Composites are lighter which is nice for car-topping and carrying. Depending on your size and upper strength and your vehicle's size that can be an make or break issue.
Plastic is way more able to take a hit and withstand general boat abuse, dragging around on rocky shoreline, running into underwater rocks, surf landing, etc. You can do all this with a glass boat but you will be doing some fiberglass work to pay for the fun.
A better way to think of a first boat is get something that will work for a couple of years while your skills improve and you find out what kind of stuff you want to paddle. So I would argue for poly being a good choice. Something like a poly Wilderness systems Tempest or Zephyr. If you get out a lot, chances are the boat that feels good now will feel way too big and sluggish in a couple of seasons.
Most people I know started with a poly boat then after a couple of seasons, decided they needed something for racing or big trips or surfing or rock-gardens or tide-rips and bought a glass boat with a more specialized design.
Edited by NickJC (05/24/11 03:36 PM)