My knees love the high deck and the ample thigh braces and the ratcheting back band and seat make me feel well locked in. Surf around here has been mostly small, 1-3, but if it has a face, this boat has been able to get a ride.
Most of my surfing has been in sea kayaks, so this boat has been quite a change. The volume seems to keep it high up in the wave, but it's not always easy to break out of the white water. It has a flat planing hull convex channel transition to the sides that seems to allow for some carved turns. I've been in a few 4-5 foot waves without much shoulder and it handled those without burying the bow. I'm hoping to get it in some nicer sized waves with room to play to see what all it can do.
My big issue is it's a bear to roll, which I don't like in a surf boat. A bit of practice has me feeling better, but I wish I could fit in the 8.5 model. I'm over the listed weight limit for that boat, but I might take one out for a spin to see for myself.
I love the fit and quality of this boat and the more I surf it, the harder it'll be to give back, so I still don't know if it will have a permanent home in my garage.
The bad thing is I don't think the plastic is nearly as tough as the Tempest. My Tempest was pretty gnarly, but seemed to take rocks and barnacles in stride, but the Z seems to scratch a lot easier. Still it's fun to play with.
At 12.5 feet, it's short enough that it's very maneuverable, even though it doesn't have a whole lot of rocker. I like that it has good speed for when my friends are in their long boats. Although it does turn quickly, I haven't had any problems tracking in small winds, even though I never use the provided skeg.
I weigh 240lb, but the boat doesn't seem to mind, although it does have a tendency to bury its bow on a wave. The very plumb bow is a drag though, as it sends water shooting up on a wave and has a tendency to catch in the rocks. I've surfed the boat in 4' surf and found it rather maneuverable in the waves.
I don't know what Dagger really planned this boat to be used for and the plum bow make it a bit tough to use in the RGs where I usually use it, but I'm still having fun with it. For someone my size, it's a better fit than the Greenboat, but without the WW cred!
This was my first real kayak, so it was hard to know how to rate it back then. My paddles are usually a short harbor paddle and then out to the ocean. Now that I know a little bit better what I'm doing, I feel that this is a great kayak. I think it tracks really well even in the wind. When put on edge, I think it turns quite well and is easy to correct. I seldom use the rudder in the ocean, leaving it for the harbor when I just like to paddle lazily along. Of course when I got it, it felt very tippy for a beginner, but now I feel very comfortable. I can edge it over quite a bit and feel secure. I recently took an edging class where I had to paddle a much shorter Seaward kayak. I thought it would be much more maneuverable because of its length, but it was a dog compared to my 500. I still only give it an 8, only because I haven't paddled very many boats to compare it to, but has certainly filled my needs. Also, 3 years ago I really hated the Rapid Pulse seat. Now that I'm in better kayak shape, I really don't think it's too bad. I'm still going to go back to my ratcheting backband though.