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  Seating comfort in Romany/Explorer
  Posted by: Celia on Sep-21-12 3:02 PM (EST)

These boats are actually both sized for about 180 - 190 pounds and can take taller. That said, seating comfort can be a different matter than size. There are some things specific to the Romany/Explorer that happen to be a very good fit for me but others can find uncomfortable. The big ones -

The NDK backband is an instant backache. It looks pretty but doesn't function at all well, I even had a small backache after a couple of hours in a demo and I don't hurt that way so easily. The dealer we got our NDK boats from recommended a swap to a Bomber Gear or IR backband before any NDK boat left the lot, which we took. Another option is to remove the original and go to a full foam seat and back like from Redfish.

The NDK seats are short, and for many they simply don't provide support as far down the thigh as is needed. I prefer the shortness, but again I am odd. It is not uncommon for owners to glue in shaped minicell ahead of the seat to add support for the thighs.

The decks are relatively low compared to the newer sea kayaks, influenced by racing preferences for a higher knee to help with pumping action. For some the angle of leg to hip is just too big.

The seat is hard, none of the funky padding under the sit bones like you see in even older P&H seats. It is easily remedied by gluing in a bit of minicell in the hollows where your bones tend to lie, but some people never get around to that.

It is possible that the regular Romany deck is lower than the regular Explorer deck. Our Explorer in this house is the one with a lowered deck height, so we can't lay a regular version of each side by side. Both have aggressive keyhole cockpits, but an inch of difference in height can make the same cockpit feel different.

There is one other thing that we only noticed one day looking down from the second floor on top the Explorer and the Romany on top of the car. It's more about handling, but worth mentioning. The seat in the Explorer is basically centered. The seat in the Romany is more like 2/3 back in the boat, so the bow is much freer than in the Explorer. In fact the Romany is one boat where it can be worth reversing the usual front to back percentages of load, and making it if anything a little bow heavy. The loose bow is great in surf, but often it is best to tame the darned thing for distance paddling.

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