Material: Single-layer rotomolded plastic
Class: Transitional/Light touring
Rudder/skeg: Retractable skeg
“All the performance and features of the regular sized Aspect only scaled down to suit the modestly framed paddler. The Aspect, is a real sports tourer and probably the only boat many paddlers will ever need… Perfect for coastal touring, camping trips and exploring lakes and rivers.” – North Shore Sea Kayaks
Because I only had the opportunity to test pilot the North Shore Aspect LV Roto during a short period of time, I will not title this as a full review but a snapshot of my first impressions.
At first glance, the dimensions and design of the Aspect LV RM are reminiscent of the now retired Pyranha Pilot— a plastic variant of the Impex Mystic.
The low-volume build of the Aspect LV is ideal for a smaller to medium-sized paddler. The cockpit provides ample knee and thigh support while still providing enough room for easy entry-and-exit. While most polyethylene kayaks in the North Shore fleet have incorporated a triple-layer plastic, the Aspect family remains of a single-layer RM construction with an integrated stiffening rod at the hull. While the stiffening rod appears antiquated and even resembles plastic kayaks from the 1980s, this design is the ideal compromise for keeping both cost and weight down.
Unlike many kayaks in this class which are outfitted with foam bulkheads, the Aspect LV RM has polyethylene molded bulkheads with composite stiffeners for extra support. In addition to the bulkhead compartments, the Aspect LV is outfitted with for-and-aft Valley hatches which are removed/attached easily.
I had the opportunity to take the Aspect LV RM on a quick dive into the Narragansett Bay during the Kayak Centre of Rhode Island‘s previous demo day. The day produce a very strong easterly wind which did a fair job in created some epic swells. The combined offshore wind and the 3 to 4 foot swells proved to give myself, and the 14’ Aspect an interesting (and wet) experience.
Not having had anticipated the rough coastal conditions, I did not bring a spray skirt to accompany the Aspect on the water. My first initial launch was welcomed by a 3 foot cresting wave right over the deck of the Aspect and on to my lap. Surprisingly, despite the overwhelming headwind and surf, the Aspect LV remained stable and tracked well.
As a moved further off shore, I faced my bow into more consistent surf and the Aspect’s bow dug deep into some of the crests, causing water to rush over the bow. While the bow did a relatively good job at shedding water, I did get a considerable amount of water in the cockpit which would have been avoided had I worn a proper spray skirt. Even though I was testing the Aspect LV in conditions outside of its intended use, I could feel its impeccable primary and secondary stability.
As I headed back to shore I tested the Aspect’s ability to ride the surf. Although I felt some drag under the hull, the found that the Aspect held strong to the wave overall—providing some unexpected playfulness as well.
The North Shore Aspect LV is best suited for smaller to medium sized paddlers in the 90-150lb range. While many online forums are suggesting that the Aspect LV is intended as a play-at-sea style kayak, I would disagree with this statement. While the Aspect is capable of taking on the waves, its best performance will be revealed in coastal touring, inland lakes, rivers and ponds.
Pros: great stability, tracked well, polyethylene bulkheads, solid skeg assembly, VCP hatches
See also: Dagger Alchemy 14.0S