Even a freak blizzard, courtesy of the polar vortex that plagued early spring in the Northeast, can’t deter me from my date with the Atlantic LV. I scoop up North Shore’s elegant touring mainstay from the distressingly wintry boat yard at Ontario Sea Kayak Centre (OSKC) for a frosty tour on the bay.
When I arrive, OSKC co-owner Dympna Hayes reveals that the smart looking, yellow-decked Atlantic LV I’m borrowing is her own personal kayak for teaching and tripping. “But you can take it for as long as you need,” she offers, eyeing the stubborn blanket of fresh snowfall, “seriously, you can have it until May.”
Hayes came to her Atlantic LV through a student, who found himself struggling to find confidence and comfort in the slender craft. For Hayes’ petite frame, however, the Atlantic LV’s low volume and responsive handling were a perfect fit.
“Lighter, intermediate to advanced paddlers will find it feels most stable," she confirms, "and it’s a lot of fun for rolling, rough water and surfing.”
Eager to test that assertion, I launch the Atlantic LV in water so recently thawed and brain freeze-cold that it seems somehow thicker than normal, like maple syrup. My first impression is that this boat is reminiscent of familiar compact, no-apologies-British sea kayaks, like Sea Kayaking UK’s (formtouring kayakerly NDK) Romany and Valley’s Avocet—with which the Atlantic LV shares outfitting touches like Valley’s bomber rubber hatches, well thought out deck rigging and minimalist seat with integrated backband. The resemblance shouldn’t come as a surprise; the Atlantic LV is a direct descendent of North Shore’s Shoreline, originally launched in 1984 during the fledgling decade of contemporary British sea kayaks. The Shoreline pioneered a new...