North Shore^

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grazie
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North Shore^

Post by grazie » Thu Nov 09, 2006 1:06 pm

I was made aware by the Paddle '06 exhibition article on Douglas Wilcox's blog that North Shore has been taken over by Valley. My attempts to get further information from Valley have been unsuccessful, but I have been informed that Mike Nelson (the previous owner) is now an employee of Valley. This gives me a lot of confidence that any specific North Shore spares (hatch covers,seals,etc.) will still be obtainable.

If anyone has more information I'd be eager to hear about it.

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Mark R
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Post by Mark R » Thu Nov 09, 2006 1:30 pm

All I know about NS is that their notably different (to the UK norm) designs are better appreciated in Japan, where most of their boats get shipped. Is this correct?

Perhaps Valley are trying to widen their market?
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Dave Thomas
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Post by Dave Thomas » Thu Nov 09, 2006 1:33 pm

MarkR wrote:All I know about NS is that their notably different (to the UK norm) designs are better appreciated in Japan, where most of their boats get shipped. Is this correct?
And Scandinavia, I believe.
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grazie
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Post by grazie » Thu Nov 09, 2006 1:36 pm

They are more popular in the Netherlands and Scandinavian countries too. I think it's only the hatch covers that are different to the UK norm.

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Jim
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Post by Jim » Thu Nov 09, 2006 2:07 pm

Also popular in NE England, no-one has yet formulated a good reason why the rest of the UK generally ignore them, it may be as simple as because they are (were) made in the NE?

Jim

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Zoe Newsam
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Post by Zoe Newsam » Thu Nov 09, 2006 2:19 pm

I suspect that's the case. A bit like the North Wales/ NW England NDK/ Rockpool bias.
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Mark R
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Post by Mark R » Thu Nov 09, 2006 2:25 pm

The boats I've seen suggest that their differences to the general UK trend goes beyond the hatches...chines, volume distributed right to the ends, poorly advised colour schemes*...

Image

The idea that 'Welsh/ NE people will like Welsh/ NE boats' and suchlike is a bit lame. Boats will be bought wherever they are sold and marketed. I have yet to see a NS boat on sale in a UK shop.



*Hang on, Rockpool boats also feature the latter...
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grazie
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Post by grazie » Thu Nov 09, 2006 2:47 pm

Indeed, the Buccaneer and the smaller Polar are a significantly different to the UK norm. It doesn't apply to the rest of the range. In fact many have noted that others manufacturer’s day boats still bare a canny resemblance to the Shoreline, which has been around for quite a while.

However, I was really hoping this thread could shed a little more light on the current North Shore situation.
Last edited by grazie on Thu Nov 09, 2006 2:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Jim
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Post by Jim » Thu Nov 09, 2006 2:49 pm

MarkR wrote:The boats I've seen suggest that their differences to the general UK trend goes beyond the hatches...chines, volume distributed right to the ends, poorly advised colour schemes*...

Image
Valley have always made chine boats (Anas acuta, more recently the Q-boat), NDK are currently making the Greenlander in I think 3 variations, my Sea King is chined (don't know manufacturer), Island kayaks have the Qarsuut and their Expedition is partly chined as is the P&H Quest, but I accept the point that they are different to other boats, it's just not quite so easy to put a finger on! The sheer line seems lower to me as well, but I'm sure people can point to loads of other boats with low sheerline, Sea King for example....

As for colour schemes, I've seen NS boats using a pastel pink that makes that green look tasteful!
MarkR wrote: The idea that 'Welsh/ NE people will like Welsh/ NE boats' and suchlike is a bit lame. Boats will be bought wherever they are sold and marketed. I have yet to see a NS boat on sale in a UK shop.
My point being that I think NS were probably sold more by word of mouth than proper marketing or shops..... I may be wrong but it's the impression I get.

Jim

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Erling
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Post by Erling » Thu Nov 09, 2006 3:27 pm

MarkR wrote:The boats I've seen suggest that their differences to the general UK trend goes beyond the hatches...chines, volume distributed right to the ends, poorly advised colour schemes*...
Hey, that's my Buccaneer! The hatches may be different but I can vouch for their absolutely watertightness. As for colour schemes, red is never wrong, here is a pic of mine w/son aboard:

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waltfos
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North Shore

Post by waltfos » Thu Nov 09, 2006 3:37 pm

Big in the NE

Possibly would cut down on postal and delivery costs seeing as they are base just outside Middlesborough

Good company but about 15-10 year back they had a problem with the glass curing together.

This produced a lot of cracks on the boats and decks leaving hulls etc and so people drifted from them.
I
cant recall if there after sales service was good at that point being a small company or if it was a sod in nature.
Summary people got hold of the info and walked with there feet.

I have a few friend who paddle them and a few clubs in the West of Scotland have them as club boats and they enjoy then immensely.

So

Keep shoogle aboot

Walt

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CaptainSensible
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Post by CaptainSensible » Thu Nov 09, 2006 3:59 pm

When I first started googling for sea kayaks (over 18 months ago), North Shore was the first brand I came across for some reason - they used to be available throughout most of the Plymouth/Bournemouth/Brighton/etc. chain (one of the shops use to advertise the fact the group's owner paddled one), but now only Kayaks & Paddles (Plymouth) stock them.

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Post by Dave Thomas » Thu Nov 09, 2006 5:31 pm

When I was looking for a boat 5 years ago, I investigated North Shore. They only had (then) two 'dealerships' in the UK (Stirling Canoes (?) and Kayaks & Paddles in Plymouth). I called in at the 'factory' - by arrangement - when I was in that area - I had a tour of the workshops, but they didn't have any demo boats at all in their possession - not even to sit in and try for size, as they had 'just shipped a container out to Scandinavia'. I asked if they were taking any demo boats to the BCU Symposium at Whitby (20 miles down the road) a couple of weeks later - 'no' was the response. I formed the view that they could sell as many boats abroad as they could manufacture, and just weren't interested in the home market.

As regards regional distribution of boats, I have formed the view that NDK boats tend to be more popular than average in N Wales. Similarly, Mad River canoes are more widespread in S Wales, near to WWC who import them. I guess those living in the area know Nigel Dennis or Hugh Evans respectively. Maybe they get to demo the boats easily, maybe they get good deals. And if local coaches use the boats, example and word of mouth will probably spread their popularity.
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Post by Owen » Thu Nov 09, 2006 7:07 pm

I first paddled a Shoreline back in the 80's when they first came out and I thought they were fantastic; for the first time I felt comfortable playing in the tide races off Anglesey. Since then I've borrowed a couple of boats and always enjoyed paddling them. I can manage six/seven days out of one but I generally go quite minimal when camping. They're very manoeuvrable, can trun on a six pence and edge really well, they also surf like a dream.
Some people find that the fit in the cockpit is very much like a ww boat i.e. your knees are pushed quite far out to the sides; I like this but it's not to everyone taste. As far as I know they've offered a choice of square or valley type hatches for sometime. Some people like the square ones as they give a nice big hole to get your camping gear through but they can be a bit hit or miss as to whether they're water tight or not.
There are about a dozen paddlers with them in the Fife club and they all seem to like them; I've not herd any complaints. They make (if I remember rightly) The Shoreline with valley hatches or Minstral with square hatches, the Atlantic (a bigger Shoreline) and Calypso again round or square hatches. As well as the hard chined Buccaneer and Polar; which I don't find very elegant.
I'm saving up for a new boat at the moment and the Shoreline is/was top of my list so I'd be interested to know what's going on.

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Carl M
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Post by Carl M » Thu Nov 09, 2006 10:38 pm

I bought an ex demo Mistral from North Shore just as the Teesside was closing. My understanding is that Mike Nelson has sold the molds to his European distributor and production is being moved to Poland, Mike will be employed to ensure quality control at the new factory (currently making open canoes), and will then be UK distributor.

With traditional style hatch covers I am concerned that a swimmer might pull it off while being rescued (either on his own or the rescuers boat), (has this ever happened). I expect the straps and flush fitting of the North Shore hatches make this less likely.

I expect the reason that kayaks are popular near where they are made is personnal knowledge of the designer / builder, ease to arrange a demo, and ease of delivery. For example I live in Scotland so travelling to Shorham to try a kaspian kayak is not practical, unless I know someone with the same model I am interested in or I attend a symposium where shoreham have a demo stand (I was introduced tho the Mistral and the NSBSKS) I would just look elsewhere.

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Post by Cornholio » Thu Nov 09, 2006 11:57 pm

They're pretty bogging colours. Saw one on Ebay a while back and thought it was an 80's throwback(probably new...!) and the graphics/decals/writing done in those horrible 1930's Art Deco fonts like something out of King Kong's era...Utterly ignoring performance, aesthetically I'd rather take a Rockpool anyday! NDK's name decals are pants too- cheapo letters that look like they're out of a car accessory shop. Lack of imagination IMHO...
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Post by AllanC » Thu Nov 09, 2006 11:58 pm

My own boat is a North Shore Mariner, in a particularly terrible shade of pink*, and it is one of the small fleet of various North Shore boats that make up the majority of our club, and members' boats in Greenock. I agree that they are all confidence inspiring, comfortable, if not the quickest on the market (when I bought mine second hand, it was joked that the paddler got free physio for their friends due to the amount of time they spent looking behind them). The one thing I have heard is that the cockpit area specifically was a bit poor, and have I known two to have to be rebuilt as the fibreglass gave way.

*Photo to follow when I have time

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Erling
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Post by Erling » Fri Nov 10, 2006 7:11 am

Despite their price tag they are very popular around here, and have been for years. I have yet to see a kayak with better build quality, some may be just as good but most are inferior. Here is a picture from a club trip last winter. Eight of ten kayaks are North Shore!

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MichaelE
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North Shore

Post by MichaelE » Fri Nov 10, 2006 10:20 am

I have had my sea kayak from the above company since March this year and can only say that as far as I am concerned I recieved good service. They sold me the boat that I wanted and not what they thought I wanted. The boat is comfortable and even after a long journey I do not feel stiff. Recently on a trip I was paddling with a colleague, who had a Nordkapp, and I had no difficulty in keeping up with him in a good blow (constant white horses). As for the colours I do not like the chrismassy glitter effect of the Rockpool range. Surely colour is a personal choice, with mine being based on ease of visibility (ie yellow and white). As for the hatches when I did a rescue day a couple of months ago getting in on my own from over the stern they did not get in the way and the straps did not catch. I would still like to know what has happened to North Shore if anybody can help.

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Post by CaileanMac » Fri Nov 10, 2006 12:03 pm

Having spoken with Mike Nelson at the start of year he stated he hadn't paid much mention to his home market as the bulk of his business was from overseas. However this year he did attend the Northumberland Symposium and started adverts this year in one of kayaking magazines. So it's no wonder that the NE was the only place North Shore sea kayaks were being used in any great numbers - the factory was only down the road and lot's of people used them and hence what's the most powerful selling tool - word of mouth. Can you blame him for not doing much with his home market if he wasn't getting the sales - after all he was running a business.

As for North Shore's colour schemes and fittings (metal recessed fittings and big glass hatches) are certainly different in the 'norm' in the UK but as far as I'm concerned that's welcome as for far too long there has been much 'same old, same old' mindset and approach e.g. yellow deck, black seam and white hull. Come on sea kayaking is meant to be happening, growing and being almost trendy dare I say it these days? Is it? Or is still all about beards, sea gull eating and myths? Different is never to easy to embrace but is critical to the contiuned development of the sport.

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Post by Cornholio » Fri Nov 10, 2006 12:37 pm

Cheers for the photo Erling... just look at the graphics on the boat at the forefront. If I had one of these I think I'd paint it or get some better stickers made up, or maybe just dash it on some jaggy rocks!!!
As in other things (like motorcycling for example- all bike paint jobs in the 70's used to look as guff as NS kayaks, until custom paint jobs with striking finishes, colours and designs crept in to the market), there is nothing wrong with making your product as visually appealing as possible- yep, you could even say making the product more sexy than it is as just about all advertisers do, is making it stand out from the bland. What's the point in designing something which maybe is comfortable and handles brilliantly- if you round it off with a paint/decal job like North Shore? Maybe no-one told them their boats look awful and that's why they've been shifting business elsewhere. Adapt or go under(or elsewhere?). Times have changed and good looking boats are in! I'm sure Eastern Europeans will love their "modern looks" compared to their iron framed and moleskin covered trad boats...!!!
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Post by CaileanMac » Fri Nov 10, 2006 12:51 pm

Cornholio,

When in business you find a neiche and work it - that's what North Shore did well with their foreign markets - how many other UK sea kayak company's exported to Japan in volume? Can't say personally that I love their paint jobs but why follow the crowd? The colour schemes work for a market segment then stick with it in line with your marketing brand.

If you don't like them fine but do bear in mind others may well and they may not feel the need to follow the crowd. The sea kayaking community is full of these people!

CaileanMac

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Tim S
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style over substance..

Post by Tim S » Fri Nov 10, 2006 2:16 pm

My thoughts on sea kayaking and it's style are well documented ( and oftern flamed down by 'the beardies' ), but be sure that with Jason and Pete getting involved with North Shore they will definately bring the graphics/colours and other fun stuff up to spec.

With their backgrounds, they both have the skill and expertise to keep the range true to the designs and also open them up to new markets ( with updated graphics, new outfittings and wide distribution network ).

Great to see this growth with a UK based ( and owned ) manufacturer. I look forward to seeing what will happen....

Tim S

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CCL
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Post by CCL » Fri Nov 10, 2006 3:22 pm

I for one am very pleased to hear that North Shore are still around - with Valley makes it even better! A few folk here seem to think that NS graphics are 'old' ....

Cornholio wrote:
What's the point in designing something which maybe is comfortable and handles brilliantly- if you round it off with a paint/decal job like North Shore?
I bought my NS Calypso in 2004. It was second hand (and already 8 years old apparently). It looked like this:
Image
(photo by Douglas Wilcox)


Image

Certainly NOT that unpleasant at all - maybe even leading edge!

I changed my Calypso for a Rockpool Alaw last year - for the knee position more than anything else.... It was in good condition (Jason from Valley put a keel strip on it to make sure it stayed in good nick!) and there were certainly no complaints about the aesthetics or the excellent build quality. Incidentally, it was the lightest boat I have ever had too!

The hatches - well they were great. Never leaked, really easy to pack the boat quickly and so much storage space that I used to have to try stopping other folk from sneaking their kit into my boat !

Claire

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As this threads going all over the place....

Post by Robin Ashcroft » Fri Nov 10, 2006 4:10 pm

and as I've never actually paddled a North Shore I can't really, contructively add to the original query, but what I really want to know is -do Rockpool supply boats WITHOUT the starfish and glitter.

I may well be looking for a new boat over the next 12 months and would probably consider one, but for one thing. I really couldn't live with glitter and lovie-dovie patterns. And why should I act as a moble advertisment?

Sorry but there you go!

Anyone else feel the same?

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Tim S
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custom built

Post by Tim S » Fri Nov 10, 2006 4:26 pm

I may well be looking for a new boat over the next 12 months and would probably consider one, but for one thing. I really couldn't live with glitter and lovie-dovie patterns. And why should I act as a moble advertisment?
pretty sure Aled would make you one in any colour ( however subtle ) you want. Same is true for Valley, NDK and P&H. Normally have to wait a a bit longer and there may be some price differences, but most of these British Sea Kayak companies pride themselves on offering custom lay-ups ( even if 'custom' is "no funky graphics please" )

personally i think glitter is the way forward...but each to their own....

Tim S

p.s. would love a Rapier with flames on the nose.....

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CaptainSensible
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Post by CaptainSensible » Fri Nov 10, 2006 4:56 pm

When I went to collect my Alaw (which wasn't actually finished when I arrived!), there was another waiting-to-be-finished Alaw in the workshop with no stickers/logos and no glitter (yellow deck - black seam/coming etc. - white hull). Its future owner didn't want them.

If you don't want stickers & glitter, then you don't have to have them. I'm not a massive glitter fan, but I'm not a fan of scratches and masking errors/gelcoat bleed either (glitter helps to conceal/distract from both).

I also don't like the idea of being a floating advert (I remove labels & logos from anything if I can), but I've kept the stickers on my boat out of gratitude (I ended up with the kayaking bargain of the Century).

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TimParish
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Re: As this threads going all over the place....

Post by TimParish » Fri Nov 10, 2006 5:33 pm

Robin Ashcroft wrote:.....but what I really want to know is -do Rockpool supply boats WITHOUT the starfish and glitter....
Robin,

Having recently bought a Rockpool I can confirm that Rockpool will do you a boat in any RAL colour, with or without starfish, glitter or kelp line and will add any graphic of your own design.

As an example I ordered mine with a non-standard Sulpher Yellow, 90% Chartreuse glitter and a double width kelp line. Not to everybody's taste - very bright and shiny - but it is distinctive and I love it!

It really is a case of have it any way you want.

Regards,
Tim
Timbo

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CCL
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Post by CCL » Fri Nov 10, 2006 7:48 pm

Pictures of my 'low key' rockpool glitter and kelp alaw are below. When I'm a much better paddler, then I might treat myself to a more 'lary' boat ; )

In the meantime - I've gone for 'understated/classy look' ; )


Image
Image

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Jim
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Post by Jim » Fri Nov 10, 2006 8:03 pm

Hmm, since rockpool come with what might ordinarily be a custom graphic finish as standard, does it follow that a plain finish is therefore custom for a rockpool, and if so do you have to pay extra for it?

I wonder how Aled would react if I tried to order a full carbon boat with no gel coat and no graphics, and no blemishes? I bet that would cost extra, and give him a sleepless night waiting for it to cure! :-) (that's a fairly evil request by the way, I've only ever built one boat that way but it was tense!)

As for glitter, I'm sure Jason was putting it on Valley's squirt boats 15 years ago or more, but then squirt boaters are an odd bunch....

Jim

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