Caution, opinionated response!
– Last Updated: Mar-16-05 12:13 AM EST –
All sea kayaks and all sea kayakers need compasses. The more the merrier. There is little that I see as more misguided than a paddler with a $3,000 boat, $400 carbon-fiber crank-shaft paddle, decked out with another $2,000 worth of brand-new misc gear and no compass or chart on their boat. A compass shouldn't be considered an option for a sea kayak, rather the kayak is just an extension of the mount for the compass.
Each of my four sea kayaks (4? shhh, the wife thinks I'm storing boats for friends) are fitted with permanent recessed compasses. I keep an illuminated stap-on in the day hatch for night / low-light work, a base-plate compass in a PFD pocket and another base-plate in the emergency kit.
Mount the compass far enough forward to be useful, close enough amidships to be read easily. In rough conditions you'll have more to worry about than being able to read a compass to an accuracy of less than 15°. CD has a factory-installed compass option ($150?) for a very good Ritchie compass. Buy a $40 strap-on (Suunto Orca?) for night paddling. Keep a $10 base-plate on your PFD. Get a bunch of good charts and practice using the compasses and reading the charts until both become second nature.
PS Enjoy the Extreme, it's a "wicked fast" boat and rolls like a log! Every now and then I regret having sold mine.