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After knowing the constant worry that comes with paddling and transporting a large glass boat, you just can't beat (literally) a plastic boat. I got into plastic SOT's with an 14' Ocean Kayak Scupper. The Scupper did a good job at keeping up with other touring boats but it is so heavy (a 2 person job to lift and carry) and I also thought it would be nice to have something that I could just pop in the back of my truck.
So along came an add for a 10'ish Nomad with a "wheel in the keel". What the hey is that I wondered? So I checked it out and was convinced on the spot. Along with the molded-in bow and side handles, the wheel makes this the most easily transported kayak ever! Seriously, someone who has been kayaking for a long time must have designed this boat. My fellow kayakers always gawk at me when they see how easily I can lift her out of the back of my truck by MYSELF, grab the handle and roll her where ever I need to go again by MYSELF. No messing around with a wheel cart or other such nonsense, this boat is ready to go anywhere anytime, land or sea. Total independence if your aim is to paddle solo.
Granted, if I'm going the distance I want my Seda, but I've done some 6+ mile paddles in my Nomad no sweat. If you are a decent paddler, you can even keep up with the sleek boats. I don't find tracking to be a problem either--it's what you would expect of a kayak this size. On the contrary, this boat is so easy to maneuver in the mangrove mazes of the Everglades.
Some other features of note, instead of having pad-eyes bolted to the hull, there are sturdy brass bars inlayed into the mold that the seat and other things attach to. I've had pad-eyes rip out before, but this design is rock-solid. Also, there is a watertight hatch right between your legs in the cockpit...easy access to you camera, lunch and such. Ingenious again. The open hatch in the back is perfect for a drybag or cooler. And the deluxe seat that it came with is the best I have ever seen in a SOT.
This kayak is so stable that I routinely stand up and paddle like it's a paddleboard. I guess the only downside is that like all other SOT's, the scupper drains often let the water in too, leaving you sitting in a puddle much of the time. But I bought some Ocean Kayak brand medium size scupper plugs and solved that problem. This kayak is the perfect fit to my needs when it comes to day-trips, local transports, and introducing friends to kayaking. Now I just have it and my Seda...quite a combo.
Starting with the positives, the Nomad is super fast and fun. Tracking would of course be improved with the skeg, but with a boat of this size, it turns easily and quick. Paddle response is super fast and this might cause frustration to those who want to relax. The Boat is light and carries my weight well (260lbs), but admittedly a bit small for my stature 6'1 large build. All in all I will enjoy this boat on the inland rivers and flat water I cruise.
Negatives are serious, but require some knowledge and adaptation. The dry wells, aren't dry. This is where the water is coming in, not the molded grommets on the side of the boat. I too had water in on the first outing and took it home and filled the boat with water and watched for where it spills out. Read hatch was the culprit and one of the fasteners for the cargo straps. I silicone Gooped the strap fastener and the rear and front hatch. I believe the problem is that the frame for the hatch was poorly sealed. After removing it, the factory silicone was not properly and insufficiently applied. I corrected this and screwed it all back together. If this is not the fix, I will simply seal the hatch entirely, but it would be nice to be able to use it. Getting in the boat in water is tricky and took me about three tries, but the boat had taken on some water and made it even more squirrelly, stay low and slide.
I had hoped this would be my 2 day tripping boat, but it clearly will not be. I will take the Tri-Yak solo and have plenty of room for luxury gear that I would otherwise do with out.
In hindsight, I would pass on this boat for the trouble I have had to fix myself, but after the fix, it really is a nice designed hull and so very easy to load on top of rack and generally portable. I am still looking for my "right" boat, any suggestions would be appreciated. It is hard to find the boat to accommodate my size and over all function. I may have to settle for a 12 foot canoe in the end, or a small and skinny Jon Boat/pontoon to paddle.
The tracking was somewhat zigzaggy but corrects with paddling and will improve with the skeg. I've always been a glutton for punishment going 10 miles in a rec boat but usually leave the 12-14 footers behind squeemishly hugging the shorelines (why do they do that?).
I'm very satisfied with this kayak and recommend it for ocean, surf, or flatwater uses.
All in all I am impressed with the abilities and quality of this kayak and I recommend it. I'll probably purchase the skeg for better flatwater tracking.
That said - I LOVE IT! My wife and I are on the water almost every morning for a pre-work paddle. I could lift it on to the roof of my car on my own (with a grunt or two), but with my wife helping it's a quick and easy lift.
As for surfing, I am new so have been dunked a few times, but the other few times I've managed to catch a swell, it's been fabulous.
Easy to paddle, comfortable to sit in and loads of storage space! Plus here in South Africa it is very well priced compared to other kayaks.
To test it out I took her out in some big wind and pretty good sized swells. I felt like I was paddling a 16 foot boat. Even with the swells, I could quarter all day long.
Another nice feature is that I can now stop paddling, and the boat will keep going straight until it runs out of energy. No more 90 degree turns. This has really made this boat shine for my uses.
As far as the water drain, it was pointed out that we are only talking about a small amount of water that will not drain out. This is true, and a sponge makes quick work of that water. The funny thing is that the boat does not leak at all; I think I simply failed to tighten one of the hatches.
This is a pretty nice little boat. I feel very comfortable letting just about anyone go out in it. It's a very good recreational SOT, and the price is great.
I'm 6'4" and 220 lbs, and my butt sits in a puddle of water all day long. My feet sit in about 2 inches of water if I keep my feet in the footwell that is a bit too short for my long legs. Using the footwells means my paddle hits my knees. No worries, I have adjusted, and sometimes just put my feet on the bow deck. The day hatches seem to be updated on mine compared to some older Nomads I have seen, but mine tend to leak a bit. Worse off is that the drain is not in a position to get out the last bit of water from inside the hull.
While turns are a breeze in this boat, it takes a bit of practice to keep this one straight. It will teach you to control your strokes. On the plus, this poor tracking pays off in the surf zone. This is a fun little boat for mild waves. I currently use the boat in the ocean and on occasion a wave will completely fill the seat, footwells and tank. Even so, this boat is still rather stable, and a few strokes of the paddle will have most of that water drained out of the 6 drain holes. I have had the Nomad out in some pretty big swells and cross winds. While on the top of a swell, the boat likes to spin around, but is quick to turn back onto course with some quick paddle action. Steep swells will keep you wet though as the built in handle seems to provide a nice splashing. But this is not what this boat is really intended for is it? I'm already looking for another boat, but plan to keep the little Nomad in the collection. It is very friendly boat, and do not think twice about letting the kids take it out. A good recreational boat if you are looking for something small, plays in the surf, stable. Also a great first boat. After paddling for 2-3 miles I'm pretty much wiped out. Just depends on how fast you try to push it. Doubling the work load will result in only a very slight speed increase. Also, they make a big deal about it being a New Zealand product. As far as I can tell, it is 100% Tiawanesse. Not that it matters much, but let's be honest. Construction quality does seem high for a plastic boat.
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