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NC 15 Excursion

by NC Kayaks

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.

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Reviews

This is a follow-up to my first review on 2-17-2014. I'm a…

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This is a follow-up to my first review on 2-17-2014. I'm a very experienced paddler, having spent 30+ summers in either SE Alaska or Vancouver Island on extended camping trips; the last 12 winters in the Everglades and a few Springs in Baja (as well as many other places around the world). I've paddled this boat extensively now, but first a few thoughts on a couple of the slightly negative reviews of this kayak:
(1) if you buy a 15' kayak you should not be comparing it to 18' boats with much narrower beams (and surf skis) in criticizing its speed. It is fast enough and typical really of 15.5' hard shell boats with a comforting 23" beam;
(2.) If you create a 2" crack in the gel coat" just getting it off your rack, you DEFINITELY either didn't mount it correctly or more likely, just left the straps cranked down too hard, for too long in the sun; a fairly typical mistake actually. The Light (LT) layup on my boat -- mine does weigh about 40 lbs on my scales -- has held up very well the last 2.5 years, and I've had it out in all kinds of weather, waves, surf and chop here on the North Carolina Coast. I've also loaded and and unloaded it from the car rack -- after various road trips -- many many times without issue.

One more suggestion for future reviewers -- it would be very useful to start each review with your paddling experience, + approximate age and size. If the review doesn't include that, it's just very difficult to get much out of the it. Ok, so I maintain "if" you are an experienced paddler this boat should not weathercock in winds up to 17 knots. Above 20, it does, but only slightly (and pretty easy to correct with a good paddle and a slight turn of the blade at the end of your stroke, or simply, a harder pull on one side as needed). I can say without a doubt that I've never experienced another rudderless and skegless boat that can do this.

The gel coat on my boat has held up well -- still looks almost new -- even after much use (course, I always rinse mine off, use 303 Protectant, marine wax it occasionally and store under cover).

The seat and cockpit, I still find comfortable. My aging back, from a lifetime of running, biking, kayaking, building, climbing and skiing -- NOT "improper paddle form" -- still requires a pad wedged in behind me -- but no big deal. It's actually pretty roomy but still allows key contact point for my knees to lean into edge turns. At 5' 9 and 1/2" and 210 lbs, I can even pull my knees up out of the cockpit to relieve that ol sciatic nerve. Actually, many boats have much tighter fitting cockpits. My paddling buddies and I recently did a 22 mile day trip down the Cape Fear River, and I only needed one rest stop to get out and stretch along the way.

BTW, as any experienced river kayaker will tell you, it's VERY difficult to have both: meaning if you want to roll your boat, you NEED a low seat back; but low seat backs are just not real comfortable for aging backs; especially for people who still like to spend all day in their boat on long camping trips.

Overall, I still find this boat very pleasing in all kinds of conditions. The 23" beam and 15'8" length is NOT MEANT to be the fastest boat on the water. But it has all kinds of initial and secondary stability, is quick enough and you can put a relative newcomer in it without worry. Plus, you can still do weekend camping trips in almost any kind of weather and not worry too much about stability (and getting home) if rough weather sets in -- as it will on the ocean -- sooner or later!

I would not hesitate to buy another and rate it among the very best kayaks I've ever owned (which has been a lot of boats I'm afraid); as I rarely hold onto them for more than two years -- just so I can try the next one!

I bought my Excursion after the demise of my Stellar 18R in…

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I bought my Excursion after the demise of my Stellar 18R in a freak garage door accident. I like fast boats and this short kayak with an even shorter waterline than the length of the boat suggest translates to a rather boring paddling experience. Worse, I purchased the LT layup but lifting my yak still feels quite heavy for a short boat. One more thing that needs to be addressed is that these kayaks do tend to weather cock somewhat even though they are advertised as not doing so.

All this negative being said, my kayak arrived packed well, is built quite well, has marvelous primary and secondary stability in virtually all conditions and the seat is fantastic. Those that complain about needing a better seat back or padding just need to do more paddling with proper form. The seat is great for hip rotation and there is plenty of back support unless you are improperly leaning back while paddling. This seat reminds me of my surf ski seating.

Another really cool thing the boat does is plow through really big waves with little protest and the odd obtrusive railing that runs around the junction of the deck and the hull really does work in keeping water off the deck. The boat carves ok but nothing tight like a Walrus Griffin does.

NC Kayak states that the boat is good for people up to 6'2" which is about right. I am 5'11" and really have to bend my knees to get in and out. Even though it is not a speedster it is kind of fun to use as a cold water boat or want to paddle the shallows where a rudder/skeg would get fouled.

Had this kayak for 5 + years. (actually won it from…

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Had this kayak for 5 + years. (actually won it from Paddling.net.) The quality of materials and build is second to none. (I have the light-weight layup.) Everything the manufacturer says about tracking, stability, shedding water, etc is absolutely correct. HOWEVER, there is one area in which it needs improvement...the seat. Molded plastic without any padding and a low back makes for an uncomfortable ride when paddling for more than a couple of hours. I added a jell seat to it and that helps. The back is another matter all together. It should be an adjustable sling type. Why? When you get anything more than a few pounds in the back inside the hull the yak rides back down. As a consequence you need to lean forward in order to maintain a proper level for paddling. This in turn tires the back in a very short time.
Would I recommend this craft..YES. Just be aware of its one shortcoming.

I am a 60 year old female, 5'7",130 lbs. I kayak high…

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I am a 60 year old female, 5'7",130 lbs. I kayak high mountain lakes in the Sierra's and Cascade's. I have been paddling for more than 30 years and have owned more than 20 kayaks. Most of them have been great boats.( Current Designs, Tahe Marine, Valley ) But, this is the first time I've been so pleased I've had to write a review. I know this will sound like an echo of prior reviews here...but... here goes. Doug and Mark are wonderful to deal with. The boat arrived in perfect condition. The fit and finish is art. The weight, speed, stability, tracking and comfort are the best combo I've ever come across for what I use the boat for. I just ordered a second boat for my second home. I'm selling my Current Designs. No other boats for me ! ( Well, maybe one of NC Kayaks 17 footers would be nice ) Thanks guys !!

This review is by a very experienced paddler: over 30 years; having…

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This review is by a very experienced paddler: over 30 years; having paddled on various waters around the world. (I have owned and paddled well over 50 different fiberglass/kevlar and folding kayaks, including: Current Designs, P & H, Necky, Feathercraft, Klepper, Folbot, Nautiraid, Nigel Foster, Dagger, and Wilderness System ...among many others).
I am 5' 10"; about 210 lbs with very big legs and (regrettably) a somewhat aging back. This review is after paddling one time on my local fresh water lake in fairly windy conditions.

Recently purchased the lite version of the NC Excursion kayak, by Novus Composite Kayaks, made in Tacoma, WA. The Excursion has one large aft hatch. (However, you can get the same boat with an additional hatch in the bow.)

Ordered this kayak over the phone (after finding it online) at a fantastic sale price. This on a beautiful 39 lb, 15' 9" fiberglass kayak. Communicating with Doug at NC Kayaks was easy and the shipment itself was impressive. They also have a nice website, which is very useful.

Boat arrived in Raleigh, NC in just 6 work days. It was custom boxed and padded, arriving perfectly, without a scratch. Thought the shipping charge ($275) was also reasonable, considering it traveled all the way across the country (and in the middle of the winter). Have paddled it just once but here are my initial impressions:

This boat is fairly fast -- especially for its' length. It also has excellent initial stability. Have yet to test it too much on edge, as the water here is still close to freezing. However, I think it will edge just fine. The two things that really make this boat standout are the weight -- (yes that's right, just 39 lbs!) and its' tracking ability. Keep in mind this boat has no rudder and no skeg. I paddled it in 15-17 knot winds and incredibly, this boat would not weathercock -- at all. In fact, I later told Doug that I could never remember paddling a boat that tracked like this one -- even in pretty significant winds.

Apparently there has been at least one paddler review concerned about the strength of the fiberglass layup -- in the 39 lb version. However, unless you are looking to do big time expeditions and do lots of pretty hard surfing, I would not be concerned with this boat at all. I find the layup just fine and plenty rigid. It is strong enough for probably 99% of the paddlers out there. The seat seemed placed a little more forward than any other kayak I've ever paddled. That, combined with a relatively short (slightly) square stern, should make it very good, if you ever plan to paddle through any surf.

The seat is well designed and I felt no numbness in my legs-- even after my initial 4 hour paddle. It was designed with a pretty low back, which should help if you are interested in rolling. However, for me I would have given this up for a slightly higher back design and more support. Not a big issue though, as I use a pad, wedged behind my back and the seat, for the additional support I desire.

Fit and finish of this boat is very good. Just a couple of very tiny rough spots on the interior, but nothing I couldn't sand out in a few minutes. Quality of gel goat seems exceptional. These are truly some of the more beautiful boats I've ever seen. Hatch design appears fine -- has the typical knobs that rotate (to open and close); then you lift it straight out. It does have a pretty large hatch area; so for those interested in camping, if you pack carefully, you should be able to do a couple of nights w/o too many issues. Another nice feature of this kayak is the paddling position. I found the cockpit just the right size for me -- not to difficult to get in and out of, but also pretty ideal contacts points (with my knees and hips)once inside the boat. In terms of where the seat puts you relative to the water line and your paddle -- which I think is a critical component of any kayak -- I thought it was ideal. I used a 23 oz, 215 cm, two piece adjustable, all carbon Epic paddle - and I felt no extra effort required in my strokes.

One seemingly odd aspect of this kayak is what NC Kayaks calls its "performance flange". Think of this as a kind of rub rail that goes around your boat. It is a kind of hard plastic, and they claim it will never come off. This flange seems to create more lip than any other kayak I've seen, but it did appear to reduce water splash onto the deck (one of the reasons for the design, I believe). Just looks a little funny, but on the other hand is fine -- once you are used to it. My paddling buddies seemed to like it right away though.

I can add more information later, as we will see how the boat holds up over time. Right now, however, I feel pretty confident in saying that I doubt there is a better all round paddling, light weight composite kayak, on the market, at this price.

I was fortunate to find a NC15 used and in great condition…

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I was fortunate to find a NC15 used and in great condition about 6 months ago. This is my first kayak and I couldn't have found a better fit. I love the clean uncluttered lines and have found the seat to be very comfortable. Reading the reviews before I saw the kayak, I felt it would be a kayak I could grow into and suited to the type of paddling I wanted to do. I've taken it in Monterey Bay, estuaries, lakes, rivers and Puget Sound. It glides and turns well without a rudder as the manufacturer claimed it would. No weathercocking to speak of and the length makes it a very smooth ride. I'd buy a new one without hesitation.

I've had an NC 15 Excursion LT for about 6 months now…

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I've had an NC 15 Excursion LT for about 6 months now and am thoroughly satisfied with it. I paddle on Chesapeake Bay and tributary rivers and creeks and have had it out in open water with 15-20 knots of wind. It's easy to paddle and performs well with little weather cocking. I was looking for something in the 15'-16' range that weighed 40 lbs or less and came across this company and boat which seemed to meet my requirements for length, weight and style - and all at a very reasonable price.

I admit to having had reservations about the material (fiberglass) and the shape of the seat. I would urge anyone considering one of the NC line to spend some time on their website with the FAQ's. That handled a number of my concerns but I still had some reservations. So, after several attempts to reach them by e-mail, I ended up spending about an hour on the phone with Doug, who dealt patiently and thoroughly with all of my concerns. In spite of there being absolutely no pressure or sales pitch from Doug, by the time we were finished I felt completely comfortable placing the order. Doug assured me that the seat, which I thought looked hard and uncomfortable, had actually been carefully designed with input from an outside orthopedic professional and was quite comfortable. That turned out to be absolutely correct. I love the contour of it and the low back, which makes entry and exiting much easier than my previous boat. I have a gel pad for the seat but rarely use it on this boat.

I also like the performance flange, which, while a bit unsightly, does all of the things they say it does; plus it serves as a sort of fender to prevent scratches when along side a dock (and you do not want to scratch this boat!). The fit and finish of the boat are excellent, although I could have done with fewer company decals. There are no thigh pads, which I like for edge turns, but that was easily remedied with some foam pads and glue.

I've had an NC 15 Excursion for two weeks and have had…

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I've had an NC 15 Excursion for two weeks and have had it out twice, once on flat water with an 8-10 knot breeze and once on coastal waters with a 4-7 foot swell and 2-4 foot shorebreak. Must say I don't trust the LT lay-up-got a 2" crack in the gelcoat unloading from my rack. I was also surprised that the boat weathercocked in a relatively light breeaze (8-10knots). Although the boat is indeed slow to broach on a breaking wave, it is also slow to turn in the same situation. The front bulkhhead leaks, and there are no tethers on the hatch covers. In addition, NC Kayaks only warranties the hull/deck seam for one year- a pretty short warranty for a boat the they say should last many years. The boat arrives covered with decals, and, unless you want to advertise NC Kayaks, plan on spending a couple of hours removing them. So, although I like the light weight and agree that his boat is quick for it's size, I can only give it a five out of ten.

Have been using NC 15 Excursion for about two years and I…

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Have been using NC 15 Excursion for about two years and I am very pleased with it. Used on lakes, rivers, bays and it has been a great performer. Superior secondary stability.

Recently won a NC 15 through Paddling.net. WOW!! This is…

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Recently won a NC 15 through Paddling.net. WOW!! This is the smoothest and quickest kayak I have used. The stability is super and it just cuts through the water. Entered a fun competition last weekend. 30 boats. I easily placed first with time to spare. NC is the best!

NC 15 LT version - Very light, quick easy to paddle and…

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NC 15 LT version - Very light, quick easy to paddle and stabile, tracks very well. The best combination of reasonable cost, wt. (39 lbs.), comfort, good looks, and performance that I found in a year of looking. Lots of fun in the power boat traffic of the Lake River and the big water of the Columbia, touring and even fishing. I am 5'8" 150# and the kayak feels and handles like an extension of my body.

I have only had this boat for 3 weeks, but have had…

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I have only had this boat for 3 weeks, but have had it out a lot in the Chesapeake Bay in up to 18 knot measured wind and with no rudder or skeg, no problem. It comes up to speed in a few strokes, tracks well, turns very easily and surfs great. The fit and finish is excellent. I am 6'3"- 200 pounds and am real comfortable as are 5'4" 125 pounders. 15'8" 39 pounds makes the boat easy to load and carry. The boat gets compliments on looks all the time.