The original poster was describing a set of paddling goals including some play that could tend toward a river running playboat like the Jackson Kayak Fun series, a great river running playboat. But he said he wanted a "fairly fast" boat. Well the Hero is about 10% faster than a Fun and soundly in the "fairly fast" category:) The original poster also said he wanted a boat that was not so edgy that he would be fighting it down the river. The Hero is very user friendly because it is very stable, has relatively high volume decks, turns easily, and is easy to roll. As far as play goes the Hero has the full-on planing hull of the Funs series, and, I think, arguably is the most playable of the boats in the class. If you want to get a tad more speed than a Hero a Remix 69 would give you about an extra 5% over the Hero. So say at a cruising speed of 5 miles per hour the Remix would be about 0.25 miles per hour faster. The Desiel 65 is about the same speed as the Hero. I'm not sure how significant small differences in speed is when compared to other performance features. I'm sure personal preference and motivation determine most of that, but from what the original poster has said I would think that the Hero or Super Hero would be a fine boat to add to his demo list.