Submitted: 09-14-2010 by schlippg
I was looking for a plastic kayak to complement my Explorer HV because I live in central PA and sometimes paddle rivers that in late summer-fall months have low water height. The are a lot of big boulders and at times you scrape the bottom. Even though my Explorer is as bomb proof as a fiberglass kayak can get, I wanted the piece of mind that comes with plastic. I wanted something that handled like an NDK. I tried the usual range of kayaks that dealers carry, Wilderness, Necky, Perception, etc. but they don't even come close to the NDK feel I was looking for. I kind of figured a P&H, Valley, and plastic NDK would be best. It is hard to test out any of them with the Valley being near impossible to locate a dealer nearby. The Capella 166 RM was kind of slow and not real great tracking. I located a few used NDK Surf RMs, tried one out, liked it and bought it.
I have the triple dump one which is 3 layers to make it stiffer and less prone to the plastic's oil canning. For a 21 inch or so kayak it is very stable. I am not great a rolling but easily managed 3 in a row. It tracks great, surfs well and is an over-all really fun boat to paddle. Edging and steering are very good, too. No leaks so far. My cousin and I took a paddle with me in the Explorer and him in the Surf RM, then switching off. I paddled with the same effort in both kayaks while he compensated. He felt that it required about a 1/4 more effort to keep up with me in the Explorer which has 20 more inches in length and is fiberglass but he could keep up.
I don't know if I would be as happy if I had to pay full price. Buying an almost new kayak at a used price of $1050 makes it a really great boat that I would be happy to have as my only kayak. New price is like $1900 vs. fiberglass list for $3400. I guess you don't see more Brit plastic kayaks because of the lower price the larger companies have using Chinese kayaks. You can get a new Wilderness Tsunami or Zephyr under $1400 and although they are good boats, they just don't handle the same.
I gave it a 10 based on comparison to other plastic 16 ft. sea kayaks, it would be a less if it you compared it to the range of kayaks a fiberglass Romany is in.