Submitted: 09-07-2010 by JeffA
I purchased a demo 2007 Pintail this spring and have paddled it in enough varied conditions to give it an objective review. A lot of the points made by other reviewers are very accurate. It is a fantastic rough water boat and is very fast in this type of paddling. But yes, it is a dog in flat water. The construction is first rate, but then again, Valley has always been one of the quality bench marks used by other manufacturers. I think that the best way to review this kayak is in the context of how it was designed. It has a lot of rocker, soft chines, flared sides and has the typical Valley "fish form" design. It is meant to paddle and play in rough water. It does this as good or better than anything else I have paddled. I am comparing this to the NDK Romany, P&H Capella, WS Zephyr, CD Gulfstream (close, but not quite as good) and others less playful. This kayak was made to surf, rock garden and play in very rough water. I have heard some refer to it as a bit "squirrely". The Pintail is a solid boat that responds very predictably and lets the paddler grow beyond their previous limits.
When I was researching this kayak, I found many reviews by folks who were in the light weight category of paddlers. 120-150 lbs. I am 6'1", 195 lbs and have plenty of room and paddle it with both "Valley" hull logos out of the water. I realized later that the reviews were from some of our British friends who had the peculiar habit of always paddling the kayak with 40 lbs of gear, even if only going out for some play time.
This kayak is definitely not for beginners or those looking for a ultra solid cruiser to take on the pond on calm sunny days. This is an ocean play boat. It takes some skill to paddle and it loves the rough stuff. It turns on a dime with a sweep stroke and some edge. It rolls like it genuinely dislikes being upside down. It surfs amazingly, but asks for the driver to know what they are doing. Valley no longer makes this as a production boat (too bad), but will still make one if ordered. This is a tried and true design and deserves a place in todays paddling community.
Is this one of the best "all around" kayaks.....No. Does it succeed in achieving what it was designed for.....ABSOLUTELY! For those of you who get excited about paddling when the waves kick up, for those who like to surf sea kayaks and those who use the coastal surf as a playground, the Pintail is an elite player among some very strong competition.