I work as a professional Kayak Guide in Finland, in the Helsinki Archipelago. The Atlantic was a boat that I really enjoyed paddling from time to time, both on my own and when I was taking groups out on trips. I loved how nimble it was, if I had a guest take a dip in the water, I could turn around and speed back to them really quickly to get them back into their kayak. Most of the other medium sized guides felt the same, but the smaller paddlers and girls went with the LV model. It is definitely worth trying out if you have the chance and I believe just about any level of paddler would really enjoy this kayak.
North Shore Kayaks is a UK based kayak company that has been in operation since 1982. They make their kayaks by hand in Britain and with state of the art materials, their kayaks are well known for their toughness, value and performance. Typically, they have focused on composite kayaks but have since begun making polyethylene (thermoplastic) kayaks as a more durable alternative to their existing models. One of these models is one of their most popular options, the Atlantic RM, which is the thermoplastic version of the Atlantic and big brother to the Atlantic LV.
The North Shore Atlantic: An Incredible Kayak
The North Shore Atlantic is one of the kayaks that I actually have the most experience using and I have to say, that they are really terrific boats. They are 16’11 inches and only 22” wide, which at least for me as a medium size guy, sort of places them in the “sweet spot” for size. If you are a smaller paddler, then perhaps the Atlantic LV would be a better option for you at 15’11 inches long.
The Atlantic RM is thermoplastic, which of course means that it is very durable. It isn’t a kayak that will keep you up at night if you dragged it across the beach or dropped it when you are loading it into your car. At 28 KG (62 lbs), it’s a pretty manageable kayak but of course there are lighter (more expensive) options out there. The Atlantic has ample storage at the front and back bulkheads as well as a small storage space just over the paddler’s right shoulder, this is a great spot for a fleece, or your phone, or whatever you might just want to be able to grab quickly. I think this is enough storage in here for maybe a day or two if you aren’t bringing a big tent…but there are definitely better options out there for a dedicated camping kayak for prolonged trips in the back country or if you intend to go farther out to sea.
The Atlantic has a very comfortable molded seat and thigh braces, but if you want something softer than perhaps a Wilderness Systems boat is a better option. The Yakima footrest are super sturdy, however they take some work to adjust and it would be better to do this on shore of course. The retractable skeg is great in high winds and allows for the kayak to track well.
My Honest Opinion On The North Shore RN
As far as performance goes, this is a wonderfully playful kayak. It does track well, especially with the skeg down as previously mentioned, but it can be pushed around a bit. It is super nimble, rolls very well and is an absolute blast to play with in the waves and rocks. I would say this is a kayak that would be perfect as someone’s first sea kayak, an intermediate paddler, or someone who maybe has other kayaks and just wants something to play with along the coast, surf and rivers. I believe these go for around $1500, which is about half the price for one of North Shore’s composite models. It is a really solid all-rounder with enough performance for more seasoned paddlers to enjoy as well. It is tough, fast, turns quickly and is honestly just fun to paddle.