Sunday, November 29, 2009

River paddling - Valley Nordkapp LV

Early this morning I went to Culemborg to join the local hard core winter-paddlers on their weekly training paddle on the river de Lek. On the Lek I met Ad, Anneke and Peter. Culemborg is located in the middle of one of the most beautiful stretches of the traditional Dutch river-landscape. How fascinating it is to experience this landscape from the riverwater-level is a well kept secret amongst the paddlers of Culemborg.

Ad invited me to paddle in his Valley Nordkapp-LV kayak. The Nordkapp-LV is totally different from the classic Nordkapps types HS and HM I paddled before. First impression: I liked the confidence giving, responsive and comfortable kayak. The ocean-cockpit with thigh braces integrates a kayaker of my size (1.82 m, 73 kg) perfect in the kayak. It offers good control with the knees spread under the tigh braces, and is also pleasant to paddle with the knees held together. It's easy to paddle the kayak on an edge, it reacts lively on edging and I found it very manoeuvrable, but also paddling good on the straight line. Rolling the Nordkapp LV is fun (though the water of the river Lek is getting cold: 9 degrees Celsius) with good control and quick respons. I can't say anything serious about the speed of the kayak, GPS indicated a cruising speed up to 12 kmh, but that's downstream on a floating river. I had to work to keep up with the rest of the group (paddling in North Shore Mariner) but that probably says more about my condition or the decent pace the guys of Culemborg are used to paddle!
What I didn't like about the kayak was the location of the cockpit-rim on the backside of the kayak. Despite the relative low back-deck of the kayak, the cockpit-rim hinders comfortable laying backwards on the deck. I suppose it's too close located to the position of the seat. The cockpit-rim didn't hinder backwards rolling because I compensated the freedom of movement by lifting my bottom form the seat, but it would be more comfortable when the cockpit rim would have been lower or a bit further away.
I did paddle the Nordkapp-LV only this morning on the river, but it made a convincing first impression. It's no replacement for my broken Anas Acuta, but it would be a very versatile alternative for the Pintail? ;-)
Keep on dreaming - I am still in the mourning process of my good old kayak...

Ad inspecting the riverbed (kayak = North Shore Mariner).

Paddled distance: 14.8 km.


Tony said...

I tried a friends LV also but didn't notice a big difference with my HS. Maybe I'm just not that observant.

7 degrees C is good, here the sea temp is down to 3. A neoprene skull cap is a good idea.

Tony :-)

Hans Heupink said...

Hi Tony!
Well I do agree that differences between most popular middle-range British-style seakayaks are subtle (paddeld in mild conditions). But I find the difference between the Nordkapp LV and the older (pre Jubilee) HS and HM versions very noticalbe - not to say they are complete different kayaks!

Sea temp here is now around 10 degrees C it goes down to 6-7 in extreme situations like last year to 3-4 degrees (shortly) in the end of January, begin February. Thanks to the Gulf Stream that creates the mild climate in the Netherlands...