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  What's the 'It' Boat in Sea Kayaks?
  Posted by: old_user on Dec-09-12 2:29 AM (EST)
   Category: Kayaks 

Yeah it's a slightly silly question, but I overheard a couple of older guys discussing it at length at the kayak shop not long ago, was curious as to what ppl here thought.

'It' boat simply means the generally-regarded creme de la creme (our Lexus or Porsche), though obviously it's more about individual needs/preferences.

Their consensus seemed to be the Nordkapp was the 'It' boat 'back in the day', then the Explorer, then for a few years it was the Cetus, and now it's either the Xplore (Tiderace) or the Nordlow.

I've only been in the sport a fairly short time, so I can't comment on what paddlers thought 'back in the day'. Any old farts wanna speak up? ;)

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Messages in this Topic


  It Boat
  Posted by: drjay9051 on Dec-09-12 7:52 AM (EST)
In my mind the "it" kayak is the one that fits like a glove, does what you need it to do and just feels right. i do not think there is in reality an "it" boat which is universally appropriate for all paddlers.

Now OTOH if by "it" you mean the most expensive with the best of everything I'm not so sure.
My "it" vehicle is my 2006 F150 4x4. It works for me. Is it a Lexus, no. But try carrying a round roll of hay in a Lexus!
  The "It" Boat...
  Posted by: VK1NF on Dec-09-12 9:54 AM (EST)
...doesn't exist - it so depends on the paddler and their waters, skill level, weather, and host of other factors.
For me, it's the VOLKSKAYAK - 17' LOA, 24" beam, stitch and glue ply/epoxy construction - a very stable, solid tracking hard-chined sea kayak. Suits me perfectly for the paddling I want to do - others will need boats with different characteristics for different purposes. And absolutely the last thing I look at is the price tag...all that tells you is how much money the owner used to have, or how much bigger the credit card balance is...
  It=can have just one.
  Posted by: magooch on Dec-09-12 10:20 AM (EST)
For me the "It" boat would be which kayak you would choose if you could only have one. That boat for me--without any reservations, or hesitation would be the Novus Composites (NC) Expedition. Another way to put it would be, if you could have any boat, what would it be? Again it is the NC Expedition.
  The two I have for sale : )
  Posted by: Yanoer on Dec-09-12 10:35 AM (EST)
I think people should fight to get them before someone else does.
  Absolutely no doubt that it is ...
  Posted by: Dr_Disco on Dec-09-12 11:00 AM (EST)
the Pamlico 140 with the gray thing.
  awww... not a Pungo? =]
  Posted by: old_user on Dec-09-12 11:38 AM (EST)
  Nothing like aging out....
  Posted by: Celia on Dec-09-12 11:17 AM (EST)
People coming into this sport now do realize that even a pretty darned old modern sea kayak is still younger than the house they may have grown up in.... yes?

From Wikipedia - not a totally reliable source but close enough for a quick check - "The Nordkapp was originally designed by Frank Goodman for the British Norway expedition (the Nordkapp Expedition) in 1975."

As to the "it" boat - personally I would prefer one that stashed itself in a box after use like itt from the Adams family. But I don't think we have found a way to make fiberglass compress that small then blow up again to a 16 ft long boat. I'll be first in line if they figure it out though - imagine being able to toss your boat onto the front seat beside you after a paddle!
  Celia, Now that would be my kind of
  Posted by: shirlann on Dec-17-12 12:58 AM (EST)
boat and I'd be right behind you in line.
  one you can stand up on.
  Posted by: radiomix on Dec-09-12 12:01 PM (EST)
Ryan L.
  Their isn't one
  Posted by: FrankNC on Dec-09-12 1:47 PM (EST)
Romany, Nordcap, Capella all fought for attention.

Now it is XPlore, Cetus, Aries, Pilgrim.

In my opinion they are all junk. What you need is some good plastic that is durable and expedition ready. So for me it might be an Alchemy, Tempest, or Scorpio. But only the Alchemy is comfortable, so the rest are not really useful at all unless you take the seats out to get the deck height you need.
  so it's *only* about material?
  Posted by: old_user on Dec-10-12 3:46 PM (EST)
If the Xplore, Aries, and Pilgrim came in plastic, would they still be considered "junk" to you? (the Scorpio is 'sorta kinda' the Cetus in plastic, depending who you ask & how exacting they are).

Not attacking, just askin'. I wouldn't mind seeing those boats come out in RM or thermoform myself, though I'm certainly not holding my breath.

  Plastic Pilgrim
  Posted by: BigandSmall on Dec-10-12 6:44 PM (EST)
If they made a Pilgrim in 3 layer plastic or thermoformed I'd have one hanging in my garage for my wife. Maybe one for my daughter too.

Is the Delphin not the plastic version of the Aries?
  Newbtastic - yes to plastic
  Posted by: FrankNC on Dec-10-12 8:33 PM (EST)
In fact the Delphin is the plastic Aries and a wonderful boat that we considered getting, but we decided to get an Alchemy.

I really have to hand it to P&H and to Wilderness Systems for trying to make a lot of their composite boats have plastic counterparts. In the past Epic did it too and so did NDK. Unfortunately the plastic Romany wasn't nearly as good as the actual Romany and is wasn't as good as Plastic P&H boats by a long shot.

  Doesn't exactly answer the 'why' though
  Posted by: old_user on Dec-13-12 5:25 PM (EST)
... as in, why is composite 'junk'? =[

You did mention durability in passing earlier, but, what?... composite can't be durable? That would seem to be more a function of what kind of layup is used.

A lot of manufacturers seem to be prioritizing low weight at the expense of durability these days. But I don't know that that makes composites in general junk... maybe 'elite'/lightweight layups done in composite, more like.

Here's an article on the subject you may like/possibly concur with:

  Posted by: bignate on Dec-20-12 6:00 PM (EST)
If you're going to make a sweeping statement about a bunch of generally well-regarded boats being "junk" then you really should at least try and substantiate it.

Sometimes the level of nonsense on this board really is amazing.
  You were actually replying to FrankNC
  Posted by: old_user on Dec-20-12 8:52 PM (EST)

I was not the one who called all those boats 'junk'. I was trying to find out why Frank (who seems pretty smart) thought so.
  Correct....intended to reply to FrankC
  Posted by: bignate on Dec-21-12 9:17 AM (EST)
  Big nate
  Posted by: FrankNC on Dec-25-12 7:48 PM (EST)
I do stand by the statement that composite boats are generally junk. Recently a few rough water symposiums have quit providing composite boats as rentals because of the damages caused to them in classes.

Often the decks of the boats get cracked in flatwater Classes doing simple boat over raft-up repairs or people providing first aid on rafted boats. The composite boats rarely hold up well.

I think they are excellent for racing in flat water only but it you are banging boats together or banging them against rock which happens to me every paddle.

I'd gladly trade my Kevlar Current Designs Kestrel 140 for a similar plastic boat like an RTM disco.

I do totally understand that others have different opinions about this as I grew up in Florida where composite boats lasted for decades because there are almost no rocks and no whitewater. But from here on out I only want plastic and I'll protect it from the sun.

  Posted by: ezwater on Dec-09-12 3:07 PM (EST)'s on the tip of your tongue.
  Gross posts....
  Posted by: old_user on Dec-09-12 9:29 PM (EST)
are gross. :(

Is the combination of tongue and that substance something you think about often?


  Hummm, I'll play.
  Posted by: emanoh on Dec-09-12 9:58 PM (EST)
I get what you're saying or trying to get at. Yeah, yeah, the perfect boat is the one that fits you, but the original poster tossed this out for discussion.

In my circles it seems like a lot of people are talking about the Tiderace line and it seems to be the hot boat line right now.

I think there are more companies playing with thermoform and that material is picking up speed.

I think companies are finally taking paddler feed back seriously and are putting more effort into multi-sized boats and producing HV and LV versions of classic designs. Along with kayak design you're also seeing companies who are building on the success of the PH dolphin and you're seeing medium length boats with rocker and more bow volume to surf and play in rocks and tideraces.

I think that Greenland paddles are hotter now, but overall interest in Greenland style, Tulik hard core paddling has peeked. I think people making their own Greenland paddles is picking up steam. It still has it's hard core niche groups, but I see more people using modern boats and gear with Greenland paddles. Just my two cents.
  Good answer
  Posted by: old_user on Dec-10-12 3:32 PM (EST)
Somebody gets it. ;)
  Quite hot now
  Posted by: Peter-CA on Dec-09-12 10:26 PM (EST)
Sterling Reflection
  condolences on their recent fire =(
  Posted by: old_user on Dec-10-12 2:31 AM (EST)
  Joking aside
  Posted by: Dr_Disco on Dec-09-12 10:51 PM (EST)
I do know of a kayak I think is very innovative and that I would love to have. It is the Epic V6 Tourer. So far as I know there is nothing else like it. But I also know there would not be a ground swell of enthusiasm from'ers for my choice. At least not now. But I think that surf ski style touring kayaks and wing paddles are the future. Except, of course, for the Pamlico 140, which is now the Pungo 140.
  Kayak in a box
  Posted by: emanoh on Dec-09-12 11:50 PM (EST)
Celia, ask and you shall receive. Not quite a box, but you could fold it in your trunk.
  Cool box!
  Posted by: Celia on Dec-10-12 7:37 AM (EST)
It even has a handle....
  Origami kayak
  Posted by: willowleaf on Dec-10-12 9:33 AM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Dec-10-12 9:34 AM EST --

Been eyeing the Orukayak myself. Not that I don't love my Feathercraft Wisper (and consider it the "Ur" kayak, at least for my purposes), but the "kayak yoga" required to assemble it can be exasperating, especially on a hot day.

The major problem with the Orukayak is that for now it is a "pig in a poke". They have been raising capital for production by asking people to pre-pay for one (sort of buying "shares"), sight unseen for the most part. It is relatively cheap as folders go, even as kayaks go, at around $850, I think. It is obviously a clever design but only time will tell if it is durable and functional in a range of conditions.

Back to the question, there are any number of suberb boats out there with a high "I want one of those" factor. But in my mind the biggest obstacle makers need to tackle in building truly desirable boats is making the danged things lighter.

  Yes, Lighter
  Posted by: Kudzu on Dec-10-12 9:56 AM (EST)
Someone posed the question recently... What's next for paddling?...Mr. Stamer replied 'lighter' for competitive reasons. I replied 'lighter' for just less hassle and misery reasons.

Yeah, the IT boat is going to be a light boat.
  I'm very interested in that boat
  Posted by: slushpaddler on Dec-10-12 2:56 PM (EST)
I'm hoping to demo one this spring. Very intrigued. Wondering about increase in potential hull speed vs. being exposed on weeklong trips.
  sea kayaks
  Posted by: ppine on Dec-10-12 11:58 AM (EST)
Its been a sport and a way of life for many thousands of years.

I like wood boats by Pygmy and Chesapeake Light Craft, especially the longer, faster boats and the Greenland designs.
  'it' is not a single boat anymore
  Posted by: nickjc on Dec-10-12 12:29 PM (EST)
It's a quiver of boats due to the specialization of hull shapes. A rock-garden, surf or play boat and an expedition boat.
  Can't be answered
  Posted by: sternman on Dec-10-12 1:04 PM (EST)
This question really can't be answered. It's whatever makes you smile. There are many that can do a little of everything but not one kayak that can do it all. I have six kayaks because I enjoy the variety. Each one is a little special in it's own way. ;-)
  too broad
  Posted by: slushpaddler on Dec-10-12 2:55 PM (EST)
Even in the automotive world there are "it" rides for different uses. Heck, I don't think I could pick one "it" boat for sea kayaking. An Epic 18X and a Romany Surf would satisfy me.
  Define "it"
  Posted by: abc on Dec-10-12 4:08 PM (EST)
- If by "it", implies a boat that does everything better than other boats, it doesn't exist. The list of "best" in any particular category are not the same for other characteristic. So there's not one boat that's better in all area.

- But if by "it" is a boat that allows enjoyment on water, then any boat would do. OK, any boat that's sea worthy and can be handled predictably in skilled hands. That means just about EVERY single sea kayak on the market.

Each may have different characteristic. But all will put a smile on your face!

- A common criteria for "the" boat (not "it" boat), is a boat with a wide performance envelope, i.e. performs well in many area, though not necessarily "best of the breed" in any single area. That's where the name of Romany (Explorer), Norlow etc. comes in.

These are boats that, if you can only have one boat, they're the most balanced COMPROMISE!
  if you have to ask...
  Posted by: old_user on Dec-10-12 4:25 PM (EST)'ll never get 'it'. ;)
  If I Could Have Only One Boat
  Posted by: Kudzu on Dec-10-12 5:06 PM (EST)
it would be a composite Tempest 165 with the seat moved back some. But to put it in the Porsche category you need to knock 8-12 pounds off of it.

You can do it, Newbtastic. The world will beat a path to your door.
  Marketing blah
  Posted by: abc on Dec-11-12 4:19 PM (EST)
Top 10 this
Best that
"the" bike
"it" boat

Only a fool can't see through such marketing ploy and believe whatever the marketing department put out as the one "whatever" that does it all!

I chuckle every time I see this kind of junk got presented.
  Posted by: old_user on Dec-11-12 7:09 PM (EST)
"Yargle bargle, you damn kids, git off my lawn!!" =D

Yes abc, we're all aware of the limitations of such discussions. But sometimes ppl just wanna shoot the breeze a little anyway.

Sorry if I played on your lawn. ;)

  Now that you've realized...
  Posted by: abc on Dec-11-12 11:36 PM (EST)
the question was more than just "a little" silly, play on with your silly game!
  will do, gramps =)
  Posted by: old_user on Dec-12-12 12:36 AM (EST)
  the last "it" car...
  Posted by: slushpaddler on Dec-10-12 4:38 PM (EST)
...was the Pontiac Aztek.

Sure you don't wanna rethink that question?
  Breaking Bad
  Posted by: edzep on Dec-10-12 5:32 PM (EST)
I laughed every time I saw that car on screen. In fact, I smile or laugh whenever I see one in traffic. I don't point and ridicule. Hopefully the drivers just think I'm in a good mood.
  Nah. AMC Pacer/Gremlin...
  Posted by: old_user on Dec-10-12 5:46 PM (EST) atomic lime-green. Most hideous car ever made. =o

Aztek's a close second though, I'll give you that.

  Posted by: Kudzu on Dec-10-12 6:12 PM (EST)
The Pacer was a hideous, ugly piece of sh**.
The Gremlin was a cool looking piece sh**.
  do you remember the Levi's version?
  Posted by: slushpaddler on Dec-11-12 10:05 AM (EST)
  Don't Recall Ever Seeing One
  Posted by: Kudzu on Dec-11-12 12:10 PM (EST)
I thought they looked cool with oversized wheels & tires on the back... with a black paint job.
  I miss those cars
  Posted by: slushpaddler on Dec-11-12 1:47 PM (EST)
I still have the hot wheels version.
  Posted by: Kudzu on Dec-12-12 8:29 AM (EST)
One of the more clever personalized license plates I've seen was on the back of a Pacer. "MY EGG"
  lol, true dat =]
  Posted by: old_user on Dec-29-12 5:35 PM (EST)
  Hey I owned a gremlin
  Posted by: dc9mm on Dec-11-12 12:17 PM (EST)
Hey I owned a 1974 Gremlin lime green manual sterring 3 speed stick am radio and it had points that needed replacment every few months. College car for $300. Solid transportion. Dont be dissing my old Gremlin, with snow tires it blasted through the snow. To bad I dont have any pictures of that old ugly car but bar far uglyest car ever was by Volkswagon it was called the "Thing". Not that was ugly, made a Pacer or Gremlin look good.
  I almost bought an Aztek....
  Posted by: kayak_bob on Dec-11-12 2:28 PM (EST)
I almost bought an Aztek....Not because they were cool looking - but for the total opposite reason...

Buying my first car in Miami area - initially thought something sensible like a civic/corolla/whatever - then looked up the insurance rates - turns out it is quite costly to insure those cars down here - while an Aztek was about half the price to insure, and cheap as dirt - as people were to trying to offload them from their driveways as fast as possible to stop the non-stop ridicule. Reason for the cheaper insurance it turns out was because they had a low likely-hood of being stolen, while missing civics/etc is quite a common event (in comparison) and more likely to be associated with an accident per capita (again, in my area).

Test drove a few of them - not horrible, if you expect it to drive like a mini-van and had lots of neat options (tent, etc) and attachment points - if I was into kayaking back then - I might have got it, just because it would do the job pretty well as a kayak/water sports (but not boat) carrier...alas then I found out Mustang Convertibles weren't that much more to insure than Azteks and went that route instead ;-)
  the "It boat"
  Posted by: RavenWing on Dec-10-12 6:01 PM (EST)
is the one which supplies filler to the kayak mags. Even if the reviews of the "it boat" are done by its sponsored paddlers and/or dealers.

It's the one that attempts to get you to feel that you need to "upgrade".

It's the one to ignore if you like to paddle, think, and choose for yourself.
  Posted by: TomM on Dec-10-12 8:58 PM (EST)
A proper IT Kayak would have a 1024 bit dual servo controlled propulsion system cross connected to a redundant RAID 5 navigation control system with everything connected to a 12 core Linux server via an OC3 backbone.
  For me, whatever "IT" is
  Posted by: jmyers on Dec-10-12 9:52 PM (EST)
has gotta weigh less tha 35 pounds. That's it!
  maybe helium in sealed hatches
  Posted by: jcbikeski on Dec-11-12 12:21 PM (EST)
or for the adventurous hydrogen. Maybe light enough you can walk/float it in the air to the water. Maybe make it from that anti-gravity stuff they mine in Avatar.
  Posted by: old_user on Dec-11-12 1:40 PM (EST)
Das Hindenburg kayak!!! =0

  No prob
  Posted by: LeeG on Dec-11-12 7:08 PM (EST)
  Posted by: wandatibbs on Dec-11-12 12:10 AM (EST)
  One of two.
  Posted by: Cliffjrs on Dec-11-12 6:21 PM (EST)
The one I'm in or the one I'm not.

The rest are rubbish.
  The it boat
  Posted by: old_user on Dec-13-12 12:28 PM (EST)
is an Illusion ;^)
  now in xtra crispy!
  Posted by: old_user on Dec-15-12 3:36 PM (EST)
  Not funny to me...
  Posted by: on Dec-16-12 10:34 AM (EST)
I find no humor at others misfortune, i.e. holocost jokes ect. Making a joke of someone's accidental loss in their ability to make their morgage, put bread on the table or continue to grow a small business is poor taste at best IMO. Maybe I'm extra aware since I'm self employed; living the american dream,(one accident away from going belly up fiscally).

Shame on you.
  I know , I know too soon.
  Posted by: old_user on Dec-16-12 12:06 PM (EST)
But as one who has been through some tragedies, I find that, eventually, you do have to be able to laugh about it.

Otherwise, events just take you down.
  Just paddled it!
  Posted by: FrankNC on Dec-18-12 8:37 AM (EST)
Valley Gemini SP. Fit a very much smaller friend and fit big me!

I hear they will be making one in plastic!
  Fit big you?
  Posted by: old_user on Dec-18-12 2:28 PM (EST)
Valley's website says 'Max suitable load 190 lbs' for the Geminis.

Are you over or under that?
  perception eclipse
  Posted by: slushpaddler on Dec-18-12 3:40 PM (EST)
  Fit big me 224 plus gear
  Posted by: FrankNC on Dec-18-12 8:08 PM (EST)
I guess I'm way over the limit. But I didn't feel like it. Even my long term goal weight of 200 is more than the weighted rate.

I don't think it matters much for a play boat though.
  Good to know, thanks
  Posted by: old_user on Dec-19-12 2:03 AM (EST)
  I'll sell you my kevlar Eclipse 17
  Posted by: Yanoer on Dec-18-12 9:56 PM (EST)
Nice boat, but too big for me.

Don't be sorry.
  old fart speaking
  Posted by: wilsoj2 on Dec-20-12 5:54 AM (EST)
Well, I'm not old as far as serious paddling, only dedicated paddler for 12-15 years.

The it boat has always depended on what cohort of paddlers. When I was first seriously interested there were very dedicated North American and Brit boat cohorts. The it boats for each were different.

I liked 'responsive' boats. The first sea kayak I bought was the original Necky Elaho (15'9", drop skeg). My subsequent sea kayak purchases were British boats (Aquanaut, Romany, Nordkapp LV). By 2000 the Nordkapp was legendary, but the trend among dedicated paddlers was towards the Explorer. At symposiums and training sessions most coaches were paddling Explorers. Many paddlers followed suit.

In more recent times, P&H actively recruited coaches. Subsequently, at symposiums and training sessions, coaches showed up paddling Cetuses, Capellas, etc... So, paddlers followed suit.

The dominant boats in my paddling time have run from Nordkapp through Explorer to Cetus. All of them good boats.

The Nordlow is still the 'it' boat as far as I am concerned.

  good post, thanks
  Posted by: old_user on Dec-20-12 5:41 PM (EST)
  A Path to Your Door
  Posted by: Kudzu on Dec-21-12 10:05 AM (EST)
Newbtastic, here's your opportunity: Develop a mass producible skin boat with all the features of a regular sea kayak - skeg, bulkheads & hatch covers, keyhole cockpit. That will be the IT boat among us light weight aficionados.
  If it were that easy...
  Posted by: old_user on Dec-21-12 7:19 PM (EST)
...wouldn't someone have done it already? o_0
  Posted by: Kudzu on Dec-22-12 5:00 AM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Dec-22-12 11:36 AM EST --

and I was just thinking about repairs. Fiberglass is stupid easy to fix. Is a skin boat that easy to patch?

  Posted by: gjf12 on Dec-25-12 5:48 PM (EST)
One should first decide whether one's IT boat would have a rudder or not. My IT boat would certainly have one. But I prefer to have two IT boats one with and one without a rudder. The ruddered IT boat would be more IT for me than the rudderless IT boat.
  You only need one boat
  Posted by: Dr_Disco on Dec-25-12 10:25 PM (EST)
Just put up the rudder. :-)
  rudder IT's
  Posted by: gjf12 on Dec-26-12 11:41 AM (EST)
Seems to me that the best IT boats without a rudder would be spoiled by adding a rudder. And the best ruddered boats do not function as well without one. So two IT boats are definitely desireable.

For example, the P&H Cetus is an excellent candidate for a non-ruddered IT boat. A rudder would spoil the design. The Westside Boats EFT, an excellent IT boat for the speedy, would not be suitable with the rudder not deployed.
  This boat went 21,000 one trip
  Posted by: paddletothesea on Dec-26-12 10:49 AM (EST)
Arguably the best expedition boat around. Holds 11-distance paddling records including this 2 1/2 year trip from N. Canada to tip of cape horn S America.
  west side boat shop thunderbolt
  Posted by: davemcadoo on Dec-27-12 12:56 PM (EST)
Designed, built and raced by doug bushnell. Three years in a row Doug won Blackburn challenge 20 mile ocean race out of Gloucester, mass- out around cape ann with huge waves breaking against sheer cliffs. Stay in your boat as you are hit sideways by huge waves or die against the sharp rocks. And my time for 20 miles was 3hr25minutes. About one hour faster than a brit boat such as nordkapp or romany. Then 3 years in a row I did blackburn in the it boat for me, a 20 in wide eft version of the 18 in wide tbolt. Twice I did the 90 miler and once the 70 miler in my tbolt. For about 2 grand and 25#, the graphite with understern is totally bulletproof. BUilt here in the USA. The chinese built epic boats have had many rudder problems. I won a medal in the eft at usca touring class nationals. And it turns like a ferrari with 2in or 6 in understern rudder with tiller steering.

In the 70 I averaged about 8 mph for 70 miles or about 9 hours as I had to scrounge water at the half way point. That is about 3 hours faster than a brit boat


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