Submitted: 06-02-2008 by flatfish
For the past year I have paddled a Nordkapp H2O, the current full-size Nordkapp. In a separate review, I have given top marks to the H2O for speed, seaworthiness and maneuverability.
Recently I also purchased a Nordkapp HS (hull standard). While my HS was made in 1994, it has the same hull shape as the original 1975 Nordkapp. There are a number of differences between the older HS and the current H2O versions of the Nordkapp, notably the HS has an ocean (round) cockpit, a lower front deck and a higher rear deck. These differences relate to what is above the waterline. While Valley says the hull shape (what's in the water) has changed with the H2O, I cannot see any difference when I do a side by side comparison of the HS and the H2O. As well, when I paddle the two kayaks I can detect no difference in their performance.
The HS is still available from Valley as the Nordkapp Classic, complete with ocean cockpit. While I prefer the conveniences of the H2O (notably the keyhole cockpit) the HS is a viable alternative, whether you get one as a used older kayak (as I got mine) or as a new Nordkapp Classic.
All the versions of the Nordkapp, the H2O, the HS or the LV (which I have also paddled) are outstanding sea kayaks. And,they all perform at their very best when paddled in rough conditions.