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Name: schlippg

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My review will not go into the great handling of the boat as enough as been documented on it. I had a QCC 400 and decided to attend a NDK symposium in North Carolina (which is excellent). While taking the different training sessions I got to try out the different NDKs. I could never roll my QCC but the first time in the NDK I executed a roll, very impressive. Later in the month I took a sea kayak expedition training course, the QCC performed well but really took a beating and was very slow compared to the NDKs I was paddling with. In fairness to the QCC, a 15'3" kayak will not be as fast as a 17'6" kayak. My QCC aged a lot in 3 days of training. I decided to sell the QCC and get a NDK.

I have the standard heavy fiberglass layup but when you are doing that kind of stuff your kayak really gets beat up. The lighter boats will show it real quick. I have no complaints about the quality of my boat. I did not have a choice of color (British Racing Green) for the price I paid but if I had a choice it would be white, cream, yellow or some light color. The lighter colors are cooler to the touch temperature wise in the hot summer sun and are lighter in weight. I am 6'4" so I have a HV version with a foam seat. I like the foam seat because you can position it anywhere in the cockpit and it easy to add foam to. The back band was replaced with a NSI one, IR also makes a good one.

I was looking for a plastic kayak to complement my Explorer HV because I live in central PA and sometimes paddle rivers that in late summer-fall months have low water height. The are a lot of big boulders and at times you scrape the bottom. Even though my Explorer is as bomb proof as a fiberglass kayak can get, I wanted the piece of mind that comes with plastic. I wanted something that handled like an NDK. I tried the usual range of kayaks that dealers carry, Wilderness, Necky, Perception, etc. but they don't even come close to the NDK feel I was looking for. I kind of figured a P&H, Valley, and plastic NDK would be best. It is hard to test out any of them with the Valley being near impossible to locate a dealer nearby. The Capella 166 RM was kind of slow and not real great tracking. I located a few used NDK Surf RMs, tried one out, liked it and bought it.

I have the triple dump one which is 3 layers to make it stiffer and less prone to the plastic's oil canning. For a 21 inch or so kayak it is very stable. I am not great a rolling but easily managed 3 in a row. It tracks great, surfs well and is an over-all really fun boat to paddle. Edging and steering are very good, too. No leaks so far. My cousin and I took a paddle with me in the Explorer and him in the Surf RM, then switching off. I paddled with the same effort in both kayaks while he compensated. He felt that it required about a 1/4 more effort to keep up with me in the Explorer which has 20 more inches in length and is fiberglass but he could keep up.

I don't know if I would be as happy if I had to pay full price. Buying an almost new kayak at a used price of $1050 makes it a really great boat that I would be happy to have as my only kayak. New price is like $1900 vs. fiberglass list for $3400. I guess you don't see more Brit plastic kayaks because of the lower price the larger companies have using Chinese kayaks. You can get a new Wilderness Tsunami or Zephyr under $1400 and although they are good boats, they just don't handle the same.

I gave it a 10 based on comparison to other plastic 16 ft. sea kayaks, it would be a less if it you compared it to the range of kayaks a fiberglass Romany is in.

I have two, one for a QCC Q400X and one for a Pyranha Fusion. It fits the QCC tightly and the Pyranha not as tightly on the sides. IR lists the skirt as a touring skirt and that it is but have also used it in up to Class II+ whitewater in the Fusion. I would not go above that. What I really like about the skirt is that it is so comfortable, not as hot as nylon or restrictive as full neoprene skirts.

The Quest is my cousin's kayak but he is getting over knee surgery so I got to try it to make sure there is nothing wrong with it (I know it is tough but someone has to do it). I like it but at 6'4" and size 12 shoes I am too big for it. I fit in but my feet are jammed in and after an hour I would be too numb.

In defense of NC, their recommended limit is for a person of 6'2" and that is probably the very limit. It is a very fast and well made kayak. I tried it in kind of cold weather so I did not push the limits of lean stability. I really like the seat, it supports the back and thighs just right. If you are 6' or shorter it would be a great boat. It is neat the way you can order colors.

I am 6'4" and 210 lbs so by QCC formulas I fit best in a Q500 but the Q400 fit best in my garage. After a call to Steve I got the Q400X. I did not get the thigh braces to make entry and exit easier. The standard padding under the deck is just right.

I am a beginner so my handling description is limited by my experience. I wanted a kayak that has lots of room for my skill set to grow into. I wanted a fast kayak that handled well on large lakes, rivers, the bays and eventually the ocean. So far I noticed that it likes rough water, seems to paddle as fast backwards and is fairly stable. I got a rudder just in case but you won't need it until extreme conditions. I got the basic fiberglass version. Back band is fine but I had to pad out the bottom in front of the seat for support to my long legs.

I did a lot of looking and web research before buying. QCC kayaks have the best value for the quality. I did not mind paying a little more for what I perceive as much more build quality. And it is cool to pick whatever color combination you want. They are one of few companies that actually spells out their warranty in plain English. I heard a lot of the old, "we stick by our product" from other manufacturers but try to find it in writing.

It is a leap of faith not to try it or sit in it but I am sure you read it in all the QCC reviews, don't worry it is an excellent buy. The more I use it the more I realize that it would be really hard to tell which kayak really is best unless you are very experienced. A beginner just can't pick out little nuances between kayaks. Now, that doesn't mean you shouldn't do demos, I quickly learned that I did not want a poly boat or something like a Pungo. I also saw the difference in kayak width, handling, and stability.

I noticed the little rub marks and scratches to the gel coat from small rocks near the shore. I am careful but a beginner. One of the things I did do to protect my hull was to add a thin clear layer (8 mil) of protection 3M film that I have used on my cars for 10 years. I put on a 18 in wide by 8 ft long strip in the middle and 6 inch width to each end. I got the bulk film from XPEL.com for a cost of about $120. It is easy to peel off by heating it with a hair dryer and then wiping the hull clean with alcohol. Get the install kit if you do it.

And naturally everybody gives their kayak a 10 unless it really sucks.