Submitted: 10-10-2006 by norserner
Iíve had my Greenlander for over 5 years now. This was my third kayak; my previous boat was a necky looksha sport, and I wanted something with more speed and space that could make pace in rough conditions. I disobeyed the cardinal rule and bought it without testing due to a great purchase price and a few testimonials. Mine is without skeg, with a day hatch and ocean cockpit. I paddle mostly in the great lakes, and love to get out in flatwater and in challenging conditions.
NDK have a mixed reputation when it comes to QC, but my Greenlander was well-made, with the exception that it had a small bubble near the hull/deck seam, which I repaired with epoxy. Other than that, finish is good, the gel coat has taken a beating and still looks great and the boat seems to be very stout for a fiberglass kayak. Iím about 5í9Ē and 175#, and I find the fit comfortable, but had to pad out the cockpit for good contact. I know some others find the NDK and Valley seat buckets uncomfortable but I have no problem with the seat and backband. Iíve paddled 25 milers and come out feeling pretty well. All hatches seal watertight.
When I first paddled this boat I expected it to be a bit unstable. I was surprised to find it fairly stable, and I can use it as a photography platform in flat to moderate conditions. In rough conditions the hard chines make for a jumpier ride than a soft chine kayak, but itís something you adjust to and even in very rough conditions it makes me feel connected. It tracks well with such a straight keel, weathercocks somewhat in strong quartering or crosswinds but is easy to keep in line with a bit of a lean. OTOH, it takes a lean to turn it but once leaned it really carves turns nicely, and combined with a gentle stern rudder or bow rudder it doesnít lose much speed through the turn. It took me awhile but I can edge balance it now to a point where I can pivot it pretty sharply. However, itís a bit less maneuverable than a shorter kayak or one with more rocker, and can take some care to turn in rough quartering seas. Learning my first roll in this boat was a pleasure. It feels fast in all conditions, paddling into surf and steep swells is a wet ride but by no means unsettling or uncomfortable. Paddling in following seas and surf is a blast in this boat; it can catch almost any wave. It will slowly start to broach if you let it, but a strong stern rudder can correct that.
This kayak is listed as low volume but I donít find it so, and can pack enough gear for a week to two week trip, but Iím also a backpacker. Any shortcoming in space it may have as an expedition kayak is worth the extra speed and/or ease it provides. As a day boat playing in rock gardens it may be a bit large, but having said that, I often use this boat for day trips for the distance I can cover and the conditions it can endure. I have taken friends out and let them paddle my Greenlander and they all loved the speed and ease. I will probably keep mine for as long as I can paddle.
My advice for anyone interested in a Greenlander is to inspect it well and if possible to take it for a paddle. I found it to be a great learning platform and would recommend it as such for paddling flatwater or rough conditions, day or extended trips.