Valley Gemini Duo

Discussion in 'Gear Talk' started by Jurfie, Apr 4, 2012.

  1. Jurfie

    Jurfie Paddler

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    Saw it first in an ad in Coast&Kayak magazine; seached Valley's website, but nothing seems to be posted yet.

    Valley is releasing two similar (yet different) new, shortish (14'-10") boats; one tailored for surf & rock-hopping, one for light touring. Dubbed the Gemini twins, these look pretty interesting...anyone seen/heard anything about them? I can't find specs online, other than what is mentioned in this video on YouTube.

    [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fjHzA3UEL6A[/youtube]
     
  2. rider

    rider Paddler

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    If they make the rock hopper version out of plastic, I'd be interested. First time I saw a mention of the model was on Rob Avery's FB(he's the Pacific Northwest rep for Valley)
     
  3. Peter-CKM

    Peter-CKM Paddler

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    There will be at least one of them at Bay Area Paddlefest (large demo event in northern California in 2 weeks - http://thebayareapaddlefest.org/). Presumably it will be the one that Rob Avery had on his FB page.

    I am guessing it is easier/cheaper for a manufacturer to make a small run of boats in composite instead of plastic, which is why these are composite. I think the playful one of the twins would work fine for tide races, where the chance of whacking into rocks may be lower. But I agree on preferring plastic for use in rock gardens. Surfing could go either way, depending on the area (if the surf breaks onto a beach or rocks, then bad, but if it is caused by waves going over a reef and peters out into deep water, then composites would be fine).

    The version aimed at women likely is better as composite, as one of the main goals seems to be to bring the weight down to make it easier for women to transport.
     
  4. NewbTastic

    NewbTastic Paddler

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    The Valley Gemini is relevant to my interests. :cool:

    But echoing Peter's comments on the weight, I saw an ad for it recently, and Valley's claiming that the touring one will weigh only 35 lbs.

    While that'd be great for easy car-topping, just how durable would a boat that light be? :shock:

    The Gemini is a smaller boat, yes, but at just shy of 15 feet, it isn't some midget rec kayak.
     
  5. NewbTastic

    NewbTastic Paddler

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    Btw, here's a couple of pics of the Gemini SP (the playboat one).

    Looks almost like they might have a rotomold version after all, but it's hard to tell, for me anyway.


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  6. NewbTastic

    NewbTastic Paddler

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    Friend of mine saw the Gemini in-person at the Bay Area Paddlefest this weekend.

    The lowdown n' dirty he got from speaking with the Valley folks and local Valley dealers:

    * The light-tourer version should be coming in @37lbs, not 35. Still amazingly light though.
    * Anticipated price is $2750 US.
    * Anticipated widespread-availability in the US is somewhere around June or thereabouts.
    * No rotomold version for quite awhile, if ever. That goes for both Geminis, 'parently. :(

    He also sat in one and said it had a 'semi-modern' cockpit position, i.e. legs/knees a little bit higher and closer together than is traditional with the old-school 'frog legs' splayed position.

    This now seems like a very interesting boat for me, though with the short waterline-length seems unlikely it'd be a speed demon or would be able to hold tons and tons of stuff. But not everyone wants or needs an expedition boat.

    And this thing'd be so easy to car-top for a quick run after work. :)
     
  7. NewbTastic

    NewbTastic Paddler

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    Some pics:
     

    Attached Files:

  8. WaterMark

    WaterMark Paddler

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  9. bryantb

    bryantb Paddler

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    I paddled the SP briefly at the Bay Area Paddlefest over the weekend. It felt like advertised: hard chine/high rocker making it extremely playful and responsive. The cockpit is definitely a little larger/more comfortable than most Valleys, but still plenty of purchase for your knees. The surprising thing is the speed - it cruises much easier than I expected. We were on flat water but I would expect it to surf really well - the rocker profile is fairly consistent and there's a fair bit of volume in the nose.

    Having spent a fair bit of time in the Delphin (and a little in the Aries), I found the Genimi to feel like a smaller boat in its responsiveness - the Delphin has a lot of nose sticking out of the water and its a lot heavier, especially the surf layup. The Delphin is super maneuverable but the Gemini is snappier. The composite Gemini definitely feels easier on the flats but not quite sure how that will translate onto the wave - the Delphin might ride longer/shallower waves better.

    While I know a number of people are hoping for a plastic Gemini for rock gardening, I think it's unlikely and unnecessary. I don't think a plastic boat could replicate the shape well enough, and it would have to be significantly heavier for the same stiffness. If you look at the Delphin/Aries combo from P&H they turn out to be quite different boats when you paddle them. The Gemini felt like a really solid build and ready to take on the rocks as is - people have been rock gardening in composites for years, just takes some skill and care.
     
  10. semdoug

    semdoug Paddler

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    Is the $2750 price point correct? If so, I would be interested to learn how Valley set that price. The Avocet LV at just over a foot longer is typically $3700-3800. From the pictures I see the Gemini does not have the day hatch and related third bulkhead; along with the shorter length that seems like it would save some cost, but $1000 less? Any ideas where the cost savings is coming from? A $2750 composite Valley boat looks pretty attractive.
     
  11. NewbTastic

    NewbTastic Paddler

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    Semdoug, aside from the cost-saving steps you list, my friend also said the Valley folks mentioned something about a 'new production process' that was being used for the Gemini. He either wasn't given or didn't ask for any details, but it may be another reason why it's significantly less expensive.

    And I certainly agree, that's an attractive price and if Valley can hold to it, they should sell a lot of Geminis. I'm guessing Valley needed something at that price point, to go up against the cheaper composite boats and thermoform ABS boats in the market.
     
  12. NewbTastic

    NewbTastic Paddler

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    Wow. It's May, and still zilch, zero, nada about the Geminis on Valley's website.

    According to it, it's still "2011 The Year of the Etain". :)
     
  13. Alana

    Alana Wave Seeker

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    Valley builds boats, not websites. When they redesigned their website it was down for half a year (maybe not that long, but you get the point) and on the 'under construction' page, there was a Rockpool Alaw right smack in the middle. :doh:

    Yup, fantastic boats... web not so much.
    [​IMG]
     
  14. NewbTastic

    NewbTastic Paddler

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    Geez. I hope Rockpool at least sent them a 'thank you' note for the free advertising.
     
  15. semdoug

    semdoug Paddler

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    My wife and I both paddled the Gemini SP this past saturday at the Northwest Paddling Festival, it was probably the same black one pictured above. Granted we only had about 10 minutes each in it, seems like a good boat and I would echo bryantb's comments. The strange thing, at least from my perspective, is that both my wife and I liked the Gemini. She is a petite 5'4" and I am a not-so-petite 6' with long legs and we both differ on the type of sea kayak we like. We both liked the fit and the way the boat paddled.
     
  16. NewbTastic

    NewbTastic Paddler

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    I'm so curious now as to the kind of reception these boats will receive once they finally show up, especially the light-touring one.

    Will the low cost (for composite) and low weight make them sell like hotcakes, or will the purist/kayak-snob crowd sniff that "Valley's now making transitional boats" because of the short length and lack of a day-hatch/third bulkhead :?:
     
  17. semdoug

    semdoug Paddler

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    Probably only time and the whims of the sea kayak market will answer your questions. Based on my observations at the paddling festival I would not expect the Gemini to be a hot seller, maybe a decent seller. Granted, this is based only on my time at the Valley booth and next door at the Kayak Academy booth, but the Gemini was not exactly flying off the beach with non-stop test paddlers. Besides me and me wife I only saw two other people trying it and we spent the majority of our time at the fest at these two booths. Not sure why, but I have my suspicions. The Gemini seems like an excellent quiver boat for paddlers or paddling families that have or desire more than one boat. As is suggested by the marketing, this would be a good choice for after work, day trips, or perhaps an overnighter. However, if a paddler is looking for only one kayak, the "it" boat, then there are probably better options in Valley's line. This seems reasonable considering the many choices available in the market and the current economy. It seemed like the Avocet, Etain and maybe the Aquanaut may have been the most popular with test paddlers at the Valley booth.
     
  18. NewbTastic

    NewbTastic Paddler

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    Semdoug, some of the reaction you saw may've been that ppl simply don't know about the Gemini yet.

    It's June now, and there's still NOTHING about it on Valley's site. Haven't seen any official reviews yet either.

    Given the lack of push or buzz, perhaps it won't be available quite as early as they told my friend.
     
  19. NewbTastic

    NewbTastic Paddler

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    Well, almost July (i.e. Q3) and still nuthin'.

    Here's a Q: Would it be a mistake to buy one of the first boats, given that it's a new model, and perhaps the QC (quality-control) might not be dialed-in yet? :?:

    I think Valley is generally good in this regard, but it is a brand-spanking-new model, after all.
     
  20. NewbTastic

    NewbTastic Paddler

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