Two paddlers - three kayak options - input appreciated!

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balltip
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Two paddlers - three kayak options - input appreciated!

Post by balltip » Sat Jan 24, 2015 10:48 am

Hi, all!
First time poster, long time lurker.


Me and my gf are about to take the plunge and buy new kayaks for the oncoming summer. We live on the west coast of Sweden, on the island of Tjörn. Thus we got immediate access to one of the lovelier archipelagos in the world, and we want to explore it in the right fashion.

He; 220 pounds/100 kg , 6'/181cm, size 9.5/43
Some experience from paddling, bought a new P&H Orion back in -95 and paddled it extensively for about 5 years off the coast of Sweden and southern Norway. Sold the Orion in 2002, and had a short relapse in 2005 when paddling a Tahe Marine Reval composite for a summer. Preferred the Reval over the Orion due to much more comfy seat and the fact that the Orion did not come with a back rest at all but had to have one made to fit.

She; 138 pounds/63 kg, 5.4'/163cm, size W7.5/38
Semi-beginner without extensive paddling experience, but absolutely not a stranger to kayaks and water.

As you see, we differ in size. I'd say ("I" being the guy) that my gf is almost as good a paddler as I am, despite our difference in experience. She is just a quick learner.
Now we are looking to get ourselves a couple of kayaks, and we'd love some input from the forum members.

We are looking at plastic/roto molded kayaks since it is definitely a cost issue. The main use would be day/weekend trips, and maybe week long trip/s in areas where we still have access to both stores for resupplying food and water. From our online research, three (or maybe four) candidates seems to have come forth and those are:

Tahe Reval RM (new HV version and midi version)
North Shore Atlantic MV/LV
Wilderness systems Tempest 170
(the odd runner up for the larger of us would be the Etain 17*?)


What would YOUR suggestions be?
Since there is quite a size diff between us, we need different kayaks it seems. Are we thinking too big for her? Are we thinking too small (besides the HV options) for him?

Your input is most welcome. :)

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MikeB
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Re: Two paddlers - three kayak options - input appreciated!

Post by MikeB » Sat Jan 24, 2015 1:47 pm

Well, the most important thing is comfort and fit - and in limiting yourselves to RM boats you'll be a little restricted in your choices owing to that. No doubt folk with practical experience of the specific boats you've mentioned will be along soon to comment, but for you the Northshore would probably be a good option. I base that on the views of some of my friends who use them. The Orion is a very different proposition to the others you've mentioned, although I've no experience at all of the Tahe as no one I know has one.

Another friend had a Tempest, and it certainly was a big boat - - - he now paddles a f/glass Atlantic, as do a lot of others I know.

I wonder whether your g/friend is at a stage in her paddling development that a Nordkapp RM might be worth considering? They are not, perhaps, ideal boats for someone in the early stages of their paddling career but might be a good option size wise?

I appreciate that you note you want RM boats, but IF you were able to consider f/glass ones, then something like the Tiderace Xplore or Xcape would come in sizes which would almost certainly fit your g/friend - and you, and are good touring boats. Then you would both have boats with broadly similar handling and performance characteristics. There are other T/race boats which also come in a variety of sizes, and of course also several Valley boats.

Try, try, try and try as many as you can - that's really the only way to find out what will work for you as individuals. My partner is considering a new boat, and I thought she'd like T/race. She didn't, and is probably going to buy an Etain. I dislike them intensely, even the biggest one - and I'm bigger than you. So we're all different!

Hope this helps a little - Mike.

balltip
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Re: Two paddlers - three kayak options - input appreciated!

Post by balltip » Sat Jan 24, 2015 5:01 pm

Hi Mike!
Thank you for chiming in. I really appreciate it!
We are in the early stages of acquiring, I am sure that things will happen along the way. I am, however, also pretty sure that whatever happens will be of positive influence because of the vast experience one sort of "taps into" when asking questions on a forum like this.


My old Orion was really nice to paddle, once loaded, but empty it was a little too buoyant. The Reval was really nice, but that one I never paddled unloaded.
I can remember one occasion off Larvik (southern Norway... this must have been 95) where, sitting in my Orion, I really felt as if I was tossed about due to it sitting too high in the water. Or rather ON the water.

The NSA is surely the neatest looking of the trio, I must admit that. Regarding the Tahe Reval series I am asking here since it seems that, even though there are loads of Revals out there, there seems to be a bit of lack of information on different forums, both English speaking as well as Swedish ditto. I have looked around but it surely does not seem to be an abundance written about Revals once they are roto molded.

We will look into the Nordkapp, that is for sure.

Cheers!

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Re: Two paddlers - three kayak options - input appreciated!

Post by rhysie » Sun Jan 25, 2015 1:16 am

The North Shore Atlantic RM has a lot of room in the cockpit. I've had mine for 2 years and I appreciate it more as my skills grow. It is definitely not the fastest kayak around (mine has an insane number of gouges and hairy bits of plastic hanging off) but in rough water and surf it fantastic. It is also much better in a following sea than my Cetus.
I should mention that I have the original Atlantic RM with single skin and the strengthening pole running along the inside of the keel in the day hatch and cockpit. I like mine so much I am thinking of up grading to the newer 3 layer foam sandwiched lay up.
The other advantage of the NS Atlantic RM is the price. It is cheaper than equivalent P&H or Valley plastic kayaks.

balltip
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Re: Two paddlers - three kayak options - input appreciated!

Post by balltip » Sun Jan 25, 2015 9:34 am

Hi rhysie!
I appreciate that info for sure. The Atlantic seems to have an almost cult like following from what it seems. The newer three layer PE also seems to be very popular. Only down side is that it seems to be a lack of North Shore dealers here on the Swede west coast, we might have to go all the way to Stockholm (across the country, approx. 5 hours drive) just to get to see one in the plastic.

How do you find the kayak to handle in windy conditions? Do you use skeg or rudder?
I have only used skeg, and do not fancy the thought of a rudder. However, it seems that the Atlantic will do very well with "only" a skeg, from what I gather?

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Re: Two paddlers - three kayak options - input appreciated!

Post by Owen » Sun Jan 25, 2015 11:28 am

I've been paddling a Northshore Atlantic RM for quite a number of years, I got one when they first came out. They handle wind very well I find use the skeg more in gentle wind rather than when it's really blowing, not sure why that should be.

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Re: Two paddlers - three kayak options - input appreciated!

Post by Chris McDaid » Sun Jan 25, 2015 1:52 pm

Perception Essence should also be considered. Comes in both 17 & 16ft

Cheers,
Chris
NDK Explorer/Dagger Stratos

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Re: Two paddlers - three kayak options - input appreciated!

Post by Pitchpole » Sun Jan 25, 2015 2:53 pm

I had the Northshore Calypso (now Atlantic) as a first boat it had enough space for what you plan. It was stable due to lots of rocker but fast enough. Speaking of lots of rocker have you looked at the Delphin? I have only demo'd one but it is the sort of boat you never need to grow out of. It is good to start in but fantastic in the surf or tidal races as your skills progress.
Cheers
Dave

balltip
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Re: Two paddlers - three kayak options - input appreciated!

Post by balltip » Sun Jan 25, 2015 7:47 pm

So grateful for all your comments!

P&H Delphin; my gf tried it when we were out, trying a couple of designs this past autumn. She liked it, but felt it might be better designs for her out there. It is, however, one we both might get back to and have a second look at later on. I on the other hand, ended up in another makers kayak that day, and learned what brand we will not look into again. Ever. It was a modern roto molded design from an well known mgf that had about all the flaws I could find in a kayak. Still, the day itself was nice.

Perception Essence; love the lines of it! It is, however, about £350-400 more expensive than the alternatives. And to put it bluntly: It is me who will have to pay for both kayaks since my gf can't afford one atm. Thus the price point is of real concern and the Essence is therefor out of the question. I am about to invest maybe £2000, adding another £700 on top of that is just not within my reach atm.

North Shore Atlantic; seems, like I said previously, that people really like it. I guess there is a reason why.

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Re: Two paddlers - three kayak options - input appreciated!

Post by rhysie » Mon Jan 26, 2015 5:50 am

Hi balltip,
My Atlantic is skeg only. The stern is high with a lot of overhang so I don't think a rudder would help with handling. It handles wind pretty well with the skeg deployed but most of the time I just use a little bit of edging. I went out in it today for a 4 hour surf session with 15kt on shore winds and I didn't need the skeg at all.
I find it very easy to roll and prefer to re-enter and roll over a cowboy scramble as my method of self rescue.

balltip
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Re: Two paddlers - three kayak options - input appreciated!

Post by balltip » Fri Jan 30, 2015 9:46 am

Been looking around locally, and atm shopping for kayak/s is slow. Dealers have "nothing" in stock (of the stuff we are interested in) and none expect any shipments to arrive before the end of march.

I did, however, get myself a new pfd online. After looking through what was reasonably priced as well as available, I picked up a PeakUK Adventure in the right size for about half of what it used to be, due to it being discontinued. That's shopping in January.

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lg18
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Re: Two paddlers - three kayak options - input appreciated!

Post by lg18 » Mon Feb 02, 2015 8:32 pm

I was going to recommend the Tempest and then saw you are already considering it. A really great all-rounder and extremely comfortable for a range of people due to the highly alterable cock-pit - nicely thought out. They come in different sizes too, not just the 170.

Has your girlfriend considered the Valley Avocet? Should be just about the right size and also a good all-rounder, great to play around rocks and surf as well as touring (although it's not very big so probably not long camping trips).

Those two would be my immediate thoughts anyway for plastics.

Lucy

balltip
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Re: Two paddlers - three kayak options - input appreciated!

Post by balltip » Tue Feb 03, 2015 11:33 am

Hi Lucy!
Yes, the Tempest is definitely on the list, both the 170 and the 165. It seems to be a very, very comfortable kayak from what I gather, and to be honest it is very important for a kayak to feel nice to sit in, since that is pretty much what you do in it - sort of.
My (very) old P&H Orion had a resin seat that was so uncomfortable and fit me so badly that my legs would go numb after only a short while unless I hit exactly the right seating position. Also, that seat made my bum hurt like mad after only a couple of hours. This was one of the major turn offs regarding that kayak, and seating comfort is one of the major priorities this time around. I'd rather have a really nice seat in a plastic tub, than have a perfect carbon kayak which do not fit my behind at all.

Valley kayaks sure look nice, but they are way overpriced over here and thus are out of our range. Too bad, really.

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Re: Two paddlers - three kayak options - input appreciated!

Post by neilgilmour » Thu Feb 05, 2015 10:39 pm

Hej!

If it's a budget issue have you considered 2nd hand composite boats?

I paddled a Tempest 170 for years but now I have an NDK Explorer and the performance is worlds apart.

I don't know what supply of 2nd hand boats is like near you...

balltip
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Re: Two paddlers - three kayak options - input appreciated!

Post by balltip » Sun Feb 08, 2015 9:03 pm

Hi!
Yep, we are prowling the sales ads constantly. At the same time, I have gotten the feeling that this time around I really want to try out a plastic tub (do not get me wrong; I do not believe that rm kayaks are bad, it is just an expression) due to rocky shores and the very unpleasant sound it made when I managed to scrape my old Orion on the occasional rock. Let us call it to be because of a wish for an ease of mind thing.


During the wait I am halfway through the process of making my first greenland paddle. Would have finished it this weekend, had not the drive belt to my power planer snapped. Well, a new belt is on its way, and while I was at it I also ordered a new set of blades. Needed those, really, so it was not entirely a bad thing that belt failed.

balltip
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Re: Two paddlers - three kayak options - input appreciated!

Post by balltip » Sun Mar 15, 2015 5:57 pm

Had our first indoor training session yesterday, and it was great! None of us managed to roll (...as if we would have...) using only a paddle, but once we had a paddle float attached it was a breeze. We also learned how to re-enter, both aided and alone. It was 3 good hours, and we might get to do it again in 14 days, depending on our own mood weather vise. We both love gardening, and if the weather is too good, we might want to do the first chores in the garden instead of spending those hours in the water.

We also got to try out a few different kayaks while playing along in the pool, and we both really liked the North Shore Atlantic LV. It is too small for me, weighing in at approx 100 kg, but my 63 kg girlfriend just loved it. It was a first generation boat, with the bar running along the bottom.
Food for thought, for sure.

And another good thing is that the pre-owned sales seems to pick up, as the weather gets better and better. Still no really good deals close by, but I have seen a few good ones at too-far-to-drive distances. Sooner or later one might surface closer to here. And it is still only mid March.

balltip
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Re: Two paddlers - three kayak options - input appreciated!

Post by balltip » Sun Mar 29, 2015 3:51 pm

After the last training session we decided to have another go at it - rolling that is. And yesterday I nailed it!

Oh, do not get me wrong. I did roll, successfully and on my own, maybe 20 times. But I had a whole bunch of failures, only rolled on one side, and felt anything but "graceful". But I did roll, both with my newly made greenland paddle as well as with an euro paddle. I also managed a few wet exits, complete with re-entry and roll up. My GF did not get the roll to work, but she is getting there I am sure.
Too bad there will be no more indoor sessions before the summer. Now we have to wait for the sea or lake/s to warm up before we can easily practice again.

Regarding the kayaks, it seems (now) to be between the Reval mid and the NS Atlantic. The Atlantic has a great seat and wonderful thigh pads , that is for sure.

balltip
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Re: Two paddlers - three kayak options - input appreciated!

Post by balltip » Sun Apr 26, 2015 6:55 am

Well, a short update is in order!

First kayak has been ordered, with planned delivery in mid May. This one turned out to be a Reval midi PE, with skeg only (no added rudder option).
In the process I also stumbled on at least two not so decent nor honest dealers here in Sweden, and promptly informed Tahe Marine about this fact. They both claimed that they had for habit to only order kayaks once per year, and thus could not sell me a rudderless kayak due to the fact that I would have to wait until next winter. Naturally all they had in stock were the most expensive model of each kayak. Go figure.

Tahe Marine found this to be remarkable, because they make several shipments to each dealer every spring/summer...
(I even forwarded one mail conversation to Tahe Marine, and have crossed out to EVER deal with any of these two Swedish dealer clowns again.)

So instead of having to deal with these dorks, I ordered my kayak from a Norwegian dealer. And guess what? It was totally painless and easy. Customer service at its best.

Once the kayak arrives I will try it out briefly, before deciding on getting another just like it, or take the plunge and get the North Shore Atlantic RM instead (and have my gf use the Reval).

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Re: Two paddlers - three kayak options - input appreciated!

Post by beachbum » Sat May 02, 2015 6:30 pm

You might consider the Perception Essence 17 for yourself. I like the Etain (about the only PE kayak I really like), but you want to be an experienced kayaker when boarding an Etain. For a (re-) starter, the Essence 17 is a roomy and easy to paddle kayak. And it is damned fast.

balltip
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Re: Two paddlers - three kayak options - input appreciated!

Post by balltip » Thu May 07, 2015 7:03 pm

Will keep an eye open for that one!

I will go and get my Reval shortly, btw. At the same time I will have a look at a greenland paddle that the same company (that I buy the kayak from) sell under their own label. It is a chinese made paddle, designed by a swede, sold by a norwegian company...
The specs looks nice, and if it feels sturdy and well made I... We will see.

And if the Reval should feel on the small side, I have begun looking at the Zegul Arrow play MV PE. Seems to be a really nice kayak, but the price tab is almost £400 more, compared to the Reval. Still, it really looks intriguing.
We are not planning on any long range expeditions, but rather for shorter weekend trips combined with some rolling/wave play.

balltip
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Re: Two paddlers - three kayak options - input appreciated!

Post by balltip » Thu May 14, 2015 3:38 pm

First impression of the Reval is positive! Seems to be rather fast, it is comfortable to sit in, and it looks good on the water. Further testing will be done comes the weekend.
I also tried out my greenland paddle, and found out that the shaft is way too thick. Will be trying it some more, but am also in the process of waiting - waiting for a paddle from China.
When I were at the Norwegian dealer, I had a close look at their own design greenland paddle (pretty much the same concept as Northern Light paddles; a three piece paddle with a few different set of looms to allow for adjustment) and realized that it was very well made. Same manufacturer that makes this one for the Norsemen, sell a two piece version of the same blade design online, and at half the price. Should arrive at the end of next week or so.

balltip
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Re: Two paddlers - three kayak options - input appreciated!

Post by balltip » Sun May 17, 2015 1:28 pm

First real try-out, and it was good.

My gf and I went out for a short half day trip, during which the Reval made the first real impression on me.
Positives, just off the top of my head: The kayak is stable, but I cannot call it lifeless nor dull. With the skeg up, it turns on a dime and feels very lively. With the skeg down it tracks like an arrow. In a slightly choppy sea it feels very forgiving, and it is comfortable to sit in.

Negatives: The skeg control is okay-ish, but not more. The "throw" is too short, thus it is hard to finely adjust the amount of skeg you want to apply - you might find yourself either going full skeg or no skeg at all, only because it is no more than maybe 6 cm between the two. Hardly a skeg control where you just finely tune by just a wee bit, since that wee bit is almost the entire movement of the control itself...


Here it is, on a pebbly and filled with sea shells beach:
Image

And here is my gf, also in a rented Tahe Reval Midi PE, but with a rudder (and green, obviously):
Image


The weather was, as can be seen, not the best. But the lee side of the island of Tjörn did provide enough shelter from the 15 m/s gusts, and we managed to get back in time before a real downpour hit us. The water was way too cold for swimming, and we were quite happy getting home. But we also loved the time on the sea, and will get back out there shorty, as soon as work and weather permit.

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