This is one gorgeous looking SOT. It's about 17 or 18 feet and 24.25" wide and yet under 55 lbs, so not only is it super fast in the water, I can easily car top it on my own. This is a very well designed kayak. Though it is not for beginners, and I wouldn't recommend it in very wavy ocean swells, it is a heck of a lot more stable than a Surfski (and definitely more stable than a Kestrel SOT) and yet is almost as fast as one. It is comfortable and the hatches are water tight. It comes with a huge tank well in the back with a net, but I took out the net and replaced it with a bungy cord which is more practical. The Zone tracks very well, but if the current or wind is strong, the rudder works beautifully well. I appreciate this kayak as it allows me to perform the same stroke as I would on a Surfski for a full body workout, yet it has the characteristics of a kayak because it is one (good storage space, more stability. Due to my lack of agility at my older age it's almost impossible to find a sit inside that I feel comfortable getting into its cockpit. But it took me a long time to find an SOT that is fun to paddle (fast) and yet stable enough for me. Since I live in Florida I could paddle it all year long! Did I mention that this kayak is a head turner on the beach? Cons? In rough water it could be tippy, so it's not for beginners. It took me a couple of weekends but then I got used to it and now I love it. the fact that it originally felt a little tippy made me into a better kayaker. I also learned to point the tip of the kayak into the waves. Overall, I give it an 8.
Due to some short-term health issues I have been unable to spend too much time on the water this season. However, I have gotten out enough to share the following observations thus far: This is a well built boat. Very good fit and finish. Hatches are very well constructed--rear tank well is open with a net--well engineered, but a hatch might have been better. Initially, I found the boat to be very tippy compared to the OK Prowler with its soft chined hull. However, after a few minutes and some lose hips that feeling dissipates. This is a very fast boat--almost surf-ski like. It is designed for fast long distance touring. It does not turn exceptionally well, but for its length and hull design it performs as intended.
I replaced the existing rudder control system with the Smart Track Toe Pilots. After some major re-engineering (a long story) they were installed and greatly improved my ability to handle the boat. My center of gravity was lowered with the addition of 1-2" of leg extension and now having the benefit of a firm brace point for the feet is key.
If you are tall and/or are looking for a higher performance SOT this could be the boat for you. Other than a handful of the more "exotic"/ boutique SOTs from S. Africa, this is probably one of your best choices.
The biggest issue with the Zone is it turns like the Queen Mary, even with the rudder. I'm sure experience would improve that, but not enough to paddle up the Weeki Wachi.