Where this boat shines brightest is is in big seas. The low profile helps in wind, and the excellent secondary stability handles nearly any chop/swell combination you can throw at it.
Secondary, but still important considerations include: it's ruggedness; the volume of gear that can be stowed; and maneuverability.
I held back a point for the comfort of the seat, which is low. I use a ThermaRest stadium seat (only partially inflated) to make it tolerable. If anyone has worked out how to swap the seat out for something comfortable please let me know.
In short, I love this boat. Only reason I give it a 7 is that I hate hatch covers with straps & buckles, and the footpegs are very short and narrow, so dig in unless you are wearing very good water shoes. These things I cam live with. Great boat.
I am about 5'10" and 185 lbs and this boat fits me perfectly, although I believe it could also hold a larger paddler quite well. The Narpa tracks well and is responsive to leans and edges. The rudder is a nice addition for windy conditions but is not needed as weather cocking is minimal. Before I owned this boat I had never figured out how to do an Eskimo roll, but after watching a few videos...I rolled this boat on the second try very easily! I love this boat and am looking forward to logging many mile in it.
I think you might like to know this stuff for comparison. I am 6 foot tall at 180 lbs. The Narpa is my first kayak but like most folks I spent a lot of time testing others. I have owned my Narpa for a little over 3 years and think it's great. It's tough enough to run onto oyster bars(accidentally) and not scratch badly. It handles well with or without the rudder deployed, need the rudder more in increasing winds. Turns great with or with out the rudder. I run through saltmarsh cuts and some turns are 180's. Rides wakes and wind swells fine, but surfing it can be a handful. It tends to broach but it could just be my lack of experience. My Narpa will carry more gear than I care to think about and I see no prblem getting a weeks worth stowed. Seat is great, very comfortable. I have never had my legs go numb, even after 4 to 5 hrs without a shore break. My size 11s fit fine with water shoes. I could go on but why bore you with more. I feel really at home on the water in my Narpa. My dealer kinda put it best when we were talking about my next boat,"You're looking at a new boat? Why?"
P.S. A 9 because the speed of a Looksa II spoiled me.
By the way, I'm 6'2, size 13 shoe, was 265lbs, when I started paddling, now I'm a slim 243lbs, hahaha. I couldn't disagree more with the other paddler who says this isn't a bigger person boat. In my search for a kayak that fit my physique, I was very particular and open with the dealers, that I needed a boat that would handle a person my size and be able to be loaded with enough gear for a weekend getaway. The Narpa is a 24" width, 16'4 length, and the cockpit is 31.5" x 17". A friend of mine, who's 6'1" and 185lbs, who also owns a Narpa, does complain sometimes that he feels he needs a narrower boat, and that it's too much boat for him. He rides about an inch and a half higher out of the water than me.
Over time, as my technique has gotten better, I've found the Narpa to be very responsive to a lean, fast, and yet very stable at the same time. This, in my opinion, would be a great choice for an intermediate paddler. I also looked at the Eskia, by Necky, which I found to have a little more stability than the Narpa, probably would track slightly better, but wasn't as quick, or as easy to turn. Ok, I guess I've written enough. If anyone has any specific questions about the Narpa, please feel free to e'mail me. Take care, John
P.S. Anyone wanting to paddle in this area, please e-mail:) (what the heck is a NARPA?)