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Frequently Asked Questions about NC Kayaks

  • Which kayak is right for me?

    All NC kayaks can be used by paddlers of any ability. Someone who has never paddled before will feel very comfortable and stable, while an intermediate or expert paddler will find the kayaks can do whatever is asked of them.

    For most people, we recommend the NC17. It works great in lakes, open water, rough seas, and adverse conditions. It will generally fit someone between 5' 0" - 6' 2" weighing between 100-240 pounds. It can also take up to a 13½ US mens foot size. The NC15 can take someone of the same dimensions, but is designed more for lakes and coastline paddling. It is a bit more nimble than the NC17 while being a bit slower.

    The NC19 is designed to be faster than the NC17 and accommodate a larger paddler. It will generally fit someone between 5' 6" - 6' 8" weighing between 190-350 pounds. I can take up to a 15½ US mens foot size.

    All of these measurements are approximate, as size varies from person to person.

  • How do NC Kayaks do in rough water?

    Our boats are designed with additional volume above the waterline in the bow and stern. In rough water this provides additional buoyancy keeping the bow up. Combined with the upswept bow, and aided by the Performance Flange, make for an outstanding rough water kayak. The additional volume in the stern helps the kayak to surf.

  • How fast are the kayaks?

    In a word: fast. The NC15 has a hull speed of 5 knots, the NC17 has a hull speed of 6 knots, and the NC19 has a hull speed of 6.8 knots. A hull speed is more a calculation of sprinting speed, so it is unlikely that most will maintain that speed. However, normal paddling will display a noticeable difference between an NC kayak and others out there. Simply put, we make the fastest touring kayak out there.

  • Why a composite kayak?

    Composite kayaks weigh less, are stronger, and have more stiffness. A composite kayak will not warp like polyethylene will, has a longer service life, is easier to repair, and more efficient in the water due to the lighter weight, stiffer construction, and smoother surface finish. A lighter kayak handles better in rough water, is more maneuverable, is easier to carry , and much easier to lift onto your vehicle. A stiff boat is faster since any flex in your boat hull or seat back will rob you of energy that should be going into propelling your kayak.

  • What materials are used to manufacture an NC Kayak?

    We do not scrimp on materials. Thus, only high-quality materials are used in an NC Kayak. The gel coat we use is an NPG-ISO. It is a marine-grade gel coat that is UV resistant, more durable, and is the most water resistant gel coat. We use a vinyl-ester resin that offers more strength and, like our gel coat, and is the greatest water/osmosis resistant. The fiberglass cloth we use is first-quality, name-brand E-glass. Using a higher quality fiberglass helps reduce defects and blemishes and provides a better finish.

  • Do I need a rudder?

    On a sea kayak a rudder is used for going straight, not for turning. NC Kayaks have exceptional tracking, and good maneuverability. You do not need a rudder to keep it on course. Our boats are designed so that both the bow and stern aid in tracking. The kayak wants to go straight. We are convinced our product does not need a rudder, but we do offer a rudder installation to those who insist.

  • Do you offer carbon/Kevlar?

    Yes, we offer a carbon/Kevlar blend at the upgrade of $899 over the LT price. However, we don't recommend that you choose this option. We believe carbon and Kevlar are not the best materials for kayak construction. Carbon is generally recommended because it is very stiff, and stiffness translates into speed. Yet, carbon is brittle and does not handle impacts very well.

    Kevlar can take impacts, but it does not have a long life-expectancy. The sun's ultraviolet rays weaken Kevlar. Also, Kevlar does not form an adequate molecular bond with resin. The resin merely encompasses Kevlar. Because of this, a kayak made from Kevlar tends to absorb water and gain weight over time. Plus, impacts that would damage fiberglass still damage the gel coat and resin on a Kevlar kayak and require repair.

    A carbon/Kevlar blend compensates slightly for their respective weaknesses, but does not solve them. Our LT fiberglass kayaks are within a pound of our carbon/Kevlar kayaks. You get more bang for your buck with a considerably longer lifespan.

  • What is the difference between LT and standard layups?

    The LT and Standard are both fiberglass lay-ups. In the LT we use more plies of a very fine woven lightweight aircraft grade fiberglass cloth than with the standard lay-up. A core mat is used in the cockpit area. The result is a much higher fiber to resin ratio and a stronger laminate than with a standard lay-up. In a composite kayak the majority of the strength is derived from the fiber not the resin, and once you exceed resin content of approximately 40% by weight you don't get more strength, just more mass. The resin we use, vinyl ester, weighs 8½ lbs. per gallon. Basically, our approach has been to use less resin and more fiber. The standard lay-up using 18 oz. woven roving is the material from which the majority of fiberglass kayaks are made.

  • What is a Performance Flange?

    The Performance Flange is a ½ inch flange around the entire perimeter of the kayak where the deck and hull join. The flange serves numerous purposes. In rough water it performs as a spray rail pushing the bow of the boat up and deflecting the water down, thus reducing deck wash for a much drier ride. It helps to prevent loss of speed and momentum with each wave. The flange adds strength and stiffness to the kayak. It also allows us to bond the deck and hull together, taking what has traditionally been one of the weakest points on a kayak and making it one of the strongest.

  • What are the seats in an NC Kayak like?

    All models feature the same seat design. The seat is ergonomically designed to give you good lower back support. The back height is lower than the cockpit combing to facilitate rolling or wet entry.

    The front of the seat has a slight rise to put the paddler in to a natural paddling position, with a slight bend of the knee. This provides solid contact with the boat and promotes good blood circulation. This of course helps to prevent cramping and stiffness.

    The entire seat is also raised off the bottom of the boat approximately ¾" at it's lowest point so that your torso is elevated over you feet, again promoting good blood circulation. Also, if you happen to get water in the cockpit you do not sit in it.

  • What colors are most visible on the water?

    The three most visible colors on the water are Yellow, Orange, and Lime. The darker colors are less visible, but no color blends with the water. The above three colors simply stand out more vividly than the other colors.

    If you've got your heart set on that Dark Blue kayak and are worried about visibility, remember that paddle blades are far more visible from a distance. Buy bright paddles or paint the tips a bright color and that will allow you to have a dark colored kayak and still be visible.

  • What is proper maintenance for my kayak?

    Treat the finish as you would your car's. That is, wax it on occasion and wash it as it gets dirty. Also, it is best to rinse out the foot-brace tracks on a regular basis, depending on need. If you typically launch from a sandy beach or regularly paddle in saltwater, rinse the tracks every time. Otherwise, every few times will work find. Also, store your kayak with the hatches loose, or remove them entirely, to let air out and keep your seals inflated.

  • What is the lifespan of an NC kayak?

    We construct our kayaks to be as durable as possible. These are too big an investment to only last a couple years. They are designed and constructed so that they will last a lifetime if properly cared for and maintained.

  • What accessories do I need?

    All you need is a paddle and a personal floatation device (PFD). We also highly recommend a cockpit cover to keep water out during transport or storage. Other items you might consider include a top-carrying car rack, siphon pump, spray skirt, wet/dry suit, compass, GPS, and water socks.

  • Can you ship a kayak to me?

    We can ship a kayak to nearly anywhere in the world. Shipping is done via land freight and typically arrives within one week if in the continental US. We use sturdy packaging materials to protect the kayak during its voyage. Shipping costs are very reasonable especially considering the size of the kayaks. Please contact us for a quote.

  • How do I order and how long will it take?

    To order, simply give us a call! Visit our contact page to get in touch with us. Let us know which model, colors, and features you would like and we'll get right to work. All we need is a $500 deposit to get started. A kayak typically requires two to three weeks for construction.