Submitted: 10-06-2005 by Tom Pawlicki
I had initial concerns about the workmanship of this boat after reading several reviews and hearing comments about poor workmanship. I ordered my first NDK Explorer in 2004 and I'm happy to say that the workmanship appeared to be flawless. I had some custom things done such as moving the forward bulkhead up to give me more stowage space.
Unfortunately there was some miscommunication and I was unable to use footpegs as now the cockpit was too small for my long legs, on a more minor note, the custom colour I had specified was not used, but a lighter shade. Fortunately I bought the boat from a good dealer and by late 2004, I had another NDK Explorer. My advice, and this holds true when buying any brand kayak - stick to the ones you can actually see and test out, as special ordering is always somewhat of a crapshoot. That being said, after a year of using this boat, I have nothing but praise for the NDK Explorer's handling abilities, especially in rough water. I have never had to use the skeg, even in very windy conditions where others felt compelled to drop their rudders, this boat really resists weathercocking, turns easily and handles waves well. The workmanship is great - I have never seen water in my bulkheads even after playing in the surf and rolling several times. It is an easy boat to roll too and this has added to my confidence in addition to it's rough water handling. If I would change anything it would be to place a larger oval VCP hatch on the rear bulkhead, as I do camping from my kayak.
If you're a backpacker then this boat presents no problems, otherwise you have to substitute your large dry bags for smaller ones. This has not presented a problem for me thus far as I'm not trying to pack a large tent or other bulky equipment. We tried to put a folding kayak cart in the rear bulkhead once and the hatch opening was just a bit too small for it. All in all I'm very pleased with the boat and would highly recommend it for intermediate to advanced paddlers who are looking for a boat that can handle rougher waters and still get you through an expedition.