Had a chance to try Nick Schade's play version of his plenty playful 17 ft X 20 inch Petrel at the Autumn Gales Symposium off Napatree RI last weekend. What is not to like about the stitch and glue Play? Very smooth and comfortable to paddle. Long water line for its length (14 feet). Built for surfing and tide race zooming. The Explorer is fun in a tide race, but this is a new experience for me in a sea kayak. Highly maneuverable, stable, reasonably fast, and little tendency to bow bury. And, it rolls like a log - great laybacks. Harry Whalen (Brit coach with fastest time around Ireland) is pictured and said he just loved it, wishing he could have tried it in even bigger surf. I'll be building one this winter and selling my old Explorer, which I will miss, but can no longer handle the weight. My Play will have a skeg - I'd recommend that be considered by any builder.
For a pic of Harry and the Play, starting at #74:
Cheers from southern New England,