The Expression 15 handles well in wind and waves. If handling was my only concern I would give it a 10. However, I'm confused about why they put a seat & back that one would expect to find in a recreational kayak. The high seat back just isn't safe on big water: it gets in the way when attempting a self rescue and makes a roll just about impossible. I wrote the manufacturers about obtaining a touring seat and back like they put in the Essence... but I never heard from them. So because of safety concerns and poor customer service, I'm reducing my rating to a 5, and will refrain from using my Expression on big water until I solve the safety issues presented by the high seat back.