It's a fun boat, when paddling into wind drive waves it's amazing how fast it feels. The prow cuts through the wave and dosen't seem to slow you down as much as a other sea/touring kayaks that have an uplifted bow. Not only that but this boat can be used on whitewater too. I've owned a couple of great sea kayaks and this one seems to be the funniest to paddle on the flats. And I'm pretty sure it's going to handle easy rivers and surf small river waves really well. Surf ski whitewater touring kayak. Fast, fun, versatile. Just buy an inexpensive removable skeg to temper it on the flatwater.
I have had the boat out on moderate flow flat water rivers and flat water lake (20mph winds). I was worried about claims the boat was unstable, I find this to be not the case, the initial stability is nearly identical to my Valley Avocet, and its secondary stability is quite high as well, but there is a very fine line if edged over to far, the boat quickly snaps upside down if you cross that line. The boat really show its WW heritage, as it turns very quickly using sweeps and draws; at speed it also is very maneuverable when edged.
I was a little surprised at the boat hulls profile, much like a flat bottomed U, with no chiming to speak of, it does make the ride very "quiet" with little wake at speed. The top of the boat is very rounded giving a very dry ride in chop. There are recessed areas next to the cockpit that allow for high angle paddling without banging your hands. At this time the rear hatch has remained dry, but it has not been seriously tested. The outfitting is typical Pyranha; top quality and very comfortable. I have modified the foot pegs by adding Sea Lect foot pegs instead of the standard WW foot board.
For a poly boat under 15' it is indeed a quick boat. It accelerates fairly quickly, and cruises easily once at speed. Tracking is good, but if you have difficulty edging, tracking may be problematic as the boat is very sensitive to leaning or imbalanced paddling. I would say speed wise it may equal a touring boat in the 15' to 16' range, but for a shorter boat this maneuverable it is indeed fast.
The boat does weather cock in wind a little, but no more so than most other non skeged boats.
I know the Speeder was discontinued, but feel it is a good little runabout that is a lot of fun. Its light weight makes it easy to throw on the rack and take it out for a spin, being a poly boat and reasonably priced you can take it anywhere without fear of damaging a work of art. I am happy with this boat and will keep it in my fleet.
The highest I attempted was Class III, which felt like Class IV in the tipsy Speeder. It'll make those easy runs challenging again, and make you a better paddler. It requires great balance and looseness in the hips, with not alot of big weight shifts. It is stable while bracing, but to go fast you don't want to be bracing alot. It works well as a flatwater tour kayak, especially if you want to go fast. It'll definitely handle downriver racing, and makes a good trainer for flatwater or workout boat. It has room for a decent amount of gear for overnighters, and the hatch is watertight. The bulkhead footbrace and outfitting is very comfortable and customizable. I ended up moving the seat forward a couple notches and it improved handling. It rolls OK, considering the hull shape.
It's not a boat to relax in, it's meant to be paddled hard and requires concentration to do so well. If you do, the Speeder will reward you with a great ride!
It worked great for me for recreational racing and some piddling about on the creeks. It is up for grabs over on the classifieds because I have found other hobbies that require other special equipment. Parting is such sweet sorrow. I would buy this boat again if planning racing more often.
About me: I'm female, 5'7", 180-ish pounds. I'm an intermediate level flatwater paddler so I can't tell you how the Speeder will perform on whitewater. This review takes place on a lake.
Oncoming waves: handled these just fine... slices through the waves and chop; splashes just run off the sides of the deck; mostly a dry ride even without a sprayskirt. Quartering waves: I just kept paddling and again, fine in terms of stability, although it DOES have a definite tendency to weathercock. Kept doing corrective strokes and wishing it had a rudder. Following waves: it likes to surf a little bit but bigger waves felt like they were trying to broach it, but I was able to correct for that.