Paddlers are demanding versatility AND performance from their sea kayaks these days. Little by little, designers like Nick Schade are squeezing huge performance out of compact dimensions.
The Petrel Play is just 14 feet long, a length once reserved for recreational kayaks. But Nick’s ingenious shaping of plywood panels has resulted in a design that offers world-class handling in the surf AND a comfortable cockpit for recreational paddling AND can be built by an intermediate woodworker.
“The Petrel Play is a great play boat out in big waves and rock gardens,” Nick Schade says. With a little extra width and quite a bit of flare to the hull, he adds, “It will keep up fine at moderate pace cruising and has good stability in waves, with the ability to lean comfortably.” The Petrel Play will appeal to paddlers of all shapes, sizes, and skill levels.
The Petrel Play is built stitch-and-glue fashion, with computer-cut hull parts literally assembled like a jigsaw puzzle. “The amount of sculptural detail in the Petrel Play is amazing,” says John C. Harris of Chesapeake Light Craft. “Nick has pushed the realm of what’s possible in plywood to another level.”
"Puzzle joints"---one of Schade's signature design motifs---give the Petrel Play great artistic flair.
The front half of the Petrel Play is multi-chined, for an efficient balance of low-drag buoyancy and minimal resistance. The aft half of the kayak has a firm single chine, perfect for carving turns and surfing, and for excellent secondary stability.
Functional details also make this kayak kit substantially unique in that busy niche of the kayak world. Watertight SeaLect hatches are recessed in the forward and aft decks and are standard in the kit. Without penalizing the kayak’s ability in rough water, these hatches will allow light camping expeditions.
Large paddlers will find generous knee- and footroom. The cockpit has been recessed to make rolling easier in expert hands.
Build this boat if:
- You're looking for a comfortable, versatile, compact kayak that isn't a beamy tub.
- You're looking for a sport-oriented kayak for surfing
- You want a sleek, West Greenland-style kayak without the gawky 17- or 18-foot length
- You prefer advanced handling qualities in all conditions, especially waves
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