NDK Explorer

Why NDKs Work for Me

Nigel Dennis Kayak cockpit

So much foam seat replacement frustration...so easy to remedy. Before I suggest a fix, let me offer a bit of perspective based on having helped put thousands of bodies in our MIKCo sea kayak fleet (that for years totaled 200 boats), predominantly British Greenland style, since 1986.

Personally, I want a boat that disappears when I'm paddling on the water, that makes me smile, and feel confident and solid when I'm challenged. When I hear complaints about minor outfitting items, I am reminded of my own personal order of importance for key sea kayak design and manufacture variables:

  1. Bulkhead integrity. We don’t usually swim ashore for rescues on the sea. NDK’s bulkheads are composite, fiberglassed in place, and MIKCo has never had a failed NDK bulkhead, even when we’ve snapped boats in two - compare to rescuing a canoe or big box coffin style boat.
  2. Solid high secondary stability. Functional modern designs give us such confidence in lumpy and boiling waters, and the reason so many others have designed similar ‘shaped ski’ kayaks as NDK created with the original Romany and Explorer.
  3. Cockpit fit. The best keyhole in our biz with low rim heights, easy surfaces to receive custom foam, fitting a range of paddler sizes, and the way more square inches of equal pressure thigh and hip contact to enhance confidence in bumpy water.
  4. Expedition grade durability. As the person who buys our fleet, and oversees repairs and maintenance, our NDKs just last.. and last. Repairs and rebuilds of standard layups are way simple and easy. I still see 20-year-old NDKs in service.
  5. Outfitting. It’s great that we can easily change from composite to foam seats, change out our back support, install under-deck fasteners, rebuild the skegs.

So our friend with foam seat replacement frustration? A quick fierce scrape with a proper tool, then a grinder to remove the dregs, clean up, a few layers of the simplest adhesive or epoxy for the purpose. (I recommend just full coverage contact cement for foam seats.) MIKCo uses a variety of backrests and backbands depending on a paddler's need for contact and support. Though I find NDK’s foam and composite seats neutral, they’re not for everyone's shape; but Nigel’s simple inside cockpit surfaces make it easy to substitute many alternative seats. The solid build makes securing the outfitting relatively straightforward, so change it up…

And remember what’s important, fits your needs, and keeps you on the water.

Tom Bergh, Maine Island Kayak Co

Kayak foam fitting
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