I’ve had the Polar Bear Expedition Sea Kayak a little while now and have paddled it in various seas, from dead calm through to 5M seas. It’s an expedition boat, not through and through but about 90%. It is large and needs space to be turned. It is more difficult to paddle empty in the wind as it sits up out of the water and the wind can catch it. However fully loaded with gear it is a very different boat.
I paddled out into a head wind of 20Kmh and a swell of1M with a with a wind generated wave of about the same so occasionally I was getting hit by two meter waves with a 20km breeze behind them and it performed flawlessly, I was toddling along at 3.5 to 4 Kph, on flatish water it cruises at 6Kph effortlessly.
On my return I found it hard to catch any of the waves, 1. they were traveling very fast ( about 20-25Kph ) and 2. I think I had too much weight forward, I did however hit a top speed of 13 Kph and I caught and surfed a wave to shore and hit 21 Kph. Getting out through the shore break was quite easy, the boat behaves very well and can be held stationary whilst one waits for the opportune moment, because of the length it’s possible to get the tip of the bow up to 3M off the water when coming off the back of a wave, great fun and handles it well. I’ve bought it in through the surf a couple of times and the length works well in it’s favor as one is able to do a reversing stroke as a wave picks the boat up, enabling the wave to pass under and therefore being able to keep control of the situation. It’s a big boat to be doing 21K’s down a wave in and it broached hard, I managed to get the rudder up and when the wave broke on me I only had one hand on the paddle and had to use my body alone to keep it upright, it’s stability is very good and I didn’t have to bail out.
I feel very confident this is going to be a great boat to own and providing I have the skill levels it’ll keep me safe in very adverse conditions.