Okay Katabalic, I reread you last post and I concur that your friend certainly did the prudent thing. I hurried through your post and focused on only a couple of things.
I really didn't mean to be overly critical of Valley's plastic boats, but I do think that the test I described is valid for any boat of interest. To tell you the truth, I haven't found any longer poly sea kayak that doesn't flex a little. It's just that I was surprised at how much the Valley boats flex.
I also didn't mean to say that being American made should necessarily give any boat preference over boats made in other countries. However, when a realy great boat is built in this country I can't help giving it some extra points. In the case of Novus Composite, they don't need any bonus points to compete with any manufacturer no matter where it is.
Before buying my Expedition, I looked at, demoed, or at least sat in as many sea kayaks as I could find and I spent more than two years in the process. As it turned out, I was able to winnow down the choices to a very small handful. None of the boats I saw, tried, or sat in was perfect and that included the NC. Price was not a high priority, because--well because I have been very fortunate, but that's not the point. I wanted what for me was the best I could find.
In the end, I decided to overlook what I thought might be a couple of weak points on the NC--namely maneuverability and speed issues. I thought I was being objective at the time and that the build quality and ravishing looks of the boat made up for handling. I couldn't have been more wrong. The handling and speed of the boat are more than a match for any other strong asset. I guess this is just me rambling, but I wish that all paddlers could find the boat that satisfies them as much as I have.