Width (in)
Weight (lb)

Romany Classic Options

  • S Glass

    55 lb
    Fiberglass Composite
  • Carbon Kevlar

    Carbon Composite
  • 50/50 Hybrid

    Carbon Composite

    Romany Classic Description

    The Romany was designed as Nigel’s school boat in the early ‘90s, before becoming a new standard. At 16', it is a playful all around performer. The Romany brought the keyhole cockpit, confidence inspiring stability, easy rolling, three hatch ‘shaped ski’ design into the general market, and spawned numerous new models. It has received Sea Kayaker Magazine’s Readers Choice awards three times.

    Romany Classic Specs and Features

    • Structure: Rigid / Hard Shell
    • Cockpit Type: Sit Inside
    • Seating Configuration: Solo
    • Ideal Paddler Size: Average Adult
    • Skill Level: Intermediate, Advanced
    • Ideal Paddler Size: Average Adult
    • Skill Level: Intermediate, Advanced

    Additional Attributes

    • Front Bulkhead: Custom 34"
    • Footrests: New style pegs, not yet installed
    • Keel Strip: Black
    • Skeg: Kari slider with new composite box
    • Extras: Black keel strip; Black hull ends; Custom front bulkhead; Clear foredeck dragon

    Nigel Dennis Kayaks, Ltd.
    Romany Classic Reviews

    Read reviews for the Romany Classic by Nigel Dennis Kayaks, Ltd. as submitted by your fellow paddlers. All of the reviews are created and written by paddlers like you, so be sure to submit your own review and be part of the community!

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    Skeg is a nightmare. I'd…

    Submitted by: guest-paddler on 6/30/2021

    Skeg is a nightmare. I'd recommend getting a boat with a rudder on top of the deck that can be raised and lowered.


    I'm advanced in years and…

    Submitted by: paddler518264 on 6/18/2019

    I'm advanced in years and was getting worried about continuing to lift my 18 foot expedition boats onto the on to the car roof in the wind - I'm not tall. I am much more interested in wave playing these days and Stirling boats don't yet have a dealer in the UK so I felt I would get more out of the Romany, It is has enough volume for an overnight trip and I am very happy with its stability and balance on the water. It will track well even in difficult wind circumstances and the skeg helps when necessary but the chined hull helps to compensate for the shorter hull - and it just fits into a standard UK garage. I was really impressed with the carrying balance with the centrally placed cockpit. A discussion with the dealer revealed that a careful choice of pigment could reduce the weight below the average quoted in the model stats. We were able to reduce the weight by a little more than a Kilo by sticking with black and grey but still using standard resin and f/b weaves. The standard seat is fine for me and actually very comfortable - even compared with my old microcell foam seats. The cockpits for the ND range are adjustable and very carefully thought out. The only neg I might have is that the material of the day hatch is [in my mind] inferior to the other 2 hatches, but it is easy to replace with a Karitek version specifically for the ND day hatch.


    Good rodeo kayak

    Submitted by: paddler396848 on 9/26/2017

    Very good kayak for playing on waves - short , small, with shallow "V" and edges.
    Not suitable for multi day trips because of low volume and small hatches. Also very difficult to go inclined towards large waves because of edges and lack of rudder


    Old but still bold

    Submitted by: john-ennis on 12/29/2016

    20 years old and still in VGC despite a long trail of owners. Living and teaching on the Gulf of Mexico I have paddled this boat in all types of seas and totaly love it. It's not perfect. No kayak is, but if you know how to use your body it responds great including rolling in the surf and bongo sliding. It and the smaller Impex Mystic are two of the best kayaks on the market for teaching rolling and as a result great confidence builders for newbies. My Romney was made in 1996. I was born in 1993...you do the math just keep your blade high and your skirt tight.


    I used to own one of these…

    Submitted by: rdpeterson on 11/5/2015
    I used to own one of these and recently got to paddle it again and compare it with my Valley Avocet as I've kept in touch with the guy I sold it to. The Romany is a great kayak - especially for the less experienced paddler considering it's superb initial stability which is similar to the Necky Chatham 16. However, unlike the Chatham 16, it does require some serious edging to get it to turn quickly. Also, like the Chatham 16, the Romany tends to plow through flat water but not quite as bad as the Necky. In very rough conditions both kayaks are very confidence inspiring. The Romany, compared to my Avocet, is almost boring to paddle as the Avocet is much more "lively" feeling and requires no effort to put on edge along with being effortless to turn - edged or not.

    My biggest complaint with the NDK kayaks is their seat and back band. In my opinion, that fiberglass seat is far worse than Necky's seats which I've spent a lot of time in and truly dislike. I came very close to buying a new Romany recently but decided after paddling my old one again will stay with my Avocet.

    For reference sake, I've owned a lot of different British style kayaks through the years including the NDK Romany and Explorer, Necky Chatham 16 and 17, Current Designs Gulfstream, Squamish, and Cypress, Impex Mystic, Valley Avocet and Aquanaut LV, WS Tempest 170 Pro, and currently own a Valley Avocet carbon/Kevlar, a WS Tempest 165 Pro, Dagger Alchemy 14S, and a poly WS Zephyr 155.


    Great boat for a beginner. I…

    Submitted by: honusail on 8/5/2014
    Great boat for a beginner. I used this boat to teach myself all the basics and then bought an Explorer. Recently gave it to my best friends granddaughters to start learning the ropes.

    First of all, I don't own a…

    Submitted by: paddler235655 on 7/3/2014
    First of all, I don't own a Romany. It is the kayak I used on my basic course, which lasted two days. This is the best kayak I have ever used. I tracks very well, is fast, and is easy to steer. I didn't buy one because I consider them expensive. In Norway they cost 26000 nok, and that far exceeds the budget I had. When I have the money, I will most certainly buy one. The only, somewhat negative point is the back support. I find that for this price class, NGK could have installed a seat with a better back support. But to me, it is still the best sea kayak I have ever used

    I love the Romany 16. I have…

    Submitted by: guest-paddler on 1/11/2011
    I love the Romany 16. I have two. One for instruction and one for personal use. These boats paddle great, are indestructible and are extremely versatile. They are heavy though! Last I knew they were still laying them up by hand and squeegeeing out the excess resin.

    I have to give it a rating of…

    Submitted by: GilH on 8/9/2010
    I have to give it a rating of 10 because I enjoy this boat SO, SO much. Sure there is room for improvement. I would have liked the seat to be able to be moved forward a little and perhaps make the boat just a little longer to see if that helps with speed. Still, make no mistake about it, it's my preferred boat as it does many, many things well. It rolls easy, it turns well and tracks great without the skeg. I have never used the skeg. I also own an 18 foot Nordkapp, a Chatham 16 and a Dagger Megellan. Nice boats specially my beloved Nordkapp, but I do prefer the Romany for day trips and fun in the water.

    I've been paddling a Romany…

    Submitted by: guest-paddler on 6/8/2010
    I've been paddling a Romany for the past 5 yrs; purchased one 2 years ago. Ordered mine with the bulkhead moved up to fit my legs so I could rest my feet on the bulkhead. footrest were not attached but sent with the Romany would like to attach footrest looking for proper placement instruction Love the boat take it out for 7 day trips loves the rougher water

    I purchased two of these in…

    Submitted by: amf on 5/27/2010
    I purchased two of these in glass - one for the lady. I have a rope skeg, she has the cable. Overall, we both love the fit (I'm 5-10, 180# w/size 11 feet, fwiw)& performance. While I wouldn't call myself an expert, I have been paddling over 30 years & find it handles superbly. For my wife, this is her first real touring boat after about 4 years paddling and, after some initial hesitation about stability, she is extremely comfortable in it.

    Complaints / issues? Here's a few to be aware of:
    My rope skeg leaked upon arrival. There was a dimple with a pinhole in the skeg box, which appears to be a mfg defect. Easily repaired with a dab of epoxy. The cable skeg, while operating smoothly, clanks in the skeg housing while paddling whether up or down. This was the reason I went with the rope skeg, having demo'd a boat with the cable skeg that did the same thing.

    The skeg - at least the cable skeg - also slows the boat markedly (I also have a CD Scirocco in which the skeg produces little noticeable drag). The rope skeg extends much deeper in the water than the cable skeg; I should probably paddle my wife's to compare the two. This fact aside, I find I rarely use the skeg anyway, even under strong wind & current conditions when my Scirocco would practically demand it.

    The seating also leave something to be desired (but then again most do). I will probably replace the backband or put in a foam back pillar at some point.


    I am: 6'2, 235 pound male with size 12 feet. The Romany Surf…

    Submitted by: guest-paddler on 4/19/2010
    I am: 6'2, 235 pound male with size 12 feet.
    The Romany Surf is a boat marketed for surfing and day touring. The boat succeeds with both. It weighs in at 54 Lbs and is balanced nicely for carrying on your shoulder. SKUK has posted on its website the amount of fibreglass used on each section of the boat. This boat is solid.

    The cockpit is large and makes entry and exit a breeze. I have no trouble getting in seat first. There is lots of room for my size 12 feet. I have the foot pegs adjusted two notches from the end. The bump outs on the top deck fit my knees comfortably giving me a good contact with the boat. I will be adding a thin layer of foam in this location to make it softer on the knees. The standard back band offers good support, but little padding. I usually replace all factory ones with an Immersion Research Reggie, which I have done with this boat. It has the usual bungees forward and aft with perimeter lines.

    The primary stability is solid; it can move easily from edge to edge but doesn't feel tippy. The secondary is secure and very predictable. The boat tracks very straight and does not weathercock in the wind. The boat is very good in the surf. It catches waves and maintains speed on waves very easily. This is where the boat shines!

    It accelerates moderately to a cruising speed of 5 km and this pace can be maintained with little effort in moderate waves.

    I have to be honest my roll is not very good, but kayak friends have rolled it with little effort. The exit and re-entry is easy with the low back deck and lines. Draining the boat is easy with the angled bulk head behind the seat. There is very little water left to pump out.

    The boat is suited as a day tripper, but packing would not be a problem for a couple of days. The hatch covers are very good and have a tight seal. No water has been found even after a day of rolling and water finding its way in the cockpit.

    This boat is so much fun to paddle in challenging waters. It is stable and predictable enough for a novice, but it is sporty enough for an expert which I do not claim to be. This boat will be hanging in my garage for years to come.


    Bought my Romany Standard…

    Submitted by: guest-paddler on 6/5/2009
    Bought my Romany Standard 2008, love it having paddled a p&h Quest before, I am 5f 8 12 stone and it fits like a glove build quality is excellent although under the cockpit rim is a bit rough could be finished off a bit better, is quite fast for a 16f boat handles great and gives great confidence in all conditions all in all the best boat I've ever owned 10 out of 10.
    PS: Nigel, you need to sort your seat and back band out there so uncomfortable.

    I have owned several boats in…

    Submitted by: guest-paddler on 10/27/2008
    I have owned several boats in the last 3 years. The Romany is by far the best of the lot for me. The others were longer than the Romany so I do give up some speed (but not much) but the trade off in boat handling is worth it. Great in the surf. I am 5'9", 170 lbs.

    I own the Romany in…

    Submitted by: guest-paddler on 8/4/2004
    I own the Romany in fiberglass with a rope skeg and absolutely love the boat. I've had it for 4 years now and it's a great boat for teaching and surfing. Despite it's short length, it is actually quite fast and it tracks well. I have the 2000 model with the rope skeg which is fine, except that I have a defective skeg-box (whatever that means) so the skeg doesn't actually retract all the way. This was solved by simply getting a rock jammed into the skeg box. It's been up there for about 3 years now and I have to no desire to remove it. Truthfully, the boat tracks well enough that there isn't really much necessity for the skeg. Carrying capacity is good enough for a long weekend overnight. The ONLY problem I have with the boat is the round hatches. They are very difficult to pack. All in all, the Romany handles great and rolls easily. Despite loving it, I'm actually selling my Romany (see ad in the Classifieds). I'll be sad to see it go, but I'm taking some time off from teaching to do some lengthy expeditions and need a bit more carrying capacity. I am a female, 5'3", weigh 130lbs and have been paddling for 10 years.

    I like this boat a great…

    Submitted by: guest-paddler on 10/24/2003
    I like this boat a great deal. I've had my Romany (no skeg) since Sept 1999. The short length makes it very manuevarable and I'll often turn it for the fun of it. I'm 5'9" and about 170lb. It seemed a bit tight a first (also being a new kayaker) but now, it feels comfortable and bigger boats seem way too loose. The fiberglas seat is comfortable for me but the backband can pinch along the top rear of the seat.

    The boat is 16ft but, as the bow and stern are upswept, there is much less waterline. It also has a fair amount of rocker. This makes the boat manueverable but track less well than a boat with a longer waterline. The boat will run straighter with a more vertical paddle stroke and pulling the paddle out a bit earlier (i.e. don't run the stroke far back past your hips). A skeg would also help the tracking in some situations.

    While this boat might be a bit slow for racing, a competent paddler should be able to keep to the front of a touring group. As far as I can tell, the initial stability is low to medium (as it should be, in my opinion) and the secondary stability is medium. You want "loose hips" in this boat but you probably won't be suprized as one might be in a narrower boat. I can manage to paddle the boat forward while looking backward.

    I suspect that many people get longer boats because of the allure of week-long expeditions which they never attempt. With a bit of care, this boat is fine for multiday trips and you don't have to carry the extra wind-catching volume on day trips. Try a shorter boat.

    I like having the day hatch because I can get to it on the water and can keep things off the deck. If you are a bit bigger, you might also look at the Vally Avocet, which is similar but with a bit more volume. The Dagger Meridian looks like it might be similar but with more volume. I have no complaints with regard to the construction (which, it appears, can be variable).


    As a follow up of my…

    Submitted by: guest-paddler on 12/26/2002
    As a follow up of my 11-18-2000 review, I am still of the opinion that the Romany is the best boat for me. Its design, by Aled Williams and Nigel Dennis, has been thoroughly tested and refined by skilled paddlers in real conditions. As a teaching/ demonstration boat, it is manuverable and predictable. As an extreme conditions craft, it is dependable and responsive. It edges beautifully, outfits and loads well, and doesn't weathercock appreciably. I teach in flatwater through surf conditions and the boat's great in all. My only negative comment is the variable quality that's almost as famous (infamous) as the boats' design. Nigel has said this will be corrected. My rating will go back to a 10 if that's accomplished, but it's still my fave rave boat.

    As an instructor, I needed a…

    Submitted by: guest-paddler on 11/30/2002
    As an instructor, I needed a boat that was nimble enough for those quick rescues and for providing "poster-boy" demonstrations, fast enough for those impromptu teachable moments, and solid enough for landing in a variety of shorelines. Now, six years, nearly a hundred rescues, landings and many more miles later, it remains as my craft of choice. Skegless, it tracks adequately for an intermediate paddler and there's an ample amount of room for weeklong expeditions. Nigel really thought this boat through, with forward mounting for compass, recessed deck fittings, ample thigh braces, an angled rear cockpit bulkhead, and heavy lay-up. I've visited the "factory" and was somewhat surprised at how archaic their facilities were, but the end product is top notch. It wouldn't be my first choice in a race, but for most any other paddling pursuit, it's a great choice, beginner to pro.

    Bought my Romany (w/Skeg) in…

    Submitted by: guest-paddler on 7/3/2002
    Bought my Romany (w/Skeg) in 2000 and have been happy with its performance characteristics, its fit (5'9" 165 lbs.), and its design. I paddle mostly flat water as I live deep in the middlewest, though have had the boat off the Maine coast on two occasions and in Lake Superior a handful of times. My novice-intermediate skills don't qualify me to expound on the boat's finer points, except to say that I have been relatively comfortable though challenged in following seas, surf, and learning to become confident in braces. I learned to roll in whitewater boats and rolling the Romany has been easier. My boat developed a skeg-box leak and discussion with the shop suggests this is a more common condition due to variable quality control issues with production. Valley's composite Avocet &/or Pintail would be close second choices.

    I've had the Romany for 2…

    Submitted by: guest-paddler on 1/18/2001
    I've had the Romany for 2 years now. I am a larger paddler at 215 lbs and had to modify the seat to fit when donning a dry or wet suit. In general, this design is pretty sweet for knarly conditions including reflecting waves, confused following seas, and especially in surf. Easy to roll also. It is surprisingly efficient at a moderate cruising speed but hits the wall when you push it. I guess that's the compromise for great handling. I rate it a 9 only because the seat and backband system are uncomfortable, however, realistically I am too big for the boat so it's partly my problem. In addition, it does not "carve a turn" the way some boats do (e.g. Skerrey and Capella), I have to coax it with a sweep and edge control. A lighter paddler may have better luck at this. That said, the fun is in the surf. You can maneuver down the face of a wave, lay out an extended low brace at a break line into a broach and side surf, then once on top of the crest, sweep it around and surf down the face. I'll have to say, that of the two boats I own and the three others available for me to paddle, I almost always choose the Romany. Bottom line... it is just plain fun to paddle.

    This boat is a great design,…

    Submitted by: guest-paddler on 11/18/2000
    This boat is a great design, and the construction matches. It's a slow boat, but excels in rough seas, clapotis, and wild surf. I usually paddle in inlets and tidal races and while the boat is a lively thing, I always feel in control. The low rear deck makes rolling a breeze, and the super low volume behind the seat makes for quick emptying during rescue practice. Hatches almost totally watertight and secure, yet easy to access and open. Get the Henderson built -in deck pump with side discharge. I have a skeg, but have only used it once in hurricaine driven seas and wind. Boat does not weathercock with a skilled paddler. A blast to surf with; fast and controllable in big breakers. Still my favorite boat. Would check out Nigel Foster's Rumour as a comparison.

    I have owned the Romany 16…

    Submitted by: paddler228858 on 9/20/2000
    I have owned the Romany 16 for several months and had it out in wind, chop, and strong currents. I am extremely pleased with its handling; very solid yet responsive , (I've never used the skeg)and easy to turn. Great stability; I'm looking forward to learning to roll it and getting it in the surf.Quality is topnotch and it looks as good as it performs. One small drawback is it's a bit heavy, but the tradeoff is a strong, durable kayak.

    I love the boat. At it's…

    Submitted by: paddler228661 on 6/10/2000
    I love the boat. At it's size, the Romany does what it should & more. Tracking, skeg up or down, Surfing.... It works for beginners & those more experience. Yes it may miss out a bit on speed compared to larger boats, but over all it's the winner hands down of any design / technology in its catagory.

    This is the best all around…

    Submitted by: paddler228242 on 1/17/2000
    This is the best all around sea kayak. Goes fast, tracks straight, turns great, and its easy to roll. It just does everything well :)

    I bought my diolene Romany 16…

    Submitted by: paddler228298 on 11/10/1999
    I bought my diolene Romany 16 in 1995, first production run, no skeg, and I'm still loving it! I chose it as a good all-around boat with an emphasis on surfing and rips, and time has vindicated my decision. It has a little rocker, so is as agile as one could want a seakayak to be, easily making quick turns (so desirable when that perfect wave is bearing down on you!). Its high-volume bow resists burying on steep waves, and the shallow-v hull picks up waves readily. It rolls like a (good) dream and is very comfortable. Cute, too.

    Downside? It's not as fast as some longer boats, but still keeps up. Despite the claims in the ads, it does need a skeg: it weathercocks in moderate wind, and in high beam winds and chop can even anti-weathercock if the bow porpoises and is blown downwind. Attention to trim (loading up the bow) takes care of the latter. Following seas are a ball, if you like riding a bronco (which I do), but your paddling pardners will want to give you some room to move in those conditions. This boat improves you paddlework. At 6'0" 210 I ride a little low in the water, a good reason to watch my weight.


    Excellent boat. It's a tight…

    Submitted by: guest-paddler on 8/26/1999
    Excellent boat. It's a tight fit (5'9''-170)a plus, which gives you a great amount of control. Performes beautifully in large waves, including following seas. It is realitively fast and I have never had trouble keeping up with longer boats or more experienced paddlers.