Nordkapp LoVe

Something unexpected happened last weekend: I fell in love! The object of my affection has it all – good looks, loads of personality, upstanding reputation, and I hope that our relationship will be long and rewarding. For those of you who haven’t connected the dots with the title of this post, I do not speak of a person (although Alan possesses all of the aforementioned qualities, of course), I speak of the thing of beauty that is the Valley Nordkapp LV sea kayak. I am smitten.

The Nordkapp LV (mine is red though)

The Nordkapp LV (mine is red though)

It had been on my short-list of kayaks to try out, based on my understanding of its qualities, especially in relation to a smaller paddler like myself. To be very honest, I was rather hotly anticipating the new Rockpool Isel, or the TideRace xPlore-S, but that was before I met the Nordy.

So, what convinced me so readily that this is a good match, you ask. Firstly, it is (to quote the oft-used expression of a well-known coach) a beautiful thing. Aesthetically pleasing doesn’t begin to describe its effect on the beholder. Curvaceous, sleek, nimble, svelte, graceful, polished, elegant are the words that spring to mind. Secondly, I believe that it fits me well. I felt like the princess and the pea, without the pea. Not a thing other than the foot rests needed adjusting (and they adjusted easily). There was no squidging of the foot (as happens in my Capella), for example. Next, it handled itself so wonderfully – a kayak that’s made to edge. I felt that I wasn’t doing battle to achieve a decent lean. And, I can handle it in the very practical sense of being able to grip its pointy ends to lift it, especially to empty it in a self-rescue scenario. I believe this to be quite a big deal for the smaller, lighter paddler. As is catalogued early on in this blog, I have not been able to completely satisfactorily lift my Capella out of the water in such circumstances. Indeed, I do find it cumbersome to heft in any circumstances.

And finally, this kayak felt like fun. I don’t want to go for a nice, “safe” option – a flat-bottomed barge for example, although there was a time when I would have done precisely that. It must be the company that I’ve been keeping, but now I want to go out and play. Most of all, I want to learn, and I believe that this is a kayak that will teach me a great deal.

The path of true love never runs smoothly and I did encounter a small impediment to my ardour, something that summoned up all the anxiety of an unrequited love. In trying out a self rescue, I had difficulty getting back into the kayak due largely to the narrowness of the stern which results in increased instability when weight is applied. Not to worry, that same well known coach went about showing me the correct approach to this, with success, and I now have something to work on. The exercise also highlighted the need for constant self-rescue practice. I confess to having neglected this a little of late, which is quite foolhardy actually.

So there is a happy ending. Actually, 2 happy endings. Not only do I have a shiny new Nordkapp LV on order, Alan has a shiny new Nordkapp (standard) on order as he was equally taken with it. Mine is fire engine red and his is white. Only a few weeks to wait until they arrive. Hmmm … instant gratification takes too long.

I know I could have spent longer searching for the perfect kayak, but I feel that I might only be going through the motions by doing so. Aside from the reasons mentioned above, there is a certain “je ne sais quoi” factor that I did not experience with the other kayaks that I have tried out. Some were unsuitable, some were “OK”, several seemed to be much of a muchness. But the Nordkapp LV was “the one” in much the same way that one recognises one’s future spouse across a crowded room. Come to think of it, I wasn’t wrong about that, and I hope I’m not wrong about this.

2 Comments

  1. Ignacio Wenley Palacios Iglesias says:

    Hello Pam,

    Congratulations on your choice! Your taste both in husband and kayak is certainly flawless.

    As for me, since I first tried the Nordkapp two years ago, I have not found a kayak that suits me so well. Wait until you both try them it in Cree conditions. It shoots forward and the dynamic stability is amazing.

  2. pamf says:

    Thank you, Wenley. This is most reassuring. Am counting down the days now! Full updates to follow, of course.

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