Submitted: 12-31-2001 by willg
I recently purchased my second Explorer - the HV model. I paddled my first Explorer for 4 years in Washington, Oregon and the west coast of Vancouver Island. It handled and held up beautifully in rough conditions, rock gardening and surfing. It takes little to no effort to put into a leaned turn, even when fully loaded. The small hatches are a bear, but I had no trouble with leakage. It's weight (heavy!) was also a downside, but it held up to numerous rock gardening miscalculations, even while loaded.
My new HV model retains the handling characteristics, but has more room for me: 6'3" - 190lbs. - size 14 feet. I can even comfortably paddle in my Chotas finally. With the original Explorer I could get enough gear and food below decks for a solo 15 day trip along the west coast of Vancouver Island.
When I purchased my new HV, I tried a number of different boats that I could comfortable fit into, but still felt that the Explorer had the best "feel". It just seems more a part of me than a boat I'm sitting in.
I somewhat argree with Bob in his comments about quality control. This seems to be a continuing problem with NDK. The dealer I purchased from will only sell these boats with the old skeg deployment mechanism as they have had many problems with the new one jamming. Be careful in your inspection of a new boat before accepting it. HOWEVER, IT IS DEFINITELY WORTH THE TROUBLE TO GET A GOOD ONE!