Travels with Paddles

a sea kayaking journal

Axel Schoevers (Photo: A. de Krook) Name:
Axel Schoevers
Rijswijk, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Romany Classic

Yesterday I was called by Rob. He had a question about the seat positioning in a friend's NDK Romany. He got me really interested when he mentioned the number on the label that is laminated in the cockpit. It had a two-digit production number below 100. For privacy reasons I won't mention the actual number. Moreover he mentioned that the original owner hardly ever paddled it and it had spend it's years stored at the kayak club.

Earlier this week I saw a TV programme with Jay Leno about opening a garage door for the first time in 40+ years uncovering a classic Deusenberg car. The Romany is classic amongst classic sea kayaks. Although not forty years old (the Romany was designed in 1993).

When Rob sent a picture of the seat positioning and construction he also sent a picture of the actual cockpit label.
There, on that small piece of paper laminated inside the cockpit, are three familiar names: Nigel Dennis (Nigel Dennis Sea Kayaks), Aled Williams (TideRace Sea Kayaks) and Mike Webb (Rockpool Kayaks). They might have gone separate ways, but all three of them still live/work near/on Anglesey and all three still involved in making the finest of sea kayaks. What a history!

The oldest Romany I have ever seen was an early production prototype that still had a high back deck. The circumstances that I got to see that kayak on the water made me shiver (not from the cold!). It got hammered and holed in one of the infamous "Smash and Bash" classes during the Anglesey Sea Kayak Symposium a few years ago. And yes, it is still around!

There is more lore about the early years, but I have to verify that before I put that on the blog.

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