Petrel Play Description

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Petrel Play Reviews

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Review of Composite Petrel…

Submitted by: raisins on 1/5/2021

Review of Composite Petrel Play

First, to let you know of my paddling style, preferences:
I paddle at a very comfortable pace. I'm not a racer, but I don't dawdle along either. I look at it as kind of paddling at a 'walking' pace.

Most of my paddling is done alone. I paddle with a club occasionally.

A typical paddling week is: 5 days (weekdays) doing a 10 mile stretch on the St Johns (with (tide)current one way, against current the other). Weekends: 1 long paddle (30 to 40 miles), 1 day goofing off: surf and/or rolling play.

I really didn't need another kayak, but after hearing about the composite version of the Petrel Play, the thought got into the head and wouldn't leave. I eventually succumbed to the idea and ordered one.

What I was hoping of it:

  • to be light enough to carry to & from the water for my daily paddle (1/4 mile round trip) and paddle at a decent pace.
  • to be a good surf boat
  • to occasionally use on my 'long' paddles (not as important, but would be a bonus)

I ordered a Petrel Play in the 'Carbon Lite' layup (and, indulged a bit by ordering it in a pretty 'Red Reflections' carbon; I already have 3 black carbon boats, that's quite enough)

I picked up the Petrel Play about 8 months ago, in early May of 2020.

When paddling, depending on mood, weather, location, I normally switch off between kayaks I own.

Looking at my 'stats' for 2020, my 'mood' tended to be in the PP's direction (2011 miles for the Petrel Play (8 months), 3211 miles (total) for the other 6 kayaks (12 months) ).

How did it fulfill my hopes:

The 'daily stretch' paddle:

A delight to carry to & from the river (light).

Quite a fun boat to paddle.

It tracks quite well, considering it's a 14' kayak. I do use the skeg on the PP more than I do with my longer kayaks (probably about 10% of the time Vs about 5% for the longer boats), it's affected a little more to winds & currents.

My daily paddle is on the St Johns river (near downtown Jacksonville). It is sort of a 'busy' river (from small motor boats to container ships). I often look behind me to make sure all is clear; with the PP, not only can I look behind, I can enhance this with a quick turn & return to get a better look behind me (I'm comparing this kayak more and more to a WW boat). The padding is snug, yet comfortable (thigh, knee, hip).

(when picking up kayak, was able to have it customized for correct fit).

Surf (and rolls):
My background is 'surviving surf', not necessarily 'surfing'. I can handle some pretty heavy surf (several trips up the Aussie coast), but have not practiced much 'dancing' on the waves. I think the PP is a 'dancer'. The several times I've had it out for some surf play, the WW characteristics showed themselves again. Edging, cutbacks, etc., but I need a lot more practice.

Rolls - quite easy.
One 'quick' roll that I like (don't know if it has a name) is what I call the 'side of the pool' roll. No set up, just use the paddle (as the side of the pool) - punch down on it and 'hip flick' up. Works very well in the PP.

It hand rolls almost as easily as my (very low volume) Tahe Greenland and easier than my Sterling Ice Kap.

I'll be using this kayak as my Sunday - take it easy day (rolls or surf) - often in the summer months (the Tahe Greenland will be getting less attention).

Long paddles:
I like to paddle around Cumberland Island once a month (47mile paddle), it's about an 11 or 12 hour paddle.

I prepared myself for a long slog in the 14' 'rec boat' Petrel Play. I was pleasantly surprised that it did this paddle as easily as my other kayaks. (I used it twice for this paddle in the 8 months I've had it, averaging over 4mph).

I frequently use it for my long weekend paddle (30 to 40 miles).

Nice features:

  • I love the deck rigging ("Maroske Fittings"). Flush, good looking, no (stainless steel) deck hardware to rust (I paddle saltwater).
  • day hatch - 1/2 the bulkhead area of most. At first I thought I would dislike the smaller hatch, being used to filling it up on my long paddling days. I have just become a little more efficient, and store items I won't need at sea in the rear hatch (though, in calm water I can access the rear hatch as well).
  • skeg - no jam, very easy slide control. I'm used to other kayak skegs jamming easily when launching from surfy beaches. The PP has a karitek skeg - installed offset from center a bit.
  • WEIGHT: for me, this is #1. Several years ago, my back went out on me. Since then, I've only been using lightweight kayaks. Since I 'needed' it, I spent the extra bucks for a VERY lightweight (yet still strong) layup - 30lbs. (TurningPoint Boatworks offers several layup options, 30-40lbs)

I've only 'day' paddled this boat, but I would guess one could pack maybe a weeks worth of gear.

My Stats for usage of Petrel Play over the 8 months I've had it:
Total Trips: 148
Long trips (over 30 miles): 16
Surf sessions: 6
(short) Day paddles: (under 11 miles): 109
Total Miles: 2060 (3/3/20 => 1/4/21)
Avg Speed (filtering out surf/roll sessions and club paddles): 4.08

Rating: on a 5 star scale, I've got to give it a 5. Maybe 9 out of 10.

How it rates with my other kayaks (Tahe, Epic, Sterling):
Well, you know, it's a different kayak. However, it pretty well spans all three (though don't bet on it in a race with the 18X).

If I have to pick just one or two to take with me (you know, on that evacuation notice we get with that monster hurricane headed our way next year), the Petrel Play will be one of them.