Length: 15' 8" - Width: 23.00" - Starting at: $2299.99See More Details about this Kayak
I originally worried about how much abuse this kayak could take due to a previous review from another paddler. During this trip, it got launched from concrete ramps, landed on gravel bars, got stuck in sand and mud, got thrown over a drainage ditch and rode in the back of a rental truck along with other kayaks and survived a 200+ mile journey at high speed on top of my Honda. Yes, it is scratched up but it actually looks better for it. It deserves a 10.
I purchased the NC 15 Escape in the LT version because of its weight. Age and a back that needs cuddling being the main factors. The NC 15 Escape at 41 lbs is definitely a light boat. It is also a beautiful, well constructed boat and the folks at Novus Composites made the purchase easy. It was shipped to me in Florida in a huge box and arrived safely. Upon reviewing the website I had opted for one of the in-stock models which made it quite affordable although the shipping charge was much higher than anticipated.
I have taken this kayak up a very narrow twisting river with a very strong current and found it easy to maneuver it through the twists and turns. I have taken it out in the Gulf for a 20 mile trip on a day with moderate chop and the kayak tracked straight. For anyone interested in multi day trips rest assured that her cavernous bulkheads will carry a lot of camping gear. The boat is responsive to leans, tracks well without a skeg or rudder, and is very stable.
However, there are some things that I wish the company would have done a bit differently. This particular model comes with a D-Ring aft but it does not come with a similar D-Ring in the front although it is available as an option when you order the boat built. On my kayak, the screw securing the D-Ring to the deck is very long and protrudes way down into the kayak. This could possibly lead to the tearing of a dry bag or flotation bag. Also, the hatch covers (which I like a lot) are not secured to the kayak in any way. They are rather heavy but could still be separated from the boat by a strong wind while taking gear in or out of the kayak or also by some critter while camping (like racoons in the Everglades for example). Also, the footpegs cannot be moved while sitting in the kayak, a feature now available in many other kayaks.
That said, over all, I am very pleased with the NC 15 Escape. It is a good sea worthy and very attractive kayak.
Okay, this review is quite critical, but there are positives to this boat, too. If you simply want to get out on the water and don't plan on hammering your boat, this is a great choice. The choice of colors is super and NC boats are really nice to look at. The light layup makes the NC15 easy to carry and load without help. The craftsmanship is excellent, and, oh, the hull really scoots through the water, smoking without effort the Romanies, Explorers, etc. that might be paddling with you. The boat has no rudder or skeg, but one was never needed, despite wind, following seas, etc. If that were not enough, NC often has killer sales where you can pick up a spiffy looking boat for not much money...just be sure of what you hope to get out of and put into paddling and you won't go wrong. My wife and I now paddle NDK boats. Not as fast or pretty as NC's, but tough as hell and, for us, that is more important.
My only complaint, if it can be called one, is the forward bulk head is a bit close i can touch it with my feet if I stretch out and I wonder how long it will be before I have to change the rubrail but other than that I am thrilled. It was cheaper than many plastic boats these days, they were great at NC to deal with and I called and emailed a lot before ordering as I had never even seen one in person let alone paddle one, I am glad I got it and next year I'm getting either a 17 or 19.
In every respect I'm a satisfied customer: from ordering, to calls for more info, to final receipt of the kayak, the purchase process was a pleasure. This is my third kayak and first composite boat. Aside from being a darned attractive boat, it's stable and fun to paddle. I'd recommend this kayak to all who are seeking to move out of their plastic boat and up to a faster and lighter boat.
I'm looking forward to testing it's roll-ability (and mine!) as soon as the weather and water warm up.
I have been paddling for years, but always in a plastic kayak. The difference was immediately obvious. The Escape slips through the water with ease and tracks wonderfully. It does require a little more effort to turn but I expected that. The Escape responds well to bracing turns and after a few hours on the water I feel one with this boat.
To be honest, I was a little apprehensive about the fiber glass seat, but Greg at NC assured me I would find it comfortable. So far I have to agree with him. I am 5'11" and 175 pounds and the seat shape and position is perfect for me. The underside of the cockpit combing is nicely shaped to provide a comfortable knee brace. I guess if I had to pick something I would like different on my kayak it would be a larger front hatch. It is only six inches in diameter and will limit what I can fit into the front compartment.
Overall I am extremely pleased with my new Yellow Escape and look forward to years of exploring the lakes and rivers of the Southeast. I would like to add that Doug and Greg of NC Kayaks were very helpful and patiently answered all of my questions. Give them a call before you buy your next kayak. You will be glad you did.
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