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Valley's Discontinuing A Lot of Boats

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
Q-Boat
Nordkapp Classics – old HM & HS versions


More at: http://solentseakayaking.co.uk/2012/08/valley-reduces-range-of-sea-kayaks/


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Comments

  • Discontinuing the Pintail?
    Now THAT'S a travesty!
  • Options
    Q-boat
    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....
    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
    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 .
  • Hmmm
    -- 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.

  • wow, this sounds pretty bad
    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?
    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.
  • marketing
    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)!
  • If you can get a deal...
    ..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.
  • Options
    re: Hmm...
    "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.


  • Options
    Deadline- August 31st
    -- 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.

  • Options
    Ka Ching
    my Pintail (and yours), just got a little more valuable...
  • Yes... Competing Products
    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.
  • Options
    Surprised...
    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?


  • Pintail v Avocet
    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.
  • Naut mourning
    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!
  • Options
    End of an era
    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 ...
    ... and cars ... and many other British made items. But where can you find better made or designed sea kayaks?
  • Many Years Ago
    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.
  • Options
    End of an era? How so?
    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
    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
  • Lots of places, of course
    Or were you joking.
  • Might have been a
    Short Brothers - made in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Short_Brothers
  • Options
    Better made?
    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
    Sorry
  • Options
    Really?
    Don't hold your breath
  • Well, yes ...
    ... 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.
  • Said "maybe" ...
    ... Did not agree. You may want to respond up the thread to any perceived slam on Brit made products.

  • Gold Standard?
    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?
    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 ...
    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.
  • They really not similar at all
    I've paddled both and they're completely different boats.
  • Just one?
    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.
  • Options
    To confuse matters further...
    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.

  • You asked for an example
    And I gave you one. QCC has always been known for quality construction. And as you say, you know nothing about them.
  • A "Brit made boat"
    is not a Thai made boat. The issue was originally posed as quality of British built boats.
  • Options
    of course...
    ...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. =]

  • Agreed...
    "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.
  • QCC vs all Brit boats!
    -- 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"!

  • design
    The QCC is an engineering exercise. It may be a nice piece but it's not very exciting.

  • it's simple
    The pintail was a porsche boxster

    The aquanaut was a porsche...cayenne.
  • Wide Variety of Boats
    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?
    -- 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?

  • So? Not seeing your point ...
    ... 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.



  • Options
    hey now...
    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. =]

  • I'm no engineer ...
    ... 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.


  • What cool aid?
    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.
  • My Valley ...
    ... 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.
  • Regulations ...
    ... 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.
  • Options
    is it regulation...
    ...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.

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