Very Cool New Petrel Play

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:!i=2167785514&k=MbX4Mm8&lb=1&s=XL

Cheers from southern New England,


Thanks for the pics!
Great to see the modified Petral. I paddle a Tempest 165 and a NDK Romany but will build a modified Petrel (cedar strip) this winter as well to bring the weight down to 40 lbs.


I’d be interested in seeing a paddling comparison to the Pygmy Tern 14, which has the same length and beam and a good reputation for rough-water play.

Why do “play” kayaks like this have to carry over “non-play” features like sharp bows and sterns? These things just lock you into a straight line in an uncntrollable torpedo path down a wave, while most of the time they are above the water so they don’t help with tracking when just paddling…

Food for thought…

amen to that
Now, here is a fun winter project - take something like Delphin and do a stitch and glue approximation.

Well, good point. Here’s my take: it’s a 14 foot sea kayak. It is not designed to be operated solely in a shore break environment or be a white water boat. It is suited to get to the action from the launch point efficiently across several miles of ocean environment. Many tidal races are off-shore as are our reef breaks. The design compromises some to get you there still in the company of the inherently faster long boats in your pod, but provide way more maneuverability and less pearling in the play zone. In addition, in a tide race, as you are likely aware, some considerable velocity is required to exceed the opposing current sufficiently to acquire the wave and surf. That is hard enough in a long boat, a little harder still in a 14 footer, and in a severely blunted craft it can be exhausting. It is said many times in these boards, kayak design is all about compromises.

Case in point.

Best Regards,


Yeah, I know …
Just wished someone who knows their stuff would do something like the prototype Salty shared a while ago, with a surf board like front and the length of a short sea kayak. And take it beyond the prototype. At least share plans if not produce it… I’ve been tempted to melt the bow and stern bottom edges of my Delphin and make it look like a slalom boat in the front and rear … -:wink: but then I think I’d be better off just getting a used slalom boat at 1/3 the weight for surfing those steep river waves that sharp bows so like to get locked in …

Just ranting, never mind… If I had the time, I would probably build the Petrel Play for my own use on the river and the occasional trip on the Bay. Being a stitch and glue would make it a relatively quick project, once the kits become available (only plans for now).

just go order and ship it over:

A bit shorter at 12’ but for nearer shore reef breaks and/or races that you seem to be talking about.



– Last Updated: Oct-26-12 6:47 AM EST –

If you not too attached to wearing skirts and drysuits, this is another option:

The Revision is actually a safer option for those who indulge in solo play in the rough because it is rollable as well as easily more scramble-able (without the need for pumping).


To resurrect this thread - tried Play …
Tried the Petrel Play today, along with the other 2 Petrels. There were some small waves to catch and all thre did a very good job of it. The bigger Petrels are, as expected, noticeably faster (top speed) than the small Play, but the Play is more maneuverable and still very eager to surf.

All of them were extremely quick to accelerate and hatch waves. Probably due to the light weight. My 70lb or so Nordkapp RM was faster but these definitely surfed better.

The Play, when I first sat in it, felt rather wide and almost too stable. But once on a wave that’s not a bad thing - stays high and with a good edge the ends release for a quick turn. Stays well on egde. Rolls easy too. Best of all - rather light-weight and with plenty of leg and foot room for a tall paddler. Tracks well for a short kayak that is supposed to be playful, yet maneuvers easy.

Could not tell much about how it responds to wind, but I suspect that a skeg would be nice to have (the one on display I think did not have a skeg) for longer crossing.

That said, has anyone taken the Play to currents? How does it do there? Also, can it carve turns on the inside edge when surfing (not enough of a wave today to try that)?