To Chad and Magooch; My assumption, due to Valleys QA/QC standards, is that Valley shipped a boat with a straight keel and that it was damaged during shipping.
When a manufacturer ships goods, either by ship, truck or rail, the shipping company then assumes responsibility for those goods and any damage to them. When those goods are delivered the receiver is responsible for inspecting them and accepting them or rejecting them and filing a claim with the shipper. Once the goods are accepted the responsibility falls solely on the receiver, in this case the retailer. What does happen to poly boats is that they get placed in the top tier on a ship (which is not supposed to happen as that is in the shipping directions)due to their light weight and the container gets HOT! I've seen the end result of this a time or too. Unfortunately, the damage is not always so obvious and a few may end up accepted by said retailer. It would be unreasonable for Valley to be held responsible due to improper shipping. Those are the stone cold facts of shipping reality.
To get to the questions about composite boats vs plastic; The prevailing idea that plastic boats wear better than composite is not entirely accurate. As some of the other folks here know, I'm extraordinarily hard on my equipment and have a tendency to bash my composite boats off of rocks...hard (Valley guality = tough boat, they didn't get that reputation for nothing). I do have to repair the damage from time to time - something you can't do with layered boats, generally speaking. Also, I've dragged it across rocks and barnacles with little to no damage to the hull. If there is damage, I can repair it.
Plastic boats have a bit of give and are preferred by some for rock gardening as the can absorb blows that will damage composite boats, which is why it has become the preferred material for WW boats though there are still composite WW boats on the market. The soft material, though will shave, away quickly when dragged across sharp objects...like oyster shells.