Chicken & Egg

My neighbor… wants what he sees
My neighbor!! My neighbor!!
My neighbor… thinks he wants to be me
But he’ll never be – gnarls barkley

When I recently wrote a quick overview of SeakayakingUK’s Romany, someone (who shall remain nameless to protect the innocent) shared with me the thought that the Romany was at least in part based the Shore Line kayak produced by another UK company called North Shore.  North Shore was founded in 1982. According to informants, the Shore Line (Now the Atlantic LV) was in production pre-Romany.  At a glance you can certainly see similarities, especially in the shape of the bow and tail.   I did email North Shore Sea Kayaks for their thoughts but did not get a response. Well, according to a recent article in Canoe & Kayak magazine, North Shore has been acquired by Valley Sea Kayaks and will soon be coming to a shop near you.   Then we’ll all have a chance to compare.

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9 Responses

  1. I think they had this argument back then, the Shoreline did come out first. It’s a fantastic little boat, even better with the new deck lay-out. At the moment I’m saving like mad for an Atlantic. Their better built than NDK and over here quite a bit cheeper.

  2. Michael

    North Shore was purchased by Valley quite some time ago and their boats have been available stateside since 2008. The shop I used to work at has been carrying them since the get go, they are a different fit than your Avocet or Romany and as such do cater to a certain clientele, though shop staff need to be very knowledgeable about fit issues to be able to recommend one as the North Shore brand awareness is basically nil.

    Great boats though!

  3. derrick

    That’s for verifying that Michael. I read on a message board that they had shipped them over since 2008.. but I couldn’t find a solid verification. As you say, no brand awareness at all here. I’m sort of surprised in that I know some dealers who’d get twitchy at the thought of a Romany-like boat without the (fairly or unfairly) perceived QC problems of SKUK.

  4. Michael

    Indeed. There are quite a few differences in handling between this boat and the Romany as well. I think at the end of the day all kayaks are just variations on a previous theme, so to say this or that boat came first is a bit disingenious by the manufacturers.

    Hell everything manufacturers are putting out was inspired by 5000 year old design anyhow. When was the last time any hull design for a new kayak model could technically be considered ground breaking in any way?

    All that being said, I like both of those boats (all 3 if you include the Avocet in the discussion) but do have a personal favourite…warts and all 😉

  5. derrick

    Right! It would be fun to try one out and just see what it’s like. At the moment it’s sort of an enigma. :) But you’re right, everything out there is just a variation on a theme.

  6. Mike H

    I agree that almost every modern sea kayak that most people paddle is just a variation on a 5000-year-old theme with the possible exception of the Warren Light Craft line. Ted Warren basically ‘started with a clean sheet of paper’ when he desiged his Little Wing.

    How does the Little Wing design work? Pretty well, in my opinion. I enjoyed the handing of the several Brit boats that I rented (a Capella 161 and an Avocet)and several others that I test paddled at two recent sea kayak symposiums, but I was glad to get back into my Little Wing. About the only complaint I have about my 12.5-ft-long Little Wing is that is difficult to keep up with longer boats. However, Little Wings are available in lengths up to 18 feet.

    1. Hi Mike,

      I posted a picture of a WLC sometime back. There is one guy here in the Midwest that has a smaller one that I’ve spoken with a couple times. YOU?? :) I’d love the chance to review one for the site. If you have any pull.. 😉

  7. Mike H

    Yes, I am the guy with the Little Wing (LW)guy that you have seen at several sea kayak symposiums. I would love to get someone with more experience to paddle my Little Wing – or another LW – and compare its handling to conventional kayaks. Unfortunately, most people would not fit into 12.5, especially the way I have it outfitted. I have serveral times offered to let Alec B-P paddle my boat at symposiums, but we always seem not to connect at the right time to get this accomplished.

    I have talked with Zac Warren about loaning me a LW 15.5 demo boat to take to symposiums in the Midwest, but they are so far behind on orders (in takes than about 6-8 months from boat order to delivery)that they have no demo 15.5s at their own shop. I had a brief discussion with Danny Mongo at the DCSKS; he said he had paddled a Little Wing at the Warren’s shop and liked it. Danny may have paddled the LW only briefly in mild conditions since he did not get into handling specifics. One reason that I have been going to sea kayak symposiums is to get a chance to paddle traditional Brit boats and compare them to my Little Wing (also to take classes and learn traditional kayaking skills). All I can say at this point is that the handling of my LW in wind and waves is different than, for example, a Capella 161, and I that like the handling of both types of boats. From my limited experience, it seems to me that the LW handles somewhat like a Necky Chatham 16.