This is a really nice boat to play around with. There are faster sit-on-tops, but not many, and there are more surf-friendly sit-on-tops; many, but for hanging around the bay with a cooler of beer behind you or lounging with your feet over the side, it's as good as any.
I've taken it on a bay-to-bay paddle with sea kayaks and stayed up with them for about 13 or 14 miles, although I was aware all along that I was working harder. On choppy days it's a really wet ride, and it's less stable than some sit-on-tops because it's designed for slightly better speed than most, but on calm, sunny, flat days it's sweet and fun; good for napping.
I keep the rudder up 99% of the time, always around surf launches or entries. Landing through surf bigger than 2' generally means you're going to get wet because at 15' it's going to turn sideways to the wave every time, and it's not fast enough, like my sea kayaks, to blast in between waves. That doesn't bother me because in the weather I choose to paddle this boat in falling in the water is fine and fun.
If you want to paddle relaxed, don't want to surf, maybe want to fish out a ways, and you prefer a sit-on-top, you might really like this boat. I think it'd be a decent snorkeling boat, too. It's a shame Islander stopped making it when they went Walmart-style cheap & mass market. I think it may be their best boat. I think it's a 9 only as compared to other long sit-on-tops, but that's the way to look at all boats.I am rating this a 10 because I really, really like this boat. My husband had one first and then I bought one because I liked his so much. It is reasonably fast (although of course long, sleek touring boats are going to be faster) and very stable (boat wakes, no problem). It is a reasonably dry ride, and tracks extremely well and that's without using the rudder. We've only used our rudders a couple of times (windy days) and I'm glad we opted for having rudders because it makes all the difference on those times when you need it.
I like the way Islander makes their hatches. They're not going to pop off like the rubber snap-on hatches on all my other kayaks. Plenty of room for storage (two hatches). Islander has discontinued this model (Why????) so you can get a good price on one IF you can find one. I had to search all over and finally had one shipped in from out of state. It was worth it. This one's a keeper.