Standard Features for NDK sea kayaks

The standard kayaks are made of fibre glass and are constructed from chop strand matt, woven cloth and polyester resin. A quality control mat is used, not a chop strand gun to laminate the hull.

Due to the shapes in the deck providing extra stiffness, the deck is a slightly lighter lay up than the hull. The standard lay up has been designed for all levels of kayaking and is ideal for the kayaker who really wants a durable kayak and is not too fussy about weight. The kayak will also come with an internal reinforced keel, and internal and external glass seams.

The approximate weight of an Explorer made of fibre glass is 25-26 kilo including hatch covers etc.

The deck

The standard range is built to withstand abuse and hard expeditioning. The deck is manufactured from a woven mat and a chop strand mat with the strands of glass pressed into an even layer with strands running in every direction. This gives exceptional stiffness and minimises the problems of delimitation when damaged. Chop strand can only be used when hand laying the glass as if you were to inject the resin, then strands of the chop strand would flow with the resin and cause inconsistencies with the lay up. All recessed deck fittings are glassed in and backed with glass patches. The deck is reinforced just in front of the cockpit to make sure that rescues of fully laden kayaks can be undertaken without causing any damage.

Gel coat

Pigmented gel coat is hand laid, giving it the thickness it needs in order to withstand heavy scratches without breaking through to the glass cloth. Provided the gel coat flexibility is matched to the lay up, you will not get problems from star cracking. Excessive UV can affect the gel coat after a period of around three years, but if kayaks are stored away from the UV when not in use, star cracks will only start to appear after a much longer period of time (up to ten years).


The standard kayaks are available in yellow, orange, red, blue, quill, white and bright green.

The hull

Our gel coat is thick along the keel line as the kayaks are designed to be run up rocky or stony beaches. We do not recommend keel strips on new kayaks unless they are to be abused on longer expeditions or dragged over ice. It is better to use the kayaks, and once the gel coat starts to wear, showing the glass strands, apply a new keel strip. If you expose glass fibres, the kayak will start to take on water and the weight of the kayak will increase.

Woven mats and chop strand mat are used in the hull, and a length of diolen tape is also run along the keel line of the kayak. This reinforces the keel and adds to stiffness in the cockpit area. All seams are glassed with tape on the inside and one on the outside. Star cracks usually only appear when the kayak has received a blow, impact or been stressed.

If you want a lighter kayak you can customise any of the NDK range of kayaks (except the Triton) with an Elite lay up, or alternatively carbon-kevlar or a 50/50 layup of a carbon-kevlar deck over a glass hull – please see custom features for more information. However, the standard lay up is the only one we would recommend for heavy expedition use.

NDK sea kayaks are designed for easy maintenance and repair. Any damage remains localised, and simple repairs can be carried out without the problem of delamination. As Nigel says “We might not use the sexiest lay up in our standard kayaks, but it is as bomb proof as a kayak can get!”


Standard kayaks have the choice of a High performance glass seat or a foam seat. The high performance seat (standard since March 2009) is slightly tilted forwards for a more positive and dynamic paddling position. It has been designed to improve the paddler’s posture and in turn will help the paddler achieve a more efficient forward stroke.

Hip pads are provided and full foam pads are placed under the seat. These stick to the hull, come in different heights and will stop stones getting trapped between the seat and the hull.

The rear of the seat comes higher up supporting the paddler’s lower back. The raised area also prevents the bottom being pinched between the back of the seat and the back rest.

The seat comes with a built in lower back support, but can also be supplied with an optional extra backrest. This allows both lower back support and a narrow back band so support can be given even if the paddler is leaning forward.

seat widths

The High Performance glass seat comes in two widths. The wider seat will always be fitted unless a narrow seat or foam seat is specified. The narrower seat is suitable for the small or slimmer paddler (Women: UK size 8-10; US size 6-8; European size 36-38. Men: UK size approx 30″ waist; US and Europe: size small).

The standard setting for the High performance glass seat is set in the middle position and can be set 12 mm (½″) forward or backward by the paddler depending on their needs. If pre-ordered, the seat can be fitted higher if required, at least 25 mm (1″). The seat can also be set higher by  the paddler with a bit of drilling and by purchasing some extra pads. The High performance glass seat is also available as a retro fit kit. This comes complete with all the fittings and instructions to fit into any of our boats.

The foam seat is ½ a cm lower than the glass seat making it more stable. It is also simpler and less likely to damage. It can be raised and tipped forward or back using padding placed under the seat.

The smaller, lighter kayaker will most often need the seat to be moved forward to stop the bow from being blown down wind.

Back rests

The back rest is fully adjustable. The adjustment buckle is situated in the centre of the back rest. The seats offer support to the lower back and at the same time allows the higher, narrower back rest to be adjusted so the paddler’s back can be supported when leaning forwards.


Fibre glass boats come with aluminium Yakimma footrests as standard and plastic boats come with a plastic Kayak Sport footrest as standard.


The wire skeg is standard in NDK sea kayaks as most people find it has the most suitable mix of ease of use and maintenance. The skeg blade is a simple blade that pivots at one end. All standard kayaks have a moulded fibre glass skeg box.

The wire slider control box is fitted in the seam, not in the way and easy to use.

We also offer an option of a skeg-rudder system  (please see Skegs in Custom features).

When considering your chose of skeg/rudder it’s important to remember that if you damage the skeg or rudder whilst out on a paddle the simpler the system is then the easier it is to repair, this is a big consideration if you planning on doing a lot of expedition paddling.


The standard sea kayaks come with round hatches, these are totally watertight if secured properly. There is an option of a oval hatch in the rear, this makes packing your for an expedition slightly easier. Available as a custom feature if required.

Compass recess

The SILVA 70P compass fits in the recess, but the compass itself has to be ordered separately. We can fit this for you for an additional charge.

Deck fittings

All deck fittings are recessed so they will not catch on equipment or damage other kayaks during rescues. You can add extra deck fitting if your ordering a custom built sea kayak