Name: grayhawk

Most Recent Reviews

This is my second review of the Tern 14. I built it in 2002 and loved it but eventually my interests evolved to camping a racing and the sweet 14 wasn't getting that much use plus I had gained 35lbs. and the boat just wasn't the same. A friend wanted the boat for surfing and finally talked me into selling it.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago, I am now 70yo and back to my original weight also my camping and racing days are nearly over. I mentioned that I loved the Tern, he said he wasn't using it and agreed to return it.

After owning many kayaks, I can say that nothing comes close to the 14 as a day boat.
I am very fortunate to get it back.

This is an update to my review below (12/12/07) of the Bou-S that I had sold. As in "what goes around comes around" I was able to buy it back :-) . Maybe sort of like marrying the same person twice - that should tell you something about the 'Bou... or me...

I have had the Malones on my Subaru Outback for about three years. They are mounted to my factory crossbars and they allow me to carry a second kayak flat using foam pads. They have never given me one bit of grief and it’s easy to single handily load the boat on a low vehicle. I would imagine it would be more difficult to single hand a boat up on a taller vehicle. I have carried 14’ to 18’ kayaks very securely and it only takes me a few minutes to remove the crossbars with the Malones still attached.

I sold my Caribou S over a year ago after paddling it for a few years. I had used it for guiding, camping and as a dayboat. While the 'Bou was only 51 lbs. (expedition layup) I found myself loading my Arctic Tern most often because of it’s lighter weight and decided to keep the Tern and sell the Bou.. BIG MISTAKE!

The Bou handled heavy weather much better and was faster. While the Tern was a larger boat for camping I would much rather pack lighter and take the Bou. The Bou maneuvered well, rode smooth in the bumps, had a ton of secondary. On a positive note, the new owner and I have become friends and occasional paddling partners so I still get to paddle the Bou.

The negatives are (to some) the hard chines and secondary are not conducive to some Greenland skills work and the low sleek bow does pearl a bit but never bothered me.

On the whole for speed, decent maneuverability and strong secondary, it’s a hard boat to beat.

This is a six month update to my “first Impressions” review of the Nordkapp LV. Now after maybe 200 paddles the twitchiness has disappeared although on occasion it will still get my attention. It responds to the slightest paddle stroke and taught me fineness along with bracing on my forward stroke. It feels more stable as the conditions get bigger and is beginning to be a blast in the open ocean. It is more of an active paddlers boat not that well suited for bird watching. I still have a hard time stargazing without going for a swim.

The LV is very maneuverable and efficient. It is very easy to maintain a good cruising speed that continues whether loaded or in conditions. I would say it is skeg dependent in flat water and lowering the skeg an inch makes it into more of a point A to Point B boat., like having the best of both worlds. The skeg slider is easy to sight and the skeg is very effective and linear. If you have ever been caught in a storm you know it is nice to have a boat that will turn into the wind without a battle.

The fit is geared to the smaller to medium paddler and although there is plenty of foot room the thigh braces may be a tight fit for the large and best to try this boat on. I did remove the seat pad to lower my CG a bit but the seat and backband remain very comfortable. The construction is still flawless.

I’ve taken it camping twice and with my weight and 80lbs. of gear it was still lively and one of the fastest boats on the trip. I especially appreciated the larger front hatch and loved having my first day hatch.

This is a spots car and not a family sedan so if you want to paddle it for paddling sake this is a fun boat that will enhance your paddling skills.. Can’t wait to see what the next six months bring.

Boat: Ultra Lay-up 43lbs.
Me: 5’11” 185lbs.

I am a coffee addict, I just can't function without several cups in the morning and enjoy a few cups in the afternoon no matter what the weather. When I first started camping I tried the horrible instant coffee and quickly bought a small percolator which was troublesome at best and very inconvenient.

I was complaining to a fellow addict when he suggested I take his Thermos Nissan French Press on my upcoming trip. I did and as soon as I returned I ordered one of my own.

This is an easy to use stainless steel beauty and in a very few minutes after you boil a liter of water you have several wonderful cups of coffee. It is easy to use, easy to clean and keeps the coffee hot. I grind enough beans for the trip at home and I am now a happy camper.

The downside is that it is bulkier than a small jar of instant coffee but unbreakable and worth the extra room. The other is that when your mates find out you have this press expect having to make an extra pot in the morning.

This is a first impression review of the Nordkapp LV. I normally wouldn't review it for maybe a year but as it is a new model and there aren’t many to demo in the U.S. at this time, I’ll do a little one.

I am 5’11’ 185 lbs. 31” inseam, 60+ Y.O. and have been paddling 5 years. This is my eighth kayak and now I get to paddle about five days a week. Most of my paddling has be in a CD Caribou and the Pygmy Arctic Terns.

My search for a light, efficient, fun dayboat led me to demo a standard Nordkapp LV. I liked it and fit in it with a little room to spare. I do not have large thighs and paddle in warm water gear. My size 10 feet have plenty of room. I ordered one in the Ultra lay up which is Kevlar/carbon hull, deck and bulkheads, this saves around 10 lbs. a bit pricey but worth it for these old shoulders. No other options or special placement of bulkheads were ordered.

The boat that arrived is near perfection. Fit, finish and construction is the best I have ever seen in a kayak. The outside seam is very smooth and at first I thought it was the rubber molding type. I could find no excess resin anywhere and it weighed in at 43lbs. with hatches and compass. The seat is very comfortable with padded seat pad, matching hip pads and backband. I will leave these in for now. The Valley thigh braces are set more aft than I an used to but my knees and lower thighs have a grip under the cockpit recess. I will add a Minicel skin in this area just to improve my grip. The LV is not a tiny boat just a lower volume Nordkapp with the middle weight range being 180lbs. I can enter butt first and pull my legs in although it takes a little finesse if the boat is floating.

As other have said this boat is twitchy, I agree. Some if it may have to do with Nordkapp genetics but a lot of it is that I am coming from hardchine stable boats and some of it might be attributed to the fact that this boat is 10lbs. lighter than the boat I demo’d and 17lbs. lighter than the prototype that Sea Kayaker magazine reviewed.

I paddled it seven days consecutively and on the third day greatly relaxed in it. My confidence greatly increased when I hesitantly took it out in over 20kts. wind and wind driven white caps. The bow rode gently over the waves and to my surprise beam and rear quartering seas had almost no affect on the boat. They seamed to just pass under the boat. The skeg was very effective and the boat would instantly respond to slight changes. The boat felt more stable in conditions.

This boat turns very quickly and at first I found myself initiating my turns too soon and would crash into the mangroves before my intended turn. Even with the maneuverability it tracks fairly well and just a bit of skeg will make it a point A to point B boat, but that’s really no fun. The LV feels very quick. It accelerates instantly and has an efficient very respectable cruising speed that holds up well in conditions. It doesn’t have flatwater racer speed but neither do I.

As a dayboat it is a fun pure paddling boat. It will not inspire confidence in beginners but will reward those with established strokes and braces. This boat resounds instantly to any input and I quickly learned that finesse gets much better results than a heavy hand. It makes me look better than I am and after seven days the love affair has now begun.

Update in a year. Oh yeah, I’m not rating it, so you will just have to paddle it yourself...

Maybe time to chime in here. I am 5'11" and 180 lbs. and have had eight kayaks.

The Arctic Tern like most Pygmy boats is a larger volume EXPEDITION boat. It is designed to paddle with 250 to 350 lbs. of paddler and gear and at this it excels. With weight it will set down in the water but still leave enough freeboard to keep you dry.

This is an active paddler boat as are most hardchine boats, meaning it is very easy to turn if you lean it to the point where the chines take effect. It is very neutral and does not need a rudder or a skeg if loaded properly.

As a day boat it is OK to pretty good especially if you are a medium to large paddler but MUST be outfitted. The cockpit is very large and comfortable but you must be in contact to take full advantage of its design. I replaced the blow up seat with a carved Minicel, added a white water back band and thigh braces. When you are in contact it is a completely different boat.

I have had better day boats and if you are small or do only day paddling a smaller volume boat may better suit you. It does take some attention empty in a following sea. If I could have only one boat for day paddling and camping this would be the one.

I love this boat and give it a 10++ for what it was designed to do.

I built my Tern 14 two and a half years ago. This was my first real kayak and I compared every other kayak I paddled against it. Now after owning several other boats the Tern 14 is still my gold standard for all around handling. There is something to be said about the simplicity (no rudder or skeg) of a well-designed hard chine boat. It tracks, turns and balances almost automatically after a few paddles and at 33lbs. A joy to handle.

It has a faster cruising speed than most of the Pygmys and rated as one of the most efficient kayaks period at normal cruising speeds. It is much faster than my long boats in very shallow water and I use it almost daily in and around the mangroves. It was designed by request of the Tsunami Rangers so there is very little that this boat can’t handle. Although limited on top speed this is a great day tripper or club boat. I am 5”11 and 170lbs. and I confer this is near the top range, although it is rated near 300lbs. I have now added a Tern 17 for my multi-day trips.

I totally disregard any review based on a quick demo or even the first month of ownership. But that is what I am doing and here’s why. I recently won a Current Designs Kestrel 120 in poly. I planned to sell this boat as I have five other sea kayaks and this little one didn’t fit my needs.

I decided to at least paddle it once before putting it up for sale. I carefully launched it from my home in the Florida Keys and within 10 minutes I knew it was a keeper. There is a large mangrove flats area adjacent to me that I frequently take short paddles and this little boat paddled effortlessly and in the shallow water was as fast as the long boats and much more maneuverable. The Kestrel is now my main boat for playing in the mangroves.

This is Current Designs smallest boat. It’s made of high-grade poly and shares it’s deck rigging, including reflective perimeter lines, with its big brothers. I feel this a very capable boat for light to moderate conditions. I will use my sea kayaks for those long open water crossings, but this is a fun quality backwater boat. As previous written, it is the class in its class...