Choosing your New Kayak

Make no mistake, the NDK range of kayaks and the service you will get from Southern Sea Kayaks means that your new kayak will be customised to fit you personally, our free fit out service makes this range of kayaks the most adaptable on the market and I am confident that you won’t find this level of commitment anywhere else! from browsing your options to choosing your perfect paddle partner to art designs and custom fitting at SSK we are determined to have happy customers.

Size is everything!

Many paddlers are looking for a boat for everything,  such a thing doesn’t really exist, though some are a lot better than others both in design and in their multi functioning abilities.

The most important thing is to get a kayak which is the right size for YOU. The right size can be ambiguous, a touring boat will have within its paddler weight range an allowance of between 10 and 40 kg for equipment, a trip around the Isle of Wight will require you to carry 4-5 ltrs of water as a minimum, if you want to wash or its hot, substantially more!

So how do we make sure we have a boat that is the right size? Well a lot will come down to what you do as a paddler, if you tour for days on end carrying everything bar the kitchen sink you’ll probably need a larger volume kayak possibly a faster one too, the speed of the boat is significant not because you want to go from A to B in the shortest time possible (though you might) but because it will be easier on your body to paddle for extended periods even if you prefer to do it at a slower pace.

Then there are the playful boats, we all love to play in rock gardens and tidal overflows and a smaller day boat should be perfect for this, if it’s a potter around a Harbour or a circumnavigation of Portland Bill, the same boat should suffice, in this case the boats maximum weight should be near your weight and as long as you fit bingo! You should easily be able to find a boat that’s perfect for you.

This is all a lot harder when paddlers want a boat for everything, because then everything you do will be slightly compromised by your choice.

My own observation of paddlers in the UK is that many have touring boats that are too big for them and/or rarely go touring, and some have playful boats but rarely play in the rough stuff, I don’t try to sell everyone 2 boats (which is the ultimate option in some cases) but try to get them to be honest about what paddling they do the most. A playful 16 footer is great for playing and ok for a trip round the IOW, but if your on the water for a week or a month you may need an expedition style of boat.

All the above is a lot to consider especially given different manufacturers will often put maximum paddler weight and total weight without telling you which they have chosen.

At Southern Sea kayaks I will always spend time to review the type of paddling you do, what you would like to do, and what you want to do and it’s all very relevant to your next purchase, in addition I will fit your new kayak out so that it fits you specifically. When you leave you will have a boat that will take you further, faster, and above all more comfortably, and we won’t be in a hurry to kick you out the door because getting it right takes time, whether it’s distance, paddle skills, or just a feeling of having more control of your boat because your kayak fits & is the right size.

If I can help anyone that finds themselves in a situation trying to find a new kayak please don’t hesitate to contact me

Steve Jones 07770 811616

(Wise words from Nigel Dennis)

SEA KAYAKING UK (NDK) Designed by Nigel Dennis

The following range of kayaks is specifically designed for the Intermediate to Advanced paddler who wants a good all round performer that will be easy to control in wind, waves and current.


We have a large range of kayaks as I believe paddlers will perform far better if they have a kayak that they are in control of when the wind picks up. All kayaks are good kayaks until we hit F3 winds. This is when the wind starts to affect the kayak and paddler. If you have the wrong choice of kayak it will be harder to control as the wind increases. We also have a short and long kayak for the following size of paddler.

Glass Plastic
Little Echo
Small PilgrimPilgrim Expedition Sportive
Medium LattitudeRomany ClassicExplorer SportiveSport
Large Romany SurfExplorer HVExplorer Sport
Extra Large Romany Excel – Romany Excel Expedition

In addition we have the Echo for little people and the Latitude for Medium, lighter tall paddlers as an option so they also have the choice of a narrow kayak with a long keyhole.


You should only need to try one or two designs.


Most of our kayaks are designed for the Intermediate to Advanced paddler for use in tide, waves and wind.

Some are designed for speed and these will be harder to control as the wind and sea state increases.


Although the kayaks have been designed with rails so they can easily be edged they do have a softer curve between the hull and rail. This help in moving water and waves. A hard edge would be less friendly and make the kayak a little harder to control.


The Echo is a kayak designed for the small person or as a youth sea kayak. The hull has been refined but it is essentially a Pilgrim Expedition cut. If this feels tight you will need to try either of the following:

Pilgrim or Pilgrim Expedition

The Pilgrim is a small day / weekend kayak. The Pilgrim Expedition is a faster longer version that is actually a little more stable due to the length. The Pilgrim Expedition also has more volume for the expedition paddler.

The Echo, Pilgrim & Pilgrim Expedition all have the same smaller key hole cockpit and are fitted with the narrower high performance seat. The small keyhole is needed so charts etc can be reached easily.

Should paddlers need a longer keyhole cockpit, this will be because they have longer legs and will usually be heavier. If the long keyhole is needed, then paddlers should choose the Latitude. The reason for this is the taller, heavier paddler will cause the Pilgrim Expedition to squat (this means that the stern of a kayak sinks as you paddle forwards). This action happens even more as the paddler’s weight increases. The result being that the kayak gets slower the more it squats. It is for this reason that we simply extended the length of the kayak by adding 2” (50mm) in the rear of the kayak immediately behind the seat.

As the paddlers using the Latitude are taller, the standard bulkhead has been moved slightly forwards and the knee bumps extended for the longer legs.

The Latitude has a wider seat than the Echo, Pilgrim and Pilgrim Expedition fitted as standard.

The Echo, Pilgrim, Pilgrim Expedition and the Latitude are all the same width. The main difference between the kayaks is a slight straightening of the rocker line as the kayaks get longer. If we simply extended the kayak without changing the rocker line we would end up with a slower banana shaped kayak.

If you are in control of the kayak, you can edge and turn easily. As you edge you introduce more of the kayak rail and automatically change the wetted area of the kayak. This is why we also change the volume, hull profile and rocker lines when designing maneuverable kayaks. It’s NOT just rocker line.

The cockpit area of the Echo has also been taken ½” (14mm) further forward to stop the kayak being blown down wind with the smaller paddler. In addition, some volume has also been taken out of the bow as lighter paddlers need less volume so the kayaks sits better in the water. This will give you far more control.

All the above have knee bumps and the best way of customizing is to raise the seat so the knee bumps can be utilized. Seats can be raised by ½” (14mm) or 1” (25mm). There is no need to raise the seat higher than an 1” (25mm).


If the Pilgrim range feels tight then the next size up would be the Romany Classic as a day / weekend kayak and the Explorer as the faster more expedition kayak.

The Romany Classic is easy to roll and is probably the best all round performance kayak for the Medium sized paddler. This is a popular kayak for both men and women.

The Romany Classic and Explorer, these kayaks compliment each other in design.
The next size up, the Romany Surf and the Explorer HV also compliment each other. The Romany Surf will support a heavier paddler but as the Explorer HV has the same hull as the Explorer it mainly accommodates the taller paddler with longer legs.

The Explorer HV has been designed for anyone who prefers a more upright, knee high position or anyone over 6ft 2”. The deck of the Explorer HV is a ¼” higher in the cockpit area than the Explorer and has the addition of knee bumps.

It is impossible to design one sea kayak that suits everyone. The knee bumps on the Pilgrim range of kayaks also facilitate the paddler who prefers a higher knee position when paddling or the paddler with the longer legs. Don’t forget it is always an option to raise the seats if your not tall. This will allow you to connect with the kayak or pad out the knee bumps if you prefer a lower deck.

Romany Surf

This kayak is for the large framed paddler and anyone who paddles an Explorer HV will love paddling the Surf as more of a play boat but ideal for day / weekend paddling. It’s the same width as the Romany Classic but the rails are more boxy and the hull is flatter in the center of the kayak. This helps the kayak catch a wave quicker if required.

If the Surf feels tight or unstable then you need to try the Romany Excel. This is for extra large frames. It has Far more volume and one of the biggest cockpit rims that can be purchased in a glass kayak. A sporty large kayak for the powerful paddler.

Should the Excel not be long enough or have enough volume for expeditioning, then try the Romany Excel Expedition. This kayak will be ready for spring orders

The Romany Excel and the Romany Excel (Expedition) models complement each other in design. The design is a larger version of the Romany Surf.


We also have a range of hard chinned kayaks based on Inuit designs. These are all aimed at the Medium to Large Paddler. All are designed with a traditional Inuit stern taken from a specific area in Greenland. Locals in the area do not know why this form of stern was used. My theory is that the skin could be peeled back and the size of the upturned stern changed in size. This would change the weather cocking characteristics of the kayak.


Based on an Inuit design with a round cockpit and a chinned hull and deck. It is a fast kayak but a little harder to control in the wind and waves than the softer chinned kayaks.

Greenlander Pro

This is modeled on the Greenlander but has a keyhole cockpit and a slightly longer straighter keel line than the Greenlander

Greenlander Rolling

Again, this kayak has evolved from the Greenlander. The volume has been reduced and the cockpit redesigned. This enables the paddler to lie further out the side of the kayak. This is NOT a pure rolling kayak. It has been designed so it is also a fast day or expedition kayak.



This is the fastest kayak in our range and is based on a K1 racing hull. The hull is wider than a K1 to give the paddler some stability. The hull was designed by Alistair Wilson the original owner of Lendal Paddles. Alistair designed the Caydence hull and and worked with SKUK to develop a race trainer. Nigel Dennis then designed the deck so it became more suitable for sheltered waters and the open sea. This kayak is recommended for Sea States 2 & 3. Designed for the medium to large framed paddler


The Pulse has evolved from the Caydence. It has a shorter hull with double concaves that lead into a flat area on the hull. The kayak has been designed for sea state 3 to 4 conditions. The Pulse can be used as a day / weekend kayak.


This is a large fast expedition sea kayak suitable for the longer expedition. Designed for the medium to large paddler. A fast expedition kayak that also performs well down wind. A full foot bar footrest is fitted and the rudder lifts up slotting into the deck. As well as being a fast expedition kayak it is also a stable kayak in rough water.



The Triton is a fast maneuverable double. The kayak roles easily and can be rolled by one person provided the other paddler bends forwards and hugs the deck. Although this is a narrow double, it is surprisingly stable. It is also possible for the paddlers to paddle out of sync. Can be ordered with a skeg or a rudder.


These kayaks are based on the Romany Surf, but are slightly narrower and deeper. A good all-round kayak that is suitable for the beginner to advanced paddler. An ideal choice for rock hopping and surfing. Molded out of a high quality stiff linear single skin plastic. The plastic is tough and up to 5mm thick in places. The mold is heated and temperature controlled. This enables the kayak skin to be thicker in high wear areas. The kayaks come with a fiberglass seat and cockpit rim. Fitted with aluminum footrests, double 50mm foam bulkheads, day hatch, skeg and compass recess.


For the small to medium sized paddler


For the medium to large paddler