Cetus will be a heavier "expeditation" layup. Yes that should make my new Cetus very heavy but personally I like the weight. My first Cetus had a clear carbon hull and was very light, but too light! I like the weight when I have the rough sea as my playground. I find that the Cetus is MUCH more responsive than the NDK and is a great surfing boat.

I would own an NDK as a back up boat even over my Nordkapp but the Nordkapp is a rocket ship on water. The fit and finish on the Nordkapp is not as good as P&H or NDK but owning one now (a Nordkapp) will be allow you to hang on to part of kayak history as they are no longer in production effective this year. My guess is a hybrid version will appear again one day.

TIDERACE is not for everyone but if you fit in it and the aggressive thigh braces appeal to you, be sure you you get the "hardcore" layup. I witnessed a Distributer from (I won't say where) crack the side seams on 2 boats in standard layup as he tightened them on the roof of his car, yikes! They are a fun boat and I find the physical design most appealing to the eye of all sea kayaks. Well, I do love the Nordkapp design. TIDERACE also is manufactured with the most modern techniques as Rick mentioned earlier keeping them as light and strong (again, in hardcore layup) only. There will be a few leftover TIDERACE boats around for a while but distribution to the USA has ceased since the company tried to strong arm the US Distributer to commit to 250 boats per year, paid in advance or upon delivery, ouch! Who does business like that! I'm sure they will come to their senses. They will have to if they want to have a decent market share in the states. There are other boats in the background like Seabird Design that has been very aggressive in price and modern design and manufacturing techniques. If they can get their quality control in control, I think they could be a serious player in the USA.

You'll know which boat is right for you when you paddle it. I keep trying to find one I like better but ill be dammed I still go back to the Cetus as Rick will ALWAYS paddle an Explorer. You can't go wrong with either kayak. You'll just be happier in the P&H boat when the ocean gets mean.


Added plug: if anyone is interested, in May or June my new boat will arrive and I will be selling my current "Classic design" custom Cetus. Not MV, LV or HV. It's seen less than 2 seasons, a 2011 boat. Dark blue metal flake hull with P&H Team logo on the deck in light blue. Custom bulkhead (no foot pegs), light blue reinforced Kevlar side seams and white Kevlar reinforced factory keel strip on a white hull. Still thinking about the price but will be under 3K by a few hundred. If your interested, feel free to PM me or email to Doug@NEBM.net

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The Cetus would be a heavy boat because its ...bigger than most boats and it has a lot of bulkheads and also four rubber hatches which weigh a fair amount: most boats have three although the front deck hatch is becoming more common.

If choosing a boat with expeditioning in mind you would be hard pressed to outdo the Cetus: it can carry a huge amount of stuff, it's pronounced swede form ( wider behind midline) hull means that the rear storage compartments are huge: you can probably fit all your day gear in the day hatch alone. It's also extremely stable so you can do stuff like read charts, use binoculars and generally loll about focusing on things other than paddling while in bumpy water,


It seems that boat weight is a big consideration for most people since so many kayakers are middle aged and cartop their boats: moving and carrying kayaks is a big deal. However, one presumably does own a boat to be on the water rather than on land so I would be inclined to consider how a boat is on the water then figure out how to move it around. I know a number of paddlers in their seventies who have put some thought and design into how they cartop and move their boats so that they can both drive the vehicle and own the boat that they please.

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How have you determined the weights of these boats? If it's based on the weight;s listed by the manufacturers, you may be in for a rude awakening when you actually weigh the boats in the real world. Some manufacturers weigh their boats without hatch covers and deck rigging, and some have even been known to weigh them without seats! OTOH, some manufacturers are honest and weigh their boats completely outfitted. Some manufacturers, such as NDK / SKUK, are know to have variations of as much as 20% from one boat to the next, due to the inconsistencies in their manufacturing process (a 10% variation is pretty typical). Additionally, older boats are likely to be heavier than newer boats, due to advances in manufacturing.

The bottom line is that the only way to know for sure is to weigh examples of the model and vintage that you plan to buy, or better yet, the exact boat(s) you're considering.

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One more thing...

Keep in mind that there is no direct correlation between weight and durability. A boat built with high-quality materials (woven cloth, vinylester or epoxy resin) and advanced methods (resin infusion or vacuum bagging) can be both lighter AND more durable than a boat built with lower-quality materials (chopped-strand glass, polyester resin) and less advanced construction (chopper gun, hand layup). That said, comparing boats built with the same materials and methods, a heavier layup will most likely be more durable.

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Much like Peter says,many of us are middle age and then some. When we bought our kayaks we try for a 55 lb weight limit. So hard to find just the right boat we found ourselves with several.(I had to promise I wouldn't get as many kayaks as snowshoes)

I look forward to paddling much lighter kayaks over the years...right now I love the tandem, at 76lbs that's only about 38 lbs apiece when transporting.

I enjoy seeing all the various beautiful kayaks out there that people have.

A few things I have noticed that I look for in a boat other than weight....

.... large tethered one piece hatches..big enough to put in a pair of large pruning loppers would be an example.

...large enough to accept a small bear barrel is also ideal. I like a boat where the hatches strap down

....for camping I like a ruddered boat, I begrudge the room taken up by a skeg, though it's not a deal breaker.

...for getting tossed in surf a rudder is about the last thing I want.

I find some of the high end plastic boats to be pretty indestructible..if all options fail you can always just drag them over rocks etc.

I like the flex of some of the kevlar,but the last thing you want to hear is cracking noise if you sit on the back deck.

Hard chine or rounded are all considerations as well

Coaming (sp)... I didn't realize till recently that the coaming can be a separate part of the boat. Often we put a lot of torque on it when lifting or getting in and out of the boat,,so it's worth a good look.

Some boats come with built in locations for a compass, if so you might want to see if you can read a compass there or will need to have your compass much closer to read..

though perhaps not the best analogy... when buying back packs with an ice axe loop...you have to stop and ask do I own an ice axe...

kind of the same with the yaks and some of the features they might offer

good luck,.. you can't go wrong with so many good choices out there !

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For something totally different: The Kajaksport Avalon Viviane I bought several years ago to do the Blackburn has got to find a new home this summer. Let me know if you want to try it out.

I took out the fiberglass seat (still have it, could be reinstalled) and added a smart track rudder (easy to remove). I also had a sprayskirt custom made to fit the wide coaming rim. This HUGE boat was a lot of fun to paddle, especially in big seas. It practically rolls itself. Never tried surfing a standing wave, but loved following seas in it. Forget rock play, though. Camping: you could live out of it forever. The fiberglass layup is light, so care must be taken landing on rocky shores. (I was not careful, but Brian Nystrom remedied the result with his usual skill.)

Length 581 cm (19' 1")
Width 54 cm (21.7")
Height 37 cm (14.6")
Weight 27 kg (59.5 lbs)
Cargo space, stern 115 L
Cargo space, bow 95 L
Keyhole size (inner) 79 cm (31.1") x 39 cm (15.4")
Material Fiberglass
KS spraydeck size M-L

Here is some info:



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Ignore posted weights on websites as they don't always tell you what the weighing parameters are. P&H weights are with hatches and seats... other brands have different specs.

If you are looking at used boats - weigh the boat itself if weight is a concern for you. The nominal difference between the boats don't usually show up in performance, just in carrying!

A 4-5 pound difference in used boats of the same brand/model would not be unheard of and I think well within their tolerance levels.

Once upon a time I had a really, really heavy Explorer. That boat reportedly weighs even more now due to repairs and numerous changes to the front bulkhead.

Out of all the Cetus models, performance wise, I prefer what is now called the classic Cetus. Although it is too big for me, I really prefer how it paddles when I am camping - weight is not an issue.

I am now paddling the MV as it fits me better for all around. The classic though is what my husband has and whenever I am camping, especially when I am guiding a camping trip, I like to bring that and do so when he won't be needing his boat. One camping trip I utilized the WHOLE day hatch and filled it with clams (and sea water) that my friend had dug the day before. We had fresh clams every night - what a treat that was. Normally it just allows me to pack very loosely without concern about things fitting.

Last year I went on a few trips with the MV and I was very happy with the volume it allowed for camping. Just means you don't have to fuss so much when packing. When I was paddling the LV, I had to plan a bit better. For example, it was always difficult to pack a loaf of bread that would have been left to the side to pack last...

PS - that heavy Valley boat was my first time kayak camping and was so heavy that Rick and I couldn't lift it at all! It needed to be loaded on shore and never lifted! I don't pack like that anymore.

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I enjoy seeing all the various beautiful kayaks out there that people have.

There are some beautiful kayaks out there. One of the minor factors that has moved the Tiderace down on my preference scale is the "race car" graphics and lack of color-scheme options. This does not affect me in my current boat search, but I am also thinking ahead to the day when I can afford to order a custom boat. To that point, P&H will let you customize 7 different aspects of the boat (deck, hull, seam, keel strip, coaming, deck lines, graphic) in a wide aray of colors.

It would seem by concensus so far that weight is not a problem in the water, only on land. As far as boat testing, I have only paddled Warren's Explorer, and not in any conditions. I will be looking at a Cetus HV (2011?) tomorrow, but will only have the option of trying it out in a small river, which apparently may be moving a bit. I also have the possibly of looking at a 2010 Cetus classic in the coming weeks.

My experience so far is that my current boat is so different from most others (think of a sea-worthy rec boat), that I really won't be able to tell the difference between any of these other options. They are all going to feel skinny and tippy to me no matter which boat I end up in, and will just have to learn how to work with it.

I am really ancious to just by a boat and get used to it, but Cathy is desperately trying to be the voice of reason. The hardest part about trying out different boats is that I would really like to do a "side by side" comparison of all the boats in conditions, and that is just not reasonable.

Thinking back to your last boat purchase, I have three quesitons:

1) How different is your current boat from your last boat?

2) Hhow much did you really notice the difference?

3) How long did it take to get used to it?

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I am really ancious to just by a boat and get used to it, but Cathy is desperately trying to be the voice of reason.

Except that for purely aesthetic reasons, I really like Doug's sparkly blue P&H Cetus Classic and would love to have that around to 'borrow' ;-)

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I really like Doug's sparkly blue P&H Cetus Classic and would love to have that around to 'borrow' ;-)

Hmmmm..... I think that I would have to add the Necky Eliza to the list, since that is what I would end up paddling all the time!

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I think Rick S. is correct when he said there is a noticeable on water difference between a light boat and a heavy boat. In fact the responsiveness of a light boat is really something to experience. The trick is for a given boat design it needs to be at least 10# and preferably over 15# lighter before the benefits start to show up. I have a tough FG Sparow Hawk that weighs about 40# and it is so nice to deal with on and off water. Since the most dangerous place, in my opinion, is the few feet between the kayak floating and the kayak fully on land, light weight helps there too. Especially on solo trips. As to layups and all that, composite engineering is not my day job. I believe it is important that a boat be tough, but boats can be light and flexible and still tough. By tough I mean they will take routine slings and arrow without failing and have adequate durability to take being dragged over rocks from time to time without undo carnage. I have seen boats get damaged from what appeared to be minor impacts and have seen boats take what seem to be big hits with no damage. And the brand of boat did not seem to matter. That said some boats are built to live a harder life than others and if you will often go in harm's way it is something to think about.

The problem with choosing boats is having the opportunity to try a boat for enough time and in suitable conditions to start to understand what it is and is not.

I believe it is worth considering that most of us will not be using our kayaks for 14+ day unsupported expeditions so the volume of nearly any 17+ foot boat is more than needed. At least if you think and pack like a backpacker. What many now consider small or LV boats are more than adequate for what I suspect are most camping trips as in up to around 5 days. Of course if you want lawn furniture and a full kitchen it is a different story. Horses for courses and we are all just giving opinions as there are no rights and wrongs on this topic. It seems the marketing is now all about promoting boats with expedition volume mellowed to be comfortable and given the performance when empty to be decent day boats.

I think it takes about a season's worth of paddling to get to know a new boat.

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Rob- It's not quite the correct season, but different vendors do have demo days through out the year. Other's have large rental fleets where you can pay to take it away for a period of time. The two demo day's I'm aware of that have a large number of boat models at the Kayak Center in RI, which is usually in early May, and Contoocook River in NH which is mid or late may. While you wont get to test them in conditions, no one's stopping you from putting Cathy in the river and having her try and shake things up a bit.



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Hi Rob,

I own a Cetus Classic purchased in 2010 and is currently listed for sale on a few sites.

You and I appear to be on the same wavelength regarding the best boat for us. Looking at your pic, I'm thinking your about my size and weight so we may be on a fairly even keel in that respect.

I have paddled the same boats listed in your observation and have come to exactly the same conclusion that the Cetus is the best boat in it's class.

I'm a sea kayak camping junky. One thing I really like about the Classic is that is has volumes of

space for hauling gear around with you. Yet at my weight the Classis seems to also fit the bill to

surf (this boat loves to surf with very little effort on my part) or play in the rock gardens as well

(admittedly I use another boat for this primarily because I dont want to damage the hull on my

go to overall paddling machine)

The Nordkapp is very playful indeed. One of the things I like about the Cetus Classic is that it to

is very playful. Just not overly so as in the Nordkap. This is a frequent Cetus Classic complaint

of folks who just want to put there boat on the ocean and go straight all the time. Problem is that

when they decide they want to surf, play in the rock gardens or get into big seas that becomes a

liability and the Cetus Classic has just the right amount of rocker, etc to make it playful for a boat

it's size and it has a reliable skeg that with just a small adjustment makes for bomb proff stability

and full on paddling without feeling a lot of drag.

I found also found the Cetus easier to roll than the tiderace even though the tide race has a very

low back band. I guess if you are a greenland style roller that might be a plus but I prefer a little

more support in my spine especially on long grinding tours and in turbulent conditions. I spent an

entire day in woods hole with the Tide Race trying to decide if I would purchase it or go with

another Cetus.

OK. So here's where I'm at. I still have the Cetus Classic weight issue with my present FOR SALE boat. But I still love this boat so I have contacted the Cetus rep in Maine (John Carmody) and ordered a custom carbon Kevlar CETUS CLASSIC model(they will still build it for you) which I am told is going into production the first of April in Derby UK. I can't wait to paddle it and will keep in touch with the person that buys my current Classic just in case I want to buy it back.

I may have set off a firestorm with some of my comments about the Nordkapp, Explorer and Tiderace. Again, these are my personal assessments based on my paddling style and the types of paddling that I regularly do.

So weight may be a factor getting it up on the roof but in my humble opinion they all way about the same when you get them in the water. If you like the way the boat behaves in glass and want just a bit more of an edge then be prepared to spend an extra $1K for the benefit and possibly loose a little stiffness in fell in the process. Ask me around August and I will tell you if its worth the price.


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I may have set off a firestorm with some of my comments about the Nordkapp, Explorer and Tiderace. Again, these are my personal assessments based on my paddling style and the types of paddling that I regularly do.

Hello Jerry, and welcome to the "Maelstrom That Wasn't"! From the beginning, Rick S. thought that people would be screaming over this one, and it is turning out to be one of our more civil discussions. By the way, you think you are a kayak camping junky? Be careful what you say or you will find yourself getting recruited by some of the camping nuts we have here!

Phil, I understand the benefits of demo days, and it probably would be most prudent for me to wait on purchasing a boat until I have had more time to test out a bunch of them. However, one of the reasons I am so anxious to get into a different boat is quite simple: training! I know that if I go to someone like John Carmody or Carl Ladd with the boat that I currently have, they will want to put me into a different boat for training. I know that this has happened to others in NSPN with more "conventional" boats than mine. I would rather get into a boat and start getting the feel of it before the season gets into full swing and I am still looking like a wobbly newbie.

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I have no personal experience, but I have seen and heard very glowing reports about the Valley Etain series which is another of the new designs and a competitor of the Cetus series.

Consider a used boat as they will always be worth almost what you paid for them and there are real bargains from time to time. I am biased, but some of the boats built ten years ago or so were beautifully made and still have many years of hard service left. I ran across someone paddling a Romany built in 1994 a year or two ago, it was going strong and they has zero interest in getting a new boat.

There are some advantages to the new designs and some older boats are really focused designs. Still the Romany and Explorer as well as the Aquanaut and Avocet are time tested solid general purpose boats.

Of course I believe everyone should spend time in an Anas Acuta to know what a real kayak is like. <g>

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I thought I would mention that testing out boats even on a calm day or protected waters you can tell pretty quick which boats tend to weathercock with a little wind.

We have one beautiful boat that I love to look at, beautiful lines and chine, but on the water its all about pointing into the wind with or without the skeg deployed...think we bought that beauty a little to quickly.

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Eh, just my two cents worth: I paddle an NDK Romany elite with keel strip. I have had no problem with two years worth of rock play. the Elite of course is NDK's lighter layup which probably puts it in the category of Canadien or US boats. I also own a clear coated Ellesmere over kevlar which at 44lbs. is lively and fun on the water but cannot be used for rock play without damaging the fibre. I intend to spray a heavier coat of clear gel this summer to protect the kevlar better. I don't believe going much beyond 55 lbs. provides any additional advantages.

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I know that if I go to someone like John Carmody or Carl Ladd with the boat that I currently have, they will want to put me into a different boat for training.

John and Carl might lend you anther boat so you can get experience with another boat but they are far from pushy with putting people in their brand of boats.

I have seen each of them teach people in boats that were fairly questionable and still provide a great level of training. I have seen John teach someone with some with a very old school kayak without hatches (he made sure that they had float bags) and they walked away with a hole new understanding in how to make the boat that they had perform.

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Jason, I think that you are correct, and that I may have oversimplified my understanding of John's & Carl's intentions. I would expect that, at their level of skill, they can teach in just about anything! Upon further reflection, it might even make sense to use by boat at least for the first lesson so that they can get a sense of what I have been working with, and where I want to get to.

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and they walked away with a hole new understanding in how to make the boat that they had perform.

I hope you meant a whole new understanding and not a new hole in the boat.

Sorry, couldn't help myself.



Beware of extra light kayaks. With the exception of racing they may not be worth the trouble. For example:

My 18’ Epic 18X Ultra weighs only 36 pounds and it suffers durability issues. I use a high angle forward stroke and I place the catch as close to the hull as possible. Accordingly, I will occasionally whack the hull when paddling fast. So I placed some tape along the line where the paddle hits the hull. The first time I removed the tape for replacement the extremely thin gelcoat came off with the tape.

I custom ordered my 18’ QCC 700X to weigh less than 42 lbs. (actual weight came out to be 39.5 pounds). The gelcoat on the bottom of the hull is so thin that a slight scratch from a rock breaks through and exposes the carbon fiber mat.

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<3) How long did it take to get used to it?>

Mr. Folster, sir: methinks you worry altogether too much! I took initial classes in kayaking many years ago on a big, plastic Necky Looksha III on the Charles River and then started looking for my first boat. I ended up at NESC, sitting in what seemed like a racy, very narrow composite Sirius and was worried about the same thing as you (ie, too much boat for me, too "tippy"?). Most happily for yours truly, the founder of this little club was on the premises at the time and after I had voiced my concerns to him, he responded immediately, saying: "Go for it: you <will> get used to it and you <will> learn in it!" In no way was he at all wrong.

Someone wrote earlier that such-and-such a boat was the best in its class (whatever than means); but that person is wrong or just over-simplifying: there <is> no perfect boat (surely we all know this?) -- there are only horses-for-courses! I think one might describe any boat as "a perfect compromise" for certain tasks, depending on the priorities of the paddler; but Rob surely knows all this...

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