I had my new kayak out for a test drive yesterday. For the most part, I agree with previous reviewers' assessments. It has excellent initial and secondary stability. I rocked it pretty vigorously in shallow water and couldn't tip it. I kept up with my pack of paddlers easily. It tracked well yet was quite maneuverable in tight turns. I was able to "spin in place" pretty easily. It was difficult to assess the contribution of the skeg since it was a very calm day on the lake but the kayak tracked beautifully on the straightaways with the skeg deployed.
Unfortunately though, my initial concerns about the quality of the seat were confirmed. I felt fatigue in my lower back after abut an hour of paddling. This has not been my experience in other kayaks. The height of the seat back is virtually impossible to adjust while on the water. I beached the boast, adjusted the seat, and paddled on but it was still not comfortable. A couple of my paddling buddies were anxious to try the "new boat" so we swapped kayaks after a while. After paddling for about 5 minutes, my one friend proclaimed, "This seat sucks.". Unfortunately I have to agree.
I intend to contact REI about the unexpected seat swap. The seat really is the only flaw of this kayak, hence the "7" rating.