A further thought on surfing dumping waves on heavy kayaks. The Nordkapp RM kayak is heavy (good for me. I want a strong, durable kayak). Sometimes I got slammed downwards. I could see a situation where if the wave was big enough and the water shallow enough, the kayak could cause some bodily injury. So don't surf big, dumping waves with a big heavy kayak unless you know what you are doing.
I find the Etain a little roomy for me, but I am not sure if that is necessarily a very bad thing yet. That's because it has a lot of storage capacity for tripping. One thing that stands out to me is how well it turns for such a large kayak. It doesn't have aggressive thigh braces and with the cockpit being roomy for me, you would think the braces wouldn't provide the support I need for aggressive maneuvers and rolling. But again it's surprisingly not a big problem either. When I am practicing rolls and going back and forth from side to side with and without paddle, I kind of wish I had more support, but its ok with the current thigh support setup.
My hatches don't leak. I think the little 4th hatch in front of cockpit is nice. The cockpit opening is huge. Well at least I know I can jump back in easily if ever in a pinch.
Overall a good kayak. "8" for me means good to very good. I am not sure I have enough knowledge to give it an accurate rating though.