Valley Nordkapps

The Iconic Nordkapp

“The Nordkapp was simply a way to do bigger and better trips.” Frank Goodman

The Nordkapp exemplifies the British-style sea kayak. It has been paddled on many of history’s greatest sea-paddling expeditions: the trip Frank Goodman led around Cape Horn in 1977, and Paul Caffyn’s circumnavigations of New Zealand, Great Britain, Australia and Japan in the 1980’s. Stan Chladek believed it to be the only “real boat”: no moving parts, like rudders, to break. (Read about Stan's expeditions of the Aleutian IslandsShumagin Islands, and Easter Island.)

The first Nordkapp, the HS or “Hull Standard”, was designed by Frank Goodman in 1975. In mid-1980’s to early 90’s, Nordkapps were considered the baseline expedition boat. Prior to that, the development of paddling and paddlesports had been limited because sea kayaks were so tippy. Many people really liked the HM because it tracked so well. The boats were made from Diolene, an early European Kevlar pioneered by Goodman, making them brutally strong and tough.

Nordkapp Sterns

Left to right: Nordkapp HM, HSC, and Jubilee sterns. Note the prominent keel on the HM, which allowed for superior tracking.

Nigel Dennis paddled a Nordkapp on his 1980 expedition around Great Britain. Following the trip, Nigel worked with Goodman’s designs.

Modifications were made along the way, such as larger hatches, the addition of a day hatch, and larger and keyhole-shaped cockpit openings. In an interview with Canoe & Kayak Magazine, Goodman said, “We tweaked this and that, but to be honest, I could never tell the difference. It’s just amazing that 35 years later it’s still selling, and that’s perhaps the greatest compliment.” Read more in the article: Sea Kayak Savant Frank Goodman.

Nordkapp Sea Kayaks

Valley Nordkapps, right to left:

  • HM (Hull Modified) 1990. Bulkhead 12-14” behind cockpit instead of a day hatch.
  • 3-pc HSC (Slalom Cockpit) 1994. Double-bulkheaded, bulkheads about 1/4” thick, sections attached by 4-bolts. Valley had advanced to add oval hatches and a day hatch.
  • Jubilee 2004. Two oval hatched plus day hatch.
Deck mounted pump on the Nordkapp HM

The deck-mounted bilge pump on the Nordkapp HM made open-water rescues of fully laden boats possible.

Knee Tube on the Nordkapp HSC

Knee tube on the Nordkapp HSC (Slalom Cockpit). Note that MIKCo customized this boat to remove excess tubing in the cockpit.

Nordkapp Jubilee

The Jubilee was Frank Goodman’s modern intent to recreate the original dimensions and performance of initial HS.

Posted in Boats and Gear, History.