My 7th kayak and I actually believe this will be my last. My criteria for selection:
Those are must haves. Nice to haves are easy to operate hatches, room enough for weekend trips, cool color (i've been stuck with some unflattering teals and pinks and baby blues). Mine is red deck, white hull, black trim. When I'm not paddling, I find myself looking at it like a lovesick teenager looking at her first crush.
- Has to fit my frame (5'4, 125lbs). This could use a tad of foam to be perfect but otherwise it's darn near perfect.
- Has to be light for solo transporting. This leaves out all the other kayaks that are 50lbs plus including other Valleys, NDKs, P&Hs and the sexy Tideraces. Mine is carbon kevlar so it's around 40lbs (insert sheepish grin here)
- Has to be quality made (It's by Valley - need I say more?)
- Must be fast enough to keep up with others (I use a greenland paddle and easily keep - sometimes having to slow down - although I do paddle with a quick cadence).
- Must be nimble. This is the first kayak I've been able to roll effortlessly and comes up every single time. Carves and edges without a second thought.
- Skeg only. Hate rudders.
Fortunately the Avocet LV has all my nice to haves and then some. This is a rare kayak and if you ever see one come up for sale, grab it because you'll not see it again for a very long time. I drove across two states to pick mine up...
Sorry to all you "average" sized paddlers. This one is for the little peeps :)I am a woman 5'2" tall and weigh about 127 lbs. In the past used the Poly Avocet to teach strokes and rescues in because of the resilience of plastic. At a recent boat show I tried the Avocet LV and fell in love with it, because of the fit. I went home with one. I have had people 6’ 170 lbs that can fit into its cockpit they love its playfulness and I have had to ask for my boat back.
I have used many boats over the years. From the Lincoln Isle au Haut at 17' with a 22.5" beam. The Isle au Haut is a fast and has high initial stability. It is a good expedition boat. The NDK Romany at 16' and a 20.5" beam is another good boat, but more for the mid-size paddler than a smaller one. The regular Avocet is comparable in performance to the Romany, but with less rocker, which makes the Avocet better in a beaming wind.
The Avocet LV is the performing sea boat for the smaller serious paddler. At 15'11" in length and a 20.5" beam it keeps up easily with 17' boats. It handles 4' surf and a following sea wonderfully. It edges with ease and stability. It is a cinch to roll. The new and improved back bands, which Valley has available are very comfortable and allows a layback roll. The hatches are a job to put on, but knowing that your hatches are completely water tight makes it worth the effort.
At 46lbs. in weight I can easily load and unload it from on top of a car or trailer. The quality of workmanship and the design make this the ideal boat for the smaller person that wants one boat that will last as long as they want to keep paddling and that will never tire of.
I give this boat a 10 out of 10