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  Valley's Discontinuing A Lot of Boats
  Posted by: old_user on Aug-30-12 5:30 AM (EST)
   Category: Kayaks 

Want one of the discontinued models? Apparently you have to order by August 31st, i.e. TOMORROW.

From Solent Sea Kayaking (because apparently Valley never updates their own site):

Valley Sea Kayaks have just announced that they are intending to rationalise their range of sea kayaks. This follows the introduction of various new designs over the last two years, the most notable being the Etain range. The result of this rationalisation process is that certain models are to be discontinued permanently.

The last date for placing orders with Valley is the 31st of August this year, so anyone considering purchasing one of the soon-to-be discontinued models has just over a week [from this announcement] to make a decision and place an order.

Discontinued Valley Sea Kayaks

The models to be discontinued are as follows:

Pintail – keyhole & ocean versions
Aquanaut – all composite models: Std, LV, HV
Aquanaut RM – LV, HV
Nordkapp Classics – old HM & HS versions

More at:

 Great Products from the Buyers' Guide:

Canoe/Kayak Carts

Kayak/Canoe Ergometer

Overstock Outlet Foods

Full Size Sail Rig

Kayak Seats

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Messages in this Topic


  Discontinuing the Pintail?
  Posted by: bnystrom on Aug-30-12 7:23 AM (EST)
Now THAT'S a travesty!
  Posted by: sternman on Aug-30-12 8:00 AM (EST)
I don't think anyone will miss the Q-boat. That was a failure.

The Pintail fits a small niche. Very surf specific I'm told.
  Oh well....
  Posted by: angstrom on Aug-30-12 8:31 AM (EST)
The composite Aquanaut LV has been on my short list for a long time, but I can't afford one right now. It's a lovely boat for the appropriate size paddler
  Inevitable, but too bad
  Posted by: jsmarch on Aug-30-12 8:49 AM (EST)
I suppose from a business perspective that this makes a lot of sense in a crowded market place in which folks increasingly want the latest, greatest kayak--I know this having just bought a Tiderace Xplore! Still, I hate to see the Pintail especially go out of production. There's not much out there like it and it is a wonderful surf, rock garden, and teaching kayak. I've got one in kevlar that I've been trying (so far unsuccessfully) to sell, but maybe now I'll hang on to it. Who knows, if a few years it may sell at Sothebys for a fortune .
  Posted by: Gromulus on Aug-30-12 9:05 AM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Aug-30-12 9:07 AM EST --

Really surprised about the Aquanaut line. This is a very user friendly and all-around performing sea kayak, similar in feel to the Explorer. While I love my Nordkapp I was (and still am) hoping to add one to my stable. I haven't heard much or ever seen an Etain but perhaps Valley thinks this will replace the Aquanaut.

Also surprised to hear about the Pintail.

Too bad Valley never responds to emails or updates their website.

  re: Hmm...
  Posted by: old_user on Aug-30-12 11:48 AM (EST)
"Really surprised about the Aquanaut line. This is a very user friendly and all-around performing sea kayak, similar in feel to the Explorer. While I love my Nordkapp I was (and still am) hoping to add one to my stable. I haven't heard much or ever seen an Etain but perhaps Valley thinks this will replace the Aquanaut.

Also surprised to hear about the Pintail.

Too bad Valley never responds to emails or updates their website."

My take on it is similar... the Etain filled much the same slot in Valley's lineup that the Aquanaut did, and was more popular/a newer design, so that may be why the Aquanaut is out ('cept for the Aquanaut Club).

So, Valley may simply be consolidating their lineup to be more efficient. However, there are other things about Valley that, in combination with this, makes one wonder a bit.

As you say, Valley does seem to do a very poor job of responding to emails and updating their site. I've emailed them on a few occasions, and I never hear back from them. And their site was last updated almost two years ago.

Another odd thing is their Gemini launch, or lack of one. You heard a bit about these two boats in early Spring, and then... nothing. A Valley dealer had told my friend they were expecting boats in stock by June, that hasn't happened. Obviously the Gemini(s) have been delayed, but no info on why or for how long has been forthcoming from Valley.

Despite this, it may be that there's nothing really wrong over there at all, but the cutbacks to the line *in combination with* delayed launches and a general lack of responsiveness/information is troubling. =\

If there is trouble over there, I hope they right the ship.

  wow, this sounds pretty bad
  Posted by: slushpaddler on Aug-30-12 9:09 AM (EST)
The aquanaut line would seem to me to be a volume product (in sales numbers). The pintail is a classic with sort of a cult following.

I wonder what valley is saying? Especially by not saying. Other small companies fill the niches better, and larger companies are selling the volume lines better?

This doesn't sound good for Valley.
  British MBAs?
  Posted by: suiram on Aug-30-12 9:25 AM (EST)
Wow, this is amazing, probably the new crop of British MBAs, modeled after Johnson Outdoors, is taking over.

I would understand if any of the layups were something more advanced than a simple barn operation, as in in thermoset epoxy, impregnated fibers, core mats, vacuum bagging, autoclaves, as it does require a fair commitment in terms of labor force and facilities. But VCP layups, lately, are as simple as possible; I can not fathom discontinuation of any hull since there is no know-how involved - laying down a Nordkapp XYZ is just as simple digging out a mold ( pun intended), downing a couple of pints for quality control, and getting busy with gelcoat, epoxy, and fiberglass.

Ah well, I am quite sure they know what they are doing, as they did when they changed seat molds for Avocet RM, used mismatched alloys for skeg slider assemblies, or forced crappy layup on their FG boats.
  Posted by: michaelcrouse on Aug-30-12 10:37 AM (EST)
I'm guessing they have product lines that are in competition with each other. P&H has done a nice job of having an easy to understand product line, expedition = Cetus, general = Capella, play = Delphin/Aries. With Valley it's more confusing, expedition = Aquanaut or Etain or the Q boat or the Nordkapp. Granted I like the choices they offer but I'm guessing it's confusing enough to have multitude of manufacturers to choose from then to have several products to choose from after that.
I'm very happy to have my Argonaut (Aquanaut HV)!
  Good guess
  Posted by: old_user on Sep-05-12 2:27 PM (EST)
"I'm guessing it's confusing enough to have multitude of manufacturers to choose from then to have several products to choose from after that."

Good guess.

Confused buyers are likely to go elsewhere.
  If you can get a deal...
  Posted by: wavespinner on Aug-30-12 11:47 AM (EST)
..I'd take advantage. An Aquanaut RM HV is my "freight hauler" and I'd be pressed to find fault with it. I have a Nordkapp in carbon/kevlar for speed/play and can find little fault with that, either.
  Deadline- August 31st
  Posted by: old_user on Aug-30-12 11:22 PM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Aug-30-12 11:23 PM EST --

Well, I hope everyone who wants one of the discontinued boats gets their orders in by close-of-biz Friday (tomorrow).

Valley doesn't seem to be doing a particularly good job of publicizing the paring-down of their product line, so more than a few ppl are likely in for a surprise when they try to buy certain boats this fall. =\

At least there's always eBay or Craigslist (or demo boats). But not everyone wants to buy used, and you'd have to think prices on the used EOL'd boats will probably rise.

  Ka Ching
  Posted by: old_user on Aug-31-12 8:43 PM (EST)
my Pintail (and yours), just got a little more valuable...
  Posted by: old_user on Sep-02-12 11:17 PM (EST)
Don't hold your breath
  Yes... Competing Products
  Posted by: Kudzu on Sep-01-12 6:24 AM (EST)
I understand the Avocet is supposed to be a less squirrely, somewhat trackier Pintail. Is that a fair assessment? I have only paddled an Avocet LV.
  Pintail v Avocet
  Posted by: jsmarch on Sep-01-12 8:59 AM (EST)
The Avocet is a great kayak--basically a Pintail made palatable for the masses. The Pintail on the other hand is a delight in the hands of someone who knows how to work it and it does need to be worked. Plus, how can anyone not love the upswept ends modeled on the Pintail duck--they are worth the price of admission. Hmmm, maybe am talking myself into hanging on to mine . Back when I had two kayaks--an NDK Explorer and the Pintail--the latter was my go to the surf zone and teaching kayak. Super maneuverable, it made getting around in teaching and reverse figure eights ridiculously easy. Did I say fun to surf and fun to play in clapotis? I don't think that there's anything out there that is quite like it though there are many "better" kayaks. For me the big downside to the Pintail is the low top end. At about 4 knots the bow wave begins to enlarge and after that it is all effort--not a problem in rough stuff but not what you want for point A to B paddles. The Avocet solves this problem (sort of) but at the expense of the fun aspect of the Pintail.
  They really not similar at all
  Posted by: bnystrom on Sep-04-12 7:17 AM (EST)
I've paddled both and they're completely different boats.
  Posted by: sternsquirt on Oct-01-12 8:45 PM (EST)
similar DNA, perhaps, but very different sizes and shapes. I've owned both (and imported/sold both)
  Posted by: old_user on Sep-01-12 7:37 AM (EST)
Wow, a lot of ppl mourning the passing of the Pintail.

I had thought the majority of the comments would be about the knifing of the Aquanaut. Guess not.

And nary a mention of the passing of the Nordkap Classic boats.
I guess because the newer versions of it are still going strong, and most ppl prefer them?

  Naut mourning
  Posted by: Michaelcrouse on Sep-02-12 9:19 AM (EST)
The Aquanaut will definitely be missed, but for some reason it never became as popular as it should have been. Maybe it was because it's competing against the Explorer and there are a lot of them available used?
The used market seems to have plenty of Pintails, I wonder how many new Pintails Valley was selling.
Hopefully sea kayak companies aren't shifting to a white water mentality of a new boat/design every few years.
I suspect the next company to organize thier product line will be Current Designs. Lots of different models and a website that's a bit scattered. Also Valley is discontinuing the Naut but CD is making the Infinity? I've never seen one of them on the water!
  CD is weird
  Posted by: old_user on Sep-16-12 1:46 AM (EST)
Current Designs is strange... they have like 50 different models, and almost none of them get a chance to develop any cachet or recognition, because they're buried within that HUGE MASS of different boats they churn out.

  it's simple
  Posted by: slushpaddler on Sep-04-12 4:16 PM (EST)
The pintail was a porsche boxster

The aquanaut was a porsche...cayenne.
  End of an era
  Posted by: old_user on Sep-02-12 12:38 PM (EST)
English boats are like British sports cars and motorcycles
Beautiful to look at, but outdated with spotty workmanship

Why do the English drink warm beer?
Because they have Lucus refrigerators
  May be true about motorcycles ...
  Posted by: nebeginner on Sep-02-12 6:00 PM (EST)
... and cars ... and many other British made items. But where can you find better made or designed sea kayaks?
  Many Years Ago
  Posted by: Kudzu on Sep-02-12 8:21 PM (EST)
I was bumped off a flight (jet) and had to fly on some old puddle jumper prop plane over the Appalachians. I was comforted to see "Rolls Royce" printed on the engines.
  Might have been a
  Posted by: wetzool on Sep-02-12 10:24 PM (EST)
Short Brothers - made in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
  Said "maybe" ...
  Posted by: nebeginner on Sep-03-12 3:43 PM (EST)
... Did not agree. You may want to respond up the thread to any perceived slam on Brit made products.

  Lots of places, of course
  Posted by: Dr_Disco on Sep-02-12 9:55 PM (EST)
Or were you joking.
  Better made?
  Posted by: old_user on Sep-02-12 11:13 PM (EST)
Have you ever looked closely at their fiberglass and Kevlar work?
I can name a dozen companies in the US, eastern Europe and china which the Brits can't match
  Well, yes ...
  Posted by: nebeginner on Sep-03-12 3:40 PM (EST)
... Just got back from paddling my Nordlow. And compared to the 5 other boats I've owned, 4 made in the US, one in China, I'd say the workmanship and quality of construction surpasses any boat I've ever owned.

Same can be said for the other Brit made boats I demo's before buying the Valley.

I'm not saying no one else makes great boats, but Brit boats have been the gold standard for many years, and from what I've seen, there is no decline in that regard. So just saying I don't get where you come up with such a statement.
  Gold Standard?
  Posted by: Dr_Disco on Sep-03-12 5:48 PM (EST)
Nonsense. There are certainly boats made in Great Britain that are good quality and there are good designs. But there are a wide variety of boats not made in Great Britain and/or not Brit designed that are as good if not better in design and construction quality. You need a wider experience.
  Such as?
  Posted by: nebeginner on Sep-03-12 6:47 PM (EST)
Not saying their are not boats as well made or designed as the classic Brit boats, but curious what you consider to be better?
  Matter of opinion, but ...
  Posted by: Dr_Disco on Sep-03-12 8:29 PM (EST)
I have a QCC700x that is both design-wise and quality-wise at least the equal of any Brit competitor. The boats now being built in Thailand are probably the best quality boats ever in terms of build. I don't mean to be snarky but there are so many boats out there that compete well against traditional Brit boats that it seems a no-brainer to recognize that.
  Just one?
  Posted by: nebeginner on Sep-04-12 7:41 AM (EST)
QCC ...never met one live and in person, so I can't comment on build. Design is, as you say, a matter of opinion ... and personal taste.

OK let's stipulate the QCC is, as you say, the equal in build quality to any of the aforementioned Brit boats. Is this only because build quality of such Brit boats as NDK, Valley, P&H, etc have declined, so much so that it now allows QCC to equal them? That's what sparked this sub-thread.

Or have these Brit boats maintained their quality, and others like QCC are rising and can now match them?

I don't believe anywhere in this entire thread does anyone say Brit boats are unmatched in build quality. But I don't think even you can say they have not earned a reputation of being among the best in that regard, and have long been the gold standard by which many if not most people measure built. You are doing so when holding QCC up to that level.

The comment I responded to was that Brit boat build and design is in decline. Given all the great builders and designs, I don't see that. That's not saying there are not other great boats out there, or that other places are not rising when it comes to design and quality of build.

So QCC may be equal to the build of my Valley, but I can't imagine any boat could be better built. And not because Valley is a Brit boat, but because from a build quality perspective, I can't imagine what would constitute better. So if QCC can build to that level, the same could be said of QCC.
  You asked for an example
  Posted by: Dr_Disco on Sep-04-12 8:18 AM (EST)
And I gave you one. QCC has always been known for quality construction. And as you say, you know nothing about them.
  So? Not seeing your point ...
  Posted by: nebeginner on Sep-04-12 8:02 PM (EST)
... Having never seen one live and in person, I'll go along with your POV that QCC is as well made as a Valley or P&H, or any of the other top Brit boats ... or are you saying QCC is better made? Or are you saying Brit boats are in decline?

Because that's what the point was that started this side discussion. So I've kinda lost your point. sorry. No one is saying Brit boats are better than all others, or no other boat matches Valley, etc. Just that these premier classic boats are still among the best designed and built sea kayaks, and not the "end of an era".

Perhaps you felt that was a slight to QCC? Or a snobbish attitude? Now you know that is not the intent, and never was.

  Interprettion of "Gold Standard"
  Posted by: Dr_Disco on Sep-04-12 10:50 PM (EST)
That was your phrase. What that means to me is that somehow British designed and built boats are the best and that other designers and builders strive to achieve that standard in both areas. My only point is that while British designed boats have certainly been enormously influential (and deservedly so) they are not in fact a gold standard. There are designs just as good and by some criteria clearly better. And when it comes to quality of build British craftspeople have been both excellent and and not so good. Again, not necessarily a gold standard. But more important, I think it is important to recognize other quality designs (which were not derived from Brit designs) and innovations in building quality boats in other places. For example, what Brit builder is producing innovative thermoformed kayaks like Eddyline? Just asking for balance, recognition of various contributions, and not distorting history based on personal preference and limited personal experience.
  QCC vs all Brit boats!
  Posted by: abc on Sep-04-12 2:19 PM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Sep-04-12 2:21 PM EST --

"QCC ...never met one live and in person, so I can't comment on build. Design is, as you say, a matter of opinion ... and personal taste."

I had. Not impressed. Give me a Valley any day!

Granted, I'm too small for it (smallest version of QCC). But isn't that the point? (N.A. boats are build for "north American" which are all over-weight!) ;-)

"But there are a wide variety of boats not made in Great Britain and/or not Brit designed that are as good if not better in design and construction quality. You need a wider experience."

You need more than "one example" to support the claim of "wide variety of boats"!

  Dude you must be on small midget !
  Posted by: Cliffjrs on Sep-04-12 3:18 PM (EST)
  hey now...
  Posted by: old_user on Sep-04-12 8:05 PM (EST)
Midgets are cool. I'm not one, but I don't have anything against 'em. And they're always funny in every movie in they're in. =]

  Wide Variety of Boats
  Posted by: Dr_Disco on Sep-04-12 5:34 PM (EST)
I chose QCC because their designs are very different (like them or not, I do) and the build quality is high. Others would be Eddyline (American), Current Designs (founded by a Canadian even though they later added Brit designs), Boreal Design (Canadian), Epic Kayaks, Point 65N, or Qajaq (Italian). My point is that there are a wide variety of boats out there, a number of companies that build well, and lots of innovation. I see no reason to drink the Brit boat cool-aid.
  American cool aid?
  Posted by: abc on Sep-04-12 7:26 PM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Sep-04-12 9:08 PM EST --

"I chose QCC because their designs are very different (like them or not, I do) and the build quality is high. Others would be Eddyline (American), Current Designs (founded by a Canadian even though they later added Brit designs), Boreal Design (Canadian), Epic Kayaks, Point 65N, or Qajaq (Italian). My point is that there are a wide variety of boats out there, a number of companies that build well, and lots of innovation. I see no reason to drink the Brit boat cool-aid."

I happened to have tried several of those on your list and still ended up with a Brit boat. My experience had been:

1) The Brit boats had been around for a while, tried and true to say the least. A lot of the N.A. rough water boats are copies of Brit designs. But in their attempt to differentiate from the original, they make changes (aka "innovation"). Some of those changes works ok. Others not at all. Still, when one consider, "the best compliment is being copied", it says A LOT about the British coolaid. How many North American "innovation" models got copied widely? QCC copies abound?

2) As for construction quality, NDK seems to taint the "Brit boat" image. I heaven't heard much quality issues with Valley, which is the subject of this thread. But you may know something I don't?

  My Valley ...
  Posted by: nebeginner on Sep-04-12 8:37 PM (EST)
... Is a beautiful boat. Outstanding in every way.

What a difference compared to the several glass Wilderness Tempests I had, the last one being a Chinese made one. That one was a real mess, and not just leaks. The rough glass seams inside needed to be sanded down, bolts for the deck rigging missing or stripped. The glass work around the skeg box was crude and sloppy. To me that was very sad, because that is a good boat designed by a good guy. A real shame to see what it had become.
  NDK quality problems are ancient history
  Posted by: trilliumlake on Sep-05-12 5:51 PM (EST)
I've owned two NDK boats, a 2009 Pilgrim Expedition and a 2011 Pilgrim, and the quality is as good as anything I've seen. I also paddle with quite a few people who own NDK kayaks, and the common QC problems (chopped strand construction, poor fit & finish) have long been resolved.

Of all the American composite kayaks I've had experience with, I would say Boreals are most comparable to Brit boats in their design, strength, and fit & finish.
  Keep telling yourself that...
  Posted by: bnystrom on Sep-07-12 6:40 AM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Sep-07-12 6:43 AM EST --

...and maybe one day it will come true. Their quality is spotty at best and they're still built with the cheapest materials available using antiquated construction methods. They only thing that keeps the company afloat (pun intended) is that their designs are excellent, so people are willing to put up with their flaws.

Lumping NDK in with Valley and P&H in terms of quality is an insult to the latter two, which DO build consistently high-quality boats.

  What cool aid?
  Posted by: nebeginner on Sep-04-12 8:30 PM (EST)
Those are all fine boats, and in the same class as far as design and build quality as Valley, NDK, P&H, etc. I've demo'd some of these, and like them a lot. But they are not better, as far as quality goes. Who has said that? I'd put them the same, and would be proud to own any of those boats.

Sometimes it seems that the QCC drivers have a chip on their shoulders, and leap to defend any perceived slight ... even when none exists.

Given the cult like loyalty around QCC, I'm thinking these are fine boats. I've just never seen one, probably because I like sea kayaking, so all the boats I see look like mine. Now don't get excited, that's not a slight .... I never looked at a WW boat either. You probably don't see many Valley's on rivers and lakes.
  Maalstrom and Boreal Design
  Posted by: WaterMark on Sep-05-12 5:25 PM (EST)
Sadly Boreal Design went bankrupt this year.

Maalstrom makes awesome kayaks (for skilled kayakers in dynamic water), even so so far they only have 2 models.

The quality of Seaward Kayaks is exceptional, some of there designs are great, if not as playful and responsive as some brit designs.

Atlantis Kayaks makes great quality kayaks too - they tend to feel more stable than typical brit kayaks.

Delta makes great thermoform kayaks for comfortable cruising.

Nimbus and Impex are a couple others.

All of the above are canadian (not sure about Impex).

Epic has some great designs - not built to be as durable as most brit boats, but lighter.
  Boreal was bought by Riot
  Posted by: trilliumlake on Sep-05-12 5:43 PM (EST)
Riot bought Boreal in April 2012:
  Thanks for the update :)
  Posted by: WaterMark on Sep-05-12 6:35 PM (EST)
  Maelstrom kayaks...
  Posted by: old_user on Sep-05-12 7:02 PM (EST)
"Maalstrom makes awesome kayaks (for skilled kayakers in dynamic water), even so so far they only have 2 models."

They've just introduced 2 new models, so technically they've had 4 models total.

But they are discontinuing the 2 older boats (Vaag and Vital), so they'll only have 2 'active' models in their lineup.

  I wonder why...
  Posted by: WaterMark on Sep-05-12 8:00 PM (EST)
I've only heard good things about the Vaag
  we can only speculate...
  Posted by: old_user on Sep-05-12 11:19 PM (EST)
My guess? It's probably a marketing thing... perhaps the Vaag & Vital didn't sell great, the designers updated/improved them, and wanted to basically say, "Hey, check it out... NEW and IMPROVED boats! Give us another look!".

Thing is, if that was the reason, it wasn't a great one IMO.

In the high-end sea kayak world, seems like ppl don't often throw themselves at something just because it's 'new', but rather because it's 'tried and true', i.e. the accolades and good reviews have piled up, a particular boat has a great reputation, you start to see a few ppl out on the water paddling them, etc. etc.

NDK and Valley seem to get this. They fiddle with and refine boats they've had around for many years, but they don't change the name. Everyone knows what an Explorer or a Nordkapp is, and that they're good boats. By discontinuing the Vaag and Vital, Maelstrom also got rid of whatever nascent reputation/cache those boats were starting to develop.

Two other odd things about Maelstrom: Their boats have strange-sounding Scandinavian names (yep, the new ones too) even though they're from Quebec, and they love to center their day hatches, which largely defeats the purpose of *having* a day hatch (i.e. significant storage that you can actually GET TO while on the water).

In any case, my experience lines up with yours, the few ppl I've run into who've paddled Maelstrom boats seem to like them quite a bit.

I wouldn't mind checking one out, but I have no idea where I would... there's not even a 'Dealers' link on Maelstrom's website. Kayak Academy in Seattle is the only dealer of theirs' I've ever heard of on the West Coast, and that's about 800 miles away.

  day hatch etc
  Posted by: abc on Sep-06-12 10:51 AM (EST)
"they love to center their day hatches, which largely defeats the purpose of *having* a day hatch"

That's exactly what I meant by those "copy and change" designs. When a change is just for the sake of changing, it's garbage, not innovation!

The whole idea of day hatch being off-set to the side is so it's EASIER to get at by the paddler while on the water! Moving it to the center would make it harder, with what benefit?

While we're on the theme of hatches, I've seen a few boats having a "deck hatch". That might be a bit more meaningful "innovation", especially for people who aren't flexible enough to get at a regular day hatch...

  for once...
  Posted by: old_user on Sep-06-12 8:15 PM (EST)
...we're in total agreement, abc. ;]

  Maelstrom does have
  Posted by: WaterMark on Sep-06-12 8:39 PM (EST)
a deck hatch. So maybe their thinking was the day hatch wouldn't need to be accessed as much on the water - could be accessed by another paddler while rafting up.
  day hatch OR deck hatch, not both!
  Posted by: abc on Sep-06-12 11:12 PM (EST)
If there's already a deck hatch, AND the expectation is the paddler doesn't access the day hatch on water, then there's no need for the day hatch. Just keep the whole rear section as one compartment! 80% of the boats out there don't have day hatch after all.

If it takes another paddler to access it, might as well be just a regular rear hatch. More room for storage without that extra wall and hatch hardware.
  OTOH it's nice to have options
  Posted by: slushpaddler on Sep-07-12 11:33 AM (EST)
...and many of us can reach the day hatch, even in marginal conditions. Anything worse and you won't be using much of anything but the paddle.

The day hatch also adds a structural element in a composite boat.

Lots of people like convenience and hate paddling with the deck cluttered. I'd like that foredeck day hatch but it's not that big.
  Posted by: old_user on Sep-15-12 9:32 AM (EST)
"Lots of people like convenience and hate paddling with the deck cluttered. I'd like that foredeck day hatch but it's not that big."

And it really *can't* be even approaching big, because then it starts to intrude into your leg space. Some ppl really complain about the design of the Cetus in that way.

  Ecomarine in Vancouver
  Posted by: WaterMark on Sep-06-12 8:36 PM (EST)
carries them.

I'm paddled the Vaag twice at paddlefests here and was quite impressed.

I have a feeling their new designs will have a bit more stability and appeal to a broader range of paddlers. (that's mostly a guess). I wish they would at least briefly compare and contrast there new designs to their old ones on the website.
  Impex builds in Canada & U.S. nfm
  Posted by: RavenWing on Sep-06-12 12:27 AM (EST)
  I'm no engineer ...
  Posted by: nebeginner on Sep-04-12 8:20 PM (EST)
... Nor a craftsman in glass, kevlar - or plastic for that matter - boats.

But I have been around boats my whole life, literally, growing up on Narragansett Bay in Rhode Island. As did my father and grandfather. Always had boats, so I learned to appreciate them from a young age, listening to my father and grandfather discus boats. All kinds of boats.

Ever since I started playing with sea kayaks, checking out local shops for fun before I bought my first one a dozen years ago, every shop had multiple brands of boats .... and it seemed that the Brit boats where always top shelf. You didn't have to examine them hard to see why.

So to me NDK, Valley, P&H, these are the "gold standard". When I decided to get back into this after a few years off (injury), I decided to get one of the best ... bucket list kind of thing.

Now I know there are many fine non-Brit boats these days that can compete on design. And more than a few that can complete on built quality too. That's a good thing.

But better? Looking at my Valley, as someone who has been around glass boats since I could walk, and who has been through at 5 kayaks before, I can't see how any consumer grade, or volume produced boat, could be better made.

That's not snobbery, or saying Valley is the best, etc. Just that these boats are as good as it gets, equaled by several non-brit boats as well.

  To confuse matters further...
  Posted by: old_user on Sep-04-12 8:06 AM (EST)
What of Brit boat makers like Tiderace, who design their boats in the UK, but then have them made in those Thai factories you admire so greatly?

Seems like at least one Brit boat maker then has "probably the best quality boats ever in terms of build", to quote you.

  A "Brit made boat"
  Posted by: Dr_Disco on Sep-04-12 8:22 AM (EST)
is not a Thai made boat. The issue was originally posed as quality of British built boats.
  of course...
  Posted by: old_user on Sep-04-12 9:55 AM (EST)
...but that wasn't the angle I was getting at.

In this era of globalization and outsourcing, does it *really matter* if the Brits are master craftsmen, or second-rate?

In terms of local jobs in the UK, yes, it certainly does matter, but from the point-of-view of their customers (us), do we really care if the boats are built in the UK or Thailand, so long as the design is awesome and the quality of the build is high?

Just seems like the whole 'don't buy a British kayak, the quality is crap' argument loses some of its teeth when you have British companies like Tiderace out there, globalizing freely, and not to the lowest common denominator either, but rather to exacting standards, by all accounts.

Now, if ppl want to quibble over whether NDK is still turning out crappy, quality-inconsistent boats, that's fine, they've kind of earned the xtra scrutiny via past sins. =]

  Posted by: slushpaddler on Sep-04-12 4:14 PM (EST)
The QCC is an engineering exercise. It may be a nice piece but it's not very exciting.

  End of an era? How so?
  Posted by: old_user on Sep-02-12 9:45 PM (EST)
How is it the 'end of an era'? (unless we're just talking about the specific boats being discontinued)

If you mean it in the broader sense, which you seem to, Valley doesn't seem to be going out of business, though it is possible that they've hit a bump in the road. Or they may simply be trying to be more efficient/focused. It's hard to say.

Even if Valley were somehow eventually to go under/get bought out, that would hardly spell the end of the Brit boats. P&H, Rockpool, Tiderace, North Shore, NDK, etc. all seem to be doing reasonably well.

It's far too early to write an epitaph for the Brits, if that's what you meant.

  I know NDK had issues with QC
  Posted by: tsunamichuck1 on Sep-02-12 9:48 PM (EST)
as did Valley for a short time. But there is serious garbage coming out of Confluence these days, leaky hatches, blown bulkheads. Glad I have my 11 year old 'Kapp, 20 year old NW Sportee and 22 year old Mariner Express. Hopefully, Eddyline, Feathercraft, Folbot, Impex and some other small companies survive a bit longer
  Posted by: holmes375 on Sep-04-12 11:19 AM (EST)
"But there is serious garbage coming out of Confluence these days, leaky hatches, blown bulkheads."

Two Tempests, one Zephyr and an Alchemy all arrived with issues that required attention before the boats could be considered sea worthy. My Nordkapp puts 'em to shame with respect to the quality of the components as well as the attention paid to proper assembly.

Many manufacturers have had a spell of troubles here and there. Sweeping generalisations claiming superiority of one country of manufacture over another seldom reflect reality and are certainly subject to change.
  Regulations ...
  Posted by: nebeginner on Sep-04-12 8:46 PM (EST)
... I think have a lot to do with it. Some places have so many rules and codes that make working in glass or even plastic so expensive that corners end up getting cut. I think that is what hurt Wildy ... plus moving a few times, which often means leaving skilled workers behind.

Many countries have history of craftsmanship in various industries. The Brits had\have a good history with sea kayak design, and quality workmanship. That seems to exist in other places too, like Canada for example. I think here in the US a lot of that industry has been over regulated to the point where not a lot is left, especially in small boats like kayaks, with small specialized markets.
  is it regulation...
  Posted by: old_user on Sep-04-12 9:02 PM (EST)
...or the fact that Chinese workers get paid pennies on the dollar compared to their US or UK counterparts?

My guess is it's largely the latter. Composite boats are a bit labor-intensive, and Wildy/Conflluence wanted to save some money.

But I don't think they factored in the magnitude of the quality hit they were going to take, and the resulting damage to their reputation.

  Actually its the plastic
  Posted by: tsunamichuck1 on Sep-04-12 9:21 PM (EST)
boats that are total crap and they have thrown their smaller dealerships under the bus. For the good of planet, Confluence needs to die!
  I've heard both, but more the composites
  Posted by: old_user on Sep-05-12 2:37 AM (EST)
  Confluence boat manufacture
  Posted by: RavenWing on Sep-05-12 1:15 PM (EST)
only manufacture of the composite boats for WS and Dagger (Tempest, Zephyr, a Dagger model or two) moved over to China a few years ago (for the 2009 iirc). At that time (Jan 2009) Confluence released a statement saying the move was for a better price point, although privately there were comments (here and other places) that the move was QC based as well.

The rotomoulded boats (Alchemies, Tsunamis, Pungos, etc, and plastic versions of Tempests and Zephyrs were all and are all made in North Carolina.

So as the discussion continues re workmanship keep in mind which models are made in which country.
  wilderness glass
  Posted by: landsharc on Sep-05-12 4:31 PM (EST)
FWIW, I have never seen a pre- china made glass tempest but have seen an 09 and paddled 2 other 09's and own a '10. I have found no flaws in any of those boats in the glasswork. That is not to compare it to anything else, just saying that these 4 boats came out good, and I have only seen 4 of them.
  that's complete rubbish
  Posted by: slushpaddler on Sep-05-12 11:22 AM (EST)
Regulations in this country are not contributing to the inconsistent QC at confluence. This is political grandstanding.
  Continuation of an era....
  Posted by: WaterMark on Sep-05-12 5:41 PM (EST)
Brit boats haven't been supplanted in design - but there are more design options out there. Sleek fast boats like QCC and Epic, wide stable boats, and on and on...

But lots of kayakers still buy and love brit boats. Brit boats are also evolving: witness Tiderace, Rockpool, recent P&H additions (Delphin, Cetus), Valley Etain and Gemini....

The quality of Tiderace and Rockpool are considered to be among the top. NDK hasn't cared enough about quality control and it's hurt the reputation of all brit boats, but the quality of most is exceptional.

It seems brit boats are made to withstand more abuse - thicker gel coat, heavier, more reinforcing in key areas, made to withstand a rough surf landing.
  I disagree
  Posted by: salty on Sep-12-12 9:50 AM (EST)
Thick gel-coat is not structural, and you are buying into the "heavy must be stronger" notion that has been pushed on you buy builders who make heavy boats with lower gradw materials. Now I'm not dissing the Valley stuff. It's good, solid work and good old fiberglass is tough stuff. Diolene btw is a polyester and is used to add strength. It bonds well in the lay-up. Kevlar 49 not as well but with the right processes is fine.

Boats like NDK's will take abuse but not necessarily any more than lighter boats built better with better materials and resins. Again, gel-coat is NON-STRUCTURAL, and I would rather have an extra layer of glass, carbon etc, and thin gel-coat or surface coat.

I helped establish Necky's production in Thailand with Cobra Int. Those boats are epoxy post cured and will take abuse!! Amazingly strong and really over-the-top strong. Excellent materials, excellent craftspeople,epoxy post cured, superb adhesives etc. They are done right, dont leak, no issues etc. I suspect Tiderace boats made in the same factory are likewise superb and if they are made the same way dont fool yourself they are way stronger than anything I've seen out of Britain.

That is NOT to say I dont like and respect Brit boats. They are fine, especially Valley and P&H, but folks this stuff is just all about materials and process and cost. The boats Necky made in Thailand are world class. THey sure as hell couldnt make anything good at Old Town, which is why it was outsourced. If it were my company it would all be done in the USA the same way the Thailand boats are made and I'd employ good people who cared. Id charge more, make less margin, sell direct, and probably go broke.......
  Tiderace layups
  Posted by: No_Kayak on Sep-13-12 4:31 PM (EST)
The Tiderace layups are designed by and unique to them and not shared across the other manufacturers based at Cobra.

Some processes are shared, such as the interlocking 'biscuit-tin' deck/hull joint, curing and so on, but there are many differences, too.

What is clear is that the factory in Thailand can produce specification far better than could be found in the UK or Europe. That particularly includes the Tiderace models built in Finland, which were nice looking but nowhere near the quality or technology now found from Thailand.

  Posted by: salty on Sep-14-12 11:56 PM (EST)
Actually that speaks to Cobra's integrity. They probably didn't divulge the other guy's matrix, rather employ the same talent, resin, processes etc to varying layups. The deck to hull seam is insanely strong. They are by FAR the finest composite shop I've dealt with. The CEO is half Thai, half German and the operation seems to reflect the best of both cultures. Yes, simply superb construction regardless of the varying emotions around producing in Thailand.
  Posted by: old_user on Sep-15-12 1:03 AM (EST)
...this makes me want to buy a Tiderace. =]

  Posted by: No_Kayak on Sep-15-12 9:20 AM (EST)
Cobra are insanely protective of their customer's need for privacy. If they don't adhere to that principle, their use as an OEM manufacturer is highly diminished.

The layups in Tiderace boats vary from boat to boat and are very specific. For example, the Xtreme is designed for very big conditions and requires real stiffness and strength, so uses a thicker core material in the hull than other models in the range. The Pace 18 at the other end has a greater need for lightness, so the matrix for that boat is very very different.

In some ways it's a shame that many composite boat buyers are not as open to understanding the technology as they might be, because the quality of what's coming out of that factory as a product is amazing.

By comparison, the layups produced by Valley and P&H are agricultural. That's not to say they're bad product, just that you are not getting the same thing in terms of advanced product as you might. It's a bit like having two BMWs that look like the latest model on the outside, except one of them IS the latest model and the other one is built on mechanicals from the 1997 model.
  Who else?
  Posted by: eel on Sep-15-12 9:33 AM (EST)
Who else is having boats made by cobra?

I had heard that the newer WS boats made in Asia are not as good as expected so i assume no cobra or bad info.
  Posted by: old_user on Sep-15-12 9:35 AM (EST)
I assume Cobra builds to whatever quality level the customer wants/asks for, so not all boats coming out of Cobra are built to, say, the same level of standard as the Tideraces coming out of there?
  Posted by: salty on Sep-15-12 4:35 PM (EST)
Cobra won't build bad stuff! They will work with a customer but there's too much pride there to produce something that isn't excellent. That's my experience with them. CEO is a very high integrity man.
  re: no
  Posted by: old_user on Sep-15-12 9:17 PM (EST)
I'm not saying they'll build bad stuff, just varying degrees of 'good/great'. I do assume cost is a factor for some boat makers they work with.

If others in the thread are to believed, Tiderace does some proprietary stuff with Cobra that other boat makers who work with Cobra are not privy to. That alone woud make Tideraces better (or at least different) than other boats coming out of Cobra.

  Not strictly speaking
  Posted by: No_Kayak on Sep-16-12 4:51 AM (EST)
Cobra are an OEM manufacturer. A brand will provide them specification of the product and Cobra will build it to that specification. Assuming Cobra does an equal job for everybody when building products to its customers' specifications, any differences in their quality will be down to design, rather than Cobra.

As a large generalisation, if a Necky boat is better than an Arrow or Tiderace one, or vice versa, it's going to be down to the design provided to Cobra rather than Cobra's ability or desire to build it to spec.

Cobra themselves don't just build kayaks, they make a large percentage of the world's supply of surf boards, full scale yachts and composite parts for people such as Ferrari and Audi. It's about as far as you can get from a couple of guys in a shed that's the tradition in sea kayak building, such is the norm with some of the well known British manufacturers.
  that's pretty much what I thought
  Posted by: old_user on Sep-16-12 5:04 AM (EST)
Thanks for confirming.

  Again, I agree
  Posted by: salty on Sep-16-12 4:57 PM (EST)
I can look anyone in the eye and say that the Necky product built there is vastly superior to any Necky EVER made be that Canada or USA. Not even close. I suspect Tiderace is likewise an excellent build. FYI Cobra builds for Surftech as well as most windsurf boards worldwide.

I suspect as well that the Tiderace issues spoken of on this thread are probably pre-Cobra built boats.
  I agree with your words
  Posted by: salty on Sep-15-12 4:32 PM (EST)
Same with Necky boats. Lay-ups vary per boat, need etc. Even process varies based on materials etc. As you apparently know these epoxy post cured laminates can take insane abuse far in excess of most other brands. This is due to materials, type of resins, and superb build and engineering. Every boat layup is documented in a cad spec sheet with precise dimensions etc. I miss my time over there and look back with the utmost respect for Cobra and their workers. Folk need to understand that they are the polar OPPOSITE of the China gig!

And again neither of us are knocking the Brit made boats, which have stood the test of time and clearly are fine. Folk should buy what they enjoy paddling.
  Posted by: suiram on Sep-17-12 9:54 AM (EST)
You are quite familiar with the manufacturing process, so YOUR reply would be quite eye opening for most

Would you mind posting the number of man-hours involved in manufacturing of an advanced post cure hull, and your best estimate of price if the same hull were done in the US?
  When I was involved
  Posted by: salty on Sep-17-12 12:28 PM (EST)
There we approximately 70 hours of labor in a Cobra built Necky. I know one Brit manufacturer claims his lads can build a boat in a day and a half? To devote that level of attention state side would add huge cost and make the boats too costly As is Cobra was a lot costlier than China. I know that in the case of Necky, neither Stoddard Aerospace, nor Fast Passage could build boats cheap enough to satisfy management or the market, so they were brought in house to Old Town where they were thrown together, cost saved, etc.. After some really poor results they were outsourced to Cobra where they went from crap to world class. I'd own one now! So, however anyone feels about outsourcing the bottom line is a far superior boat for a reasonable cost. In this case it was outsource or drop composites altogether. I suspect so for Confluence as well.
As I said earlier, I'd opt to build here to those same levels and charge an extra grand a kayak, which is what it would probably be. I'd choose that based on my personal beliefs. If I loved a given Brit boat or Kiwi boat etc, I'd buy it and know it's just fine.
My input here is only to share real world experience about Cobra and the quality prduced there. Also the choice of adhesives and resins are top notch.
  thanks (NM)
  Posted by: suiram on Sep-17-12 1:05 PM (EST)

  A salute to Valley Canoe
  Posted by: jaybabina on Sep-05-12 7:47 AM (EST)
There are many design standards that we take for granted or expect in quality kayaks and the greater percentage of them came from Valley Canoe which was founded in 1970 by Frank Goodman who was the first to paddle the Cape of Good Horn.

1. Fiberglass (glassed in) bulkheads. This is a great attention to detail and a commitment to a unionized structure.
2. Recessed cockpit coaming. This was not done for rolling but because it was a better design to not raise the cockpit lip any higher than necessary. Another commitment to design detail and concern about reentering a kayak.
3. Recessed deck fittings. To keep anything from interfering with a paddlers trying to reenter their boat, the fittings were recessed. This is not just design but a knowledge about advanced kayaking skills and reentries.
4. Deck lines. Many kayaks during those early times only had bungees to carry things and a disregard for a paddler who might be in the water. BTW – the bungees were simple parallel lines (no criss cross) so chart reading would be easy.
5. The Day Hatch. This mandated an additional bulkhead and allows a paddler to open it up at sea without jeopardizing the integrity of the internal bulkhead design kayak.
6. Deck mounted pump. Although this is debatable or subject to personal preference, the advanced safety thinking and commitment were there. You could pump your boat out with the spray skirt on. You could not pump another boat out however, at that time in England, everyone had a Valley boat.
7. Molded in seats. Many kayaks of that early era flopped in a piece of foam and gave the seat a haphazard priority. The molded in seat also caused the birth of the seat struts that act like hip bracing. In hanging a seat off the bottom, they actually created hip stops in the process.
8. The Retractable Skeg. All manufactured fiberglass kayaks now have them.
9. The Compass Recess.
10. Last and far from least is the famous VCP hatch. Hatches that didn’t leak. Hatches that you could open and close easily and hatch covers that float and require no additional hardware. There were a few British kayaks that had hatches like the screw on cap on a jar of tomato sauce but Valley set the standard which in my opinion has been copied but never equaled.
  Posted by: wavespinner on Sep-05-12 7:58 AM (EST)
  Valley does deserve a ton of credit...
  Posted by: old_user on Sep-05-12 8:33 AM (EST)
...and it's extremely hard to argue otherwise.

  But I thought
  Posted by: Seadddict on Sep-05-12 11:42 AM (EST)
D.H. did all that... ;-)
  Good List; Chimp Pump, Q-boat trivia
  Posted by: gstamer on Sep-15-12 6:48 AM (EST)

I agree with your list with the exception of one very minor nitpick. My '98 Anas Acuta is still fitted with an original Chimp pump. The original hose supplied is long enough that you can easily remove it from underneath the seat and use it to pump out another kayak. I have done this many times. The only modification that I did was to add a strum box (which should have been supplied as original equipment) .

At some point did VCP shorten the intake hose? While many owners did this as a modification, I always liked having the ability to pump out another kayak.

As a bit of trivia to this thread, I was responsible for giving the "Q-boat" its name. Stan Chladek approached me and asked for a Greenlandic name for the design. I gave him the name "Qajariaq" which is what modern Greenlanders call a glass kayak. It means "like a (SOF Greenlandlic) kayak". This eventually got shortened to "Q-boat" as first Valley spelled the name wrong, and then they realized that no one could pronounce it :)

When VCP asked me for my advice on designing the Qajariaq I strongly urged them to consider making an even lower volume version of the Anas Acuta (something like a Tahe Greenland that didn't exist at the time), arguing that the Anas Actua was already too big (for the Greenland rolling crowd, anyway).

Greg Stamer
  Trying to see this in a positive light..
  Posted by: old_user on Sep-07-12 9:22 AM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Sep-07-12 9:28 AM EST --

Thinking on it more, it may be that Valley was simply clearing out the 'dead brush'/duplicative/poor-seller boats out of the lineup, in order to make room for some new blood.

The Pintail has its fans, but the new Gemini SP playboat (whenever it finally shows up) may be more 'generally acceptable' as a playboat for larger-than-Avocet ppl, i.e. less squirrelly.

The Aquanaut was largely duplicated by the Etain, and additionally, the Gemini ST is coming. If the 'Naut had remained, Valley would've had quite the glut of 'newbie-friendly' touring boats.

And the Q-Boat? Did anyone actually buy those? I've never even seen one.

So one possibility is that in '013, or soon thereafter, Valley will want to bring out some new boats, beyond the Geminis. Candidates?

Perhaps a new Greenland-style boat for larger-than-Anas-Acuta ppl, and also, a 'fast expedition boat' in the vein of the Epic 18X/Rockpool Taran (the Rapier seems to be 'too much ski, not enough sea kayak'/not stable enough).

Both those boats would probably come in multiple sizes and in multiple materials, as is common for Valley.

So, to avoid making a zillion different boats, some of the old ones had to go. Sayonora Pintail, Aquanaut, and the rest, you'll be missed.

(Just doin' my Nostradamus impression.)

  Too many models
  Posted by: jaybabina on Sep-07-12 9:40 AM (EST)
What happens in manufacturing is if you have too many models, you are actually competing with yourself. You force dealers to have to stock too many models which turns off dealers and is costly for them, and it produces indecisiveness in the consumer and could possibly make them look elsewhere. It's best to just have the winners because it makes life easy for the dealers and consumers as well. Plus you are not carrying excessive inventory and maintaining tooling (molds) that don't get used or rarely.

One thing Valley learned from NDK is that people want initial stability. Valley's old line up demanded more skills whereas an Explorer could actually be used by someone who never paddled in their life and they would feel comfortable.
  Very True
  Posted by: Kudzu on Sep-07-12 10:06 AM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Sep-07-12 11:21 AM EST --

One of my kayak buddies is considering selling his QCC700. Besides wanting to switch from a rudder to a skeg, he wants something with more initial stability. This is after at least five or six years of owning the thing.

  Posted by: slushpaddler on Sep-07-12 11:34 AM (EST)
Same thing happens to auto manufacturers. But they keep repeating the mistake.

FWIW though, I thought the aquanaut and pintail were relatively stable?
  re: stable
  Posted by: old_user on Sep-07-12 9:49 PM (EST)
I understand that the Pintail's stable enough, but it apparently doesn't track well unless you're experienced/very smooth, i.e. it's 'squirrelly'.

I agree with the point further above that Valley in general might be moving towards boats that are lower down on the learning curve/are more 'newbie friendly'. Pintail got cut, Nordkapp Classic got cut.

Aquanaut is newb-friendly, but seems to have been more a victim of duplication (Etain and Gemini ST).

My guesses, anyway... Valley doesn't talk much about why they do stuff. Heck, they can't even update their website.
  not bad
  Posted by: NateHanson on Sep-15-12 9:48 AM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Sep-15-12 9:53 AM EST --

Having paddled hundreds of miles in both a Pintail and an Aquanaut, I'd say they have decent stability, but less primary than most. Certainly less than something like a Romany, Explorer, Cetus, Tempest, etc. They have a very slight v-bottom, so there's a slight wiggle when sitting flat. This is only really a concern for a newer paddler though, IMO, and quickly becomes an asset in the form of more intuitive edging and control.

I'll be sorry to see the Aquanaut discontinued. I think it's a really great boat. Fast enough, but easily maneuverable on edge, and in rough conditions. Carries a ton of stuff, but never feels high-volume. I expect I'll keep mine for a very long time.

The Pintail is mostly an interesting piece of paddling history these days, IMO. I spent years in one, and enjoyed it, but there are now boats that fill that niche far better. Modern ocean-play boats are faster, more forgiving, more maneuverable, and carry a load better. The Delphin, for example, does everything that the Pintail could do, but better.

  Glad to Hear it
  Posted by: Kudzu on Sep-16-12 9:39 AM (EST)
I've always heard good things about the Pintail when it came to wind and waves but I never paddled one. It's good to know that people consider a boat like the Alchemy to be superior... since I picked one up for a song last year!
  Jay's onto something...
  Posted by: old_user on Sep-10-12 8:29 AM (EST)
"What happens in manufacturing is if you have too many models, you are actually competing with yourself. You force dealers to have to stock too many models which turns off dealers and is costly for them, and it produces indecisiveness in the consumer and could possibly make them look elsewhere. It's best to just have the winners because it makes life easy for the dealers and consumers as well."

Good points, and interestingly, I just read an article in a psychology magazine that largely echoes them.

Basically, they performed studies where groups of consumers were given either 4 choices, 24 choices, or 64 choices.

The larger the number of choices, the more indecisive consumers were, and the less satisfied they were with whatever they eventually picked.

While the study didn't explicitly say so, the gist I got was that a 'grass is always greener' effect occurred, where if there were a TON of choices, consumers started to prioritize finding/making the 'perfect' choice (which may not even exist) over just getting the shopping over and done with and enjoying the item.

When the selection process becomes more important than the having/using/enjoying, something's amiss.

  Posted by: old_user on Sep-10-12 9:08 AM (EST)
I agree. Especially in a market where most customers just need to pick ONE boat for their needs and their life will depend on this choice.
  Posted by: sitka on Sep-15-12 11:16 AM (EST)
i wouldn't have thought the discontinuation of a few models by Valley would've generated this much discussion. Other manufacturers discontinue models all the time with barely a peep.

I love the Valley line and am innately skeptical of the boats that are coming out of Asia as I have seen some interesting quirks, although they could also be driven by the manufacturers. My favorite was when a wave slammed into the coaming of a Tidrace (I don't recall which model) and later I noticed, much to my friends dismay, that the coaming was covered with cracks radiating out from the inside of the coaming to the outside of the lip.

I've never had any problems with Valley boats. I find their build to be top notch and that it really sucks up the abuse - I have the extra heavy layup on my Anas Acuta and I've crashed it HARD! I'm more intrigued by the trend to lighter and lighter boats. Perhaps the Brit makers consider that their home audience waters are brutal with many pointy rocks and are home to one of the largest whirlpools in the world, the Coryvreckan. I've found with many of the lighter boats - Tiderace, Sterling and such - that it's much easier for me to damage them through normal normal use anyway.
  interesting to hear
  Posted by: slushpaddler on Sep-15-12 4:53 PM (EST)
...comparisons between Valley and other boats with lighter layups. I'd like to hear more on this.

I think the reason for the numerous responses is based on the heritage of the manufacturer and the particular models.
  That's strange...
  Posted by: old_user on Sep-15-12 9:30 PM (EST)
"I love the Valley line and am innately skeptical of the boats that are coming out of Asia as I have seen some interesting quirks, although they could also be driven by the manufacturers. My favorite was when a wave slammed into the coaming of a Tidrace (I don't recall which model) and later I noticed, much to my friends dismay, that the coaming was covered with cracks radiating out from the inside of the coaming to the outside of the lip.

I've never had any problems with Valley boats. I find their build to be top notch and that it really sucks up the abuse - I have the extra heavy layup on my Anas Acuta and I've crashed it HARD! I'm more intrigued by the trend to lighter and lighter boats.

Perhaps the Brit makers consider that their home audience waters are brutal with many pointy rocks and are home to one of the largest whirlpools in the world, the Coryvreckan. I've found with many of the lighter boats - Tiderace, Sterling and such - that it's much easier for me to damage them through normal normal use anyway."

That's odd... while I don't know what it was like in their earliest days, the Tideraces being built now or recently have a reputation for being some of the most bombproof boats out there.

And they're not light either (Xplore-L is 60 lbs, for example... 9 lbs heavier than what Valley claims for a Nordkapp). TR almosts seems to take pride in that. =\

  One swallow doesn't make a summer
  Posted by: No_Kayak on Sep-16-12 10:14 AM (EST)
As a retailer, the last new Valley boat we got was the Etain 17-7. This weighed 29.5kg (65lbs) with hatches when checked in the store.

I wouldn't believe for one second the 23kg (50lbs) weight advertised for standard layups (even bearing in mind this figure does not include the hatches).

P&H, Tiderace and NDK tend to be much more realistic with weights.
  But as a retailer...
  Posted by: old_user on Sep-16-12 12:45 PM (EST) don't think that Tideraces are 'fragile/light' either, as the gentleman I was responding to stated, do you? 60 lbs is still a lot of boat.

(btw, brutal weight on that 17-7 Etain. SK magazine reviewed that boat, and theirs came in @61 1/2 lbs).

  etain 17.5
  Posted by: donmb on Sep-16-12 4:08 PM (EST)
Out of curiosity, I weighed my March 2011 built etain 17.5 (bought from store stock -don't think it was any special layup).

Without covers or pod thing, I got 55lbs. The covers + hatch weigh about 5.5lbs, so about ~60lbs total.
  Valley's weighing policy
  Posted by: old_user on Sep-21-12 11:22 PM (EST)
Have to say, Valley's thing of giving weights without the hatch covers included is pretty shady.

I mean, is it like you'd ever use the boat WITHOUT hatch covers? o_0

What's next, the weight with the seat removed? The skeg?

  "There's nothing like a Valley"
  Posted by: wilsoj2 on Sep-22-12 12:03 PM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Sep-22-12 3:47 PM EST --

I am sad to hear of the end of the Pintail and Aquanaut. For me the Pintail epitomizes the Valley feel and look. Even the Aquanaut feels more fluid in the water than many newer 'friendlier' boats. The Pintail is the most fluid feeling boat I've ever paddled. It seems one with the water. Both the Avocet and Aquanaut derive from the Pintail hull section. As Nate notes, Valley boats tended to have lower primary stability than the newer boats.

Thankfully Valley is keeping many of the Nordkapp models. The Nordkapp LV is more demanding than most manufacturers would market these days. I find mine the greatest fun when I am up for it.

My Aquanaut is my go to, do everything boat. I've been paddling it for years and prefer it to any other 17'+ touring boat I've paddled.

I haven't paddled an Etain, but it seems that Valley is moving away from the distinctive Valley feel that earned the praise "There's nothing like a Valley."

  Pintail: aka The Glass Slipper
  Posted by: sternsquirt on Oct-01-12 9:04 PM (EST)
Pintail is a great boat. I picked up a used classic ocean cockpit Turquoise over white with black trim. I'm a beefy guy, my Romany and Exporers both fit much better, but nothing looked as good on the water as the Pintail.

I decided which ever girl fit best in my Pintail and paddled it best is the girl I would marry.

So my friends called my Pintail The Glass Slipper.

It's been 15 years and I'm still married to the girl that best fit the Glass Slipper.
  great point about the nordkapp
  Posted by: slushpaddler on Oct-03-12 3:16 PM (EST)
  Nothing like a Valley
  Posted by: jay on Oct-09-12 6:42 PM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Oct-09-12 10:29 PM EST --

My favorite boat is an Aquanaut lv compostite(not to
be confused with the plastic version) and really feels
responsive, quite maneuverable on edge which surprised
me where the standard aquanaut is stiffer tracking.
Also laying on the back deck there was nothing in the
way, the cockpit combing is recessed quite low and rolls so easy. The cockpit also fit a bit tighter
then a cetus lv or TD Xplore s. Really feels like it's between a
Std aquanaut and an avocet but fits tighter. Liked this boat so much
sold my xplore s and bought one. Also another thing
I didn't like about tiderace boats was the cockpit
combing really dug into my back when doing laybacks,
even with the tiderace xcite s I had the same problem.

  Posted by: kwikle on Oct-03-12 3:52 PM (EST)
While I am loosely affiliated w/ tiderace, valley kayaks are a huge part of the introduction of recreational paddle sports. The first sea kayak I hand rolled was an aquanaut lv. While I don't personally care for their more recent models, like Derek Hutchinson, frank goodman put a ton of people in cool boats. I hope they hold onto the molds.

For dealers it is hard to be a valley dealer when you have to stock that many models. Slimming down the line could be good for the brand.

Hope they have good luck with the strategy.
  Tide race
  Posted by: old_user on Oct-04-12 1:40 PM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Nov-21-12 11:28 PM EST --

I've seen a few Tiderace boats and sat in one. I did however see a BRAND NEW tide race last month that was sent to a shop for a repair from damage inn shipping, nothing major. What was clearly visible was that the hull had indents at every bulkhead. In speaking to the owner of the shop, who also builds boats, his opinion was the indents came from the bulkheads being too big. When they insert the bulkheads and the hull shrinks in curing, it indents on either side of the slightly too large bulkheads. Not what I would call great workmanship whether Cobra is using the specs from Tiderace or their own construction methods, apparently this could be prevented by reducing the size of the bulkhead slightly.

I've owned two Cetus MVs in the past 2 years. Both were reasonably well built, one was a lightweight layup and one is an expedition layup. Both have excellent fabric layup and paint, but neither was flawless by any stretch of the imagination. I've found enough blemishes and rough spots on both boats and have had plenty of small little issues such as the tab holding the rear hatch cover leash coming off (tab goes around skeg "rope" housing so it wasn't lost but it needs to be repaired for the skeg to work best and stay straight. Thankfully I rarely need it.

In my experience, the overall finish of valley boats has been pretty good inside and out, I'd say as good or better than my Cetus.

No flames, just a few observations of a few boats.

  Posted by: old_user on Oct-04-12 1:44 PM (EST)
I am surprised the Aquanaut is going, is a good boat and not really comparable to sizes I've seen/sat in of the etain. Maybe they have a size or two coming out to complete that line.
  think of all the various 'naut models
  Posted by: slushpaddler on Oct-04-12 2:37 PM (EST)
It's more than just discontinuing one boat.
  Posted by: old_user on Oct-05-12 8:48 AM (EST)
By getting rid of all the Aquanaut models (except the Club), Valley eliminated five boats right there.

  Posted by: bowler1 on Oct-07-12 8:04 AM (EST)
Certainly a good boat, but I can see why Valley would discontinue it in many ways.

As many have stated here, they are offering many overlapping niches. The Etain seems to fill a similar niche. Additionall, I think they really want to push this boat and prioritize its sales over their older models.

Additionally, despite how good one feels the Aquanaut is, it does not seem to have gained in popularity compared to the ever poplular Explorer. This is not me saying that the Explorer is a better boat, but it is just a lot more popular and seems that the Aquanaut just did not compete well with it in terms of popularity from my perspective.

Last thought...not sure if Valley is under new management or if they perhaps decided to call in a consulting firm or something like that, but reducing the number of models you offer is often a smart business decision. It is in line with the concept of lean manufacturing, etc. thus reducing operating costs and most likely increasing your bottom line. Offering too many models and too many options is not efficient from a business persepctive in most cases.

  see rest of thread
  Posted by: old_user on Oct-07-12 11:31 AM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Oct-07-12 12:20 PM EST --

Yup, many ppl have made excellent comments along the same lines.



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