The NC15 series is perfect for paddling the coastline, exploring shoals, or just a leisurely day on the lake. Suitable for a beginner thru expert. With a shorter waterline length it turns well with a sweep stroke and tracks good even in rougher conditions. The NC15 series is very nimble, quick to accelerate, and very stable. You will also love its great secondary stability and excellent surfing capabilities. The NC15 series is best suited to paddlers measuring 4'10"- 6'2" weighing between 85-220 lbs. with up to a size 13 shoe.
Read and submit reviews for the NC 15 Escape.
I have used my NC 15 LT Escape for about 3 years. I'm a senior male, 5'8 160lbs. I've paddled around Maryland for the past 13 years or so after getting the bug while at a Canadian Boy Scout camp with my kids. I bought this particular boat because I wanted speed and light weight so as to move it around on my own if need be, although I mostly paddle with a club on trips of 20 - 40 kayakers. I was nervous about buying without trying it, but based on other reviews I took a chance, and would definitely recommend NC!! I get so many complements on this boat, its amazing. I experience little to no weathercocking, and the boat turns very well for a 15.5' boat. I think its quite fast.
At 41 lbs, its over 20 lbs. lighter than the P&H Cetus fiberglass boats that many of my kayak friends use (and much cheaper too). I accidentally dropped it off my SUV's roof last year, and the rubber strip landed on a concrete curb, which caused the strip to spread open, but there was no damage whatsoever to the fiberglass.
As others have mentioned the folks at NC, Doug in particular who I deal with, are the best. This is my second kayak, the first being an Old Town Castine, which I still use for trips on rocky waters. My only issue, is that the cockpit is just barely long enough to get my legs into, usually scraping my knees in the process.
My advice - Get one, you'll love it. (I give it 4.5 stars)
The Solstice was like a freighter, so stable as to almost be untippable, and it plowed through waves and wakes. The NC is more like a little hot rod, and is more likely to bob over a wave than plow through it. I have had it in the big lakes here and on the sound, but not in really rough conditions yet. It truly is simple to lift on and off the car, and that is a real joy. With the lightness and simplicity of the boat, and with the Greenland paddle I use, it feels closer to the Inuit tradition than today's cruisers.
For my purposes, mostly a day paddler, it is great. I don't know if it will hold up as well as some of the heavier longer boats. I have done self rescue, including a cowboy entry, and no harm done. I will be happy if I get a hundred or more uses of it.
The reason I give it a 9 instead of a 10 is I really don't like the seat. However with a back pad and better posture I am getting used to it after 10 day trips.
The one big feature that drew me to the boat was the rudderless/skegless design. I must admit I was skeptical, but this has proven to be true. I took possession of the boat as winter was closing in, so my paddling time was limited. But, we have had an amazing Spring here in the PNW, and I have been out paddling since March and finally feel like I've gotten to know this boat well enough to write a review.
I was skeptical about the non-padded seat, but I've found it is surprisingly comfortable, even for my bony butt. At first I felt I needed support for my lower back, but moved the pegs closer a half inch which puts in in a better position and ta da! perfect, no more back issues.
I have not been out in wild and wooly weather, but we share the lakes with lots of water skiers and go-fast boats and it is FUN to paddle through the wakes. In 15mph+ winds it tracks beautifully when others were using their rudders. Oh, yes, it did need the occasional corrective stroke, but overall it's a steady eddie. We have gotten to know each other better as I've paddled him more (yeah, he's a guy) and find its an almost intuitive experience.
Fast, yes, even for my relatively small motor. A younger, fitter person could really amp it up, but even for myself I find I have to slow down or wait up for others in my group. And no loss in stability.
And, this seems like a weird thing to praise, but the coaming is really comfortable, slightly rounded which makes it easy to grip, but deep enough to attach a cockpit cover or spray skirt with ease. It has a 31 inch cockpit which is perfectly adequate for most people, but I find I need to maneuver more to get in and out, but with practice it's becoming easier.
Almost gave the rating as a 9, but decided I shouldn't punish the boat for my shortcomings, so will stand by my 10. My boat has the LT layup, and I am not overly gentle, but I have no concerns about just going out and using it.
The weight is accurate, mine comes in at about 43 lbs, which for a 15'8" boat is pretty good. I keep badgering Doug about designing and marketing a 14' boat with a slightly larger cockpit, but same hull, and maybe one day that will happen and I will be first in line to buy it.
As a footnote to this very long post, a friend was looking for a new boat and tried mine out and has also bought one. We have two of the prettiest boats out on the water now. Because, oh yeah, it is pretty! and not a time I'm out on the water goes by that it doesn't get remarked on. Price is good, if you buy it during one of his sales, price is Excellent.
Maybe not for everyone, but if you are looking for a fast, stable, great looking boat, then this is definitely one you should be checking out.
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.