I got to have a brief paddle over the weekend in our newest arrival, the North Shore Atlantic. Touted as a more user-friendly rudderless kayak, suitable for a broader skill level than some of the more advanced boats, I found the reality to be little more impressive. On first appearance the Atlantic has the sporty look of the famous NDK Romany, although a full foot longer, for a higher top touring speed. Out in some 1-2m wind waves off Bare Island on Botany Bay, the boat performs every bit as I have always expected something like the Romany to perform, having seen Romany's & Avocet's (which I can't bloody well fit into...) on the tide race videos carving it up. Once planing on a wave, the Atlantic takes off, bouncing along the face beautifully, but with the very reassuring feeling of a buoyant soft secondary chine. I couldn’t imagine a better kayak for someone who maybe already has a long waterline expedition boat, but who is starting to get bored/jealous watching their mates play around in higher performance boats, and is starting to think about a better boat for the fun stuff. For a beginner, it has a similar bouncy secondary stability to the Impex boats, but in the hands of a paddler seeking out moving water it is a fun machine up there with the best of them. The extra waterline length gives the paddler a good burst of speed not always available with designated play kayaks, and the build & construction are top-notch, being Valley manufactured with the North Shore brand. They are also very light, laid up with the brand new Aeronautical Vacuum infusion technology, and the new moulds produce a clean, mirror-like impressive finish.
We have just two of these boats left, after the first 2 went within a week of them landing, so be quick if you want to organise a test paddle.
(all photo's Rob Mercer & Sharon Betteridge).