Uno Max Review by Sean Rice

on Mar 26 in Equipment, Racing, Rudders, Sean Rice, Think, Uno, Uno Max by

Christmas 2011 – I received the biggest Christmas present of my life. Finally my Uno Max had arrived in South Africa! I had anxiously been waiting for one since I first raced it at US Surfski Champs and the Hong Kong Dragon Run last year. I’ve been paddling the original Uno for 3 years now and have thoroughly enjoyed the boat. I was way too excited to try out the brand new Think Uno Max on my home turf. I couldn’t wait to get it unwrapped and in the water.


First Impressions:
The first thing I noticed when picking the boat up was how rigid the overall structure was, especially around the seat and cockpit area. Surf skis take massive strain around this part of the boat when going through surf and I’m not the lightest of guys (95kg), so a solid boat like this makes life that much easier. No matter how much I poked, prodded and pushed, I couldn’t find one soft spot. Excellent!

The second thing, was the hull. It has slightly more rocker in the nose area and an overall “beef up” in volume, especially in the nose and behind the seat. The volume behind the seat helps keep the boat on the runs and the bigger volume forward of the cockpit helps keep the nose out of the water. The chines are also slightly softer than on the Uno making the turning “bite” less pronounced.
Thirdly, was the awesome colour scheme. The two yellow racing stripes make it look like a sleek racing machine and it wasn’t even in the water yet. I’ve always had positive comments come from people about how distinguishable my Think is against all the other boats on the water during a race.

Comfort and Seat set up:
I like to sit quite high in a boat as it gives the feeling of being able to stretch forward a bit more during the stroke. Sitting higher in a boat though will make it feel slightly more unstable normally but I didn’t find it to be a problem at all in the Max. I put a bum pad in which made a big difference to my seating posture. I was once again comfortable and ready to spend 100’s of hours in the seat. There is no rule book to seat padding. It really is ‘different strokes for different folks’ and I normally don’t end up paddling with one purely because I have enough padding there already ha ha…

I was pleased to see the same pedal adjustment set up. It’s quick and simple to move around and the foot plate is as solid as a rock. I like to keep the double foot strap just snug of my feet. It makes the boat feel just that much closer to being part of your leg drive. There is also more room for those people with super long legs. I have relatively short legs so I will use the extra space for my hydration system.

In the water:
My first paddle with the boat was in and out some 2-3ft surf at my local beach. I found the boat surfed really well and was much more maneuverable on the breaking waves compared to the original Uno. When punching through foamies on the way out the cockpit went from completely full to empty in 20 odd strokes. Nice!

My first downwind was fantastic. The Uno Max keeps its momentum better than any boat I’ve paddled before. In those vital few seconds it takes to get from one run to another, the Max loses very little speed. I was also really happy to find the softer chines still give that “lifting” feeling when you fly down the face of a run.
I then decided to switch my rudder from the 9inch to the 7.5inch. A rudder change can make any boat feel like a whole different animal and it was no different in this case. The 9inch I find has quite an aggressive catch (often needed in the big stuff) but the 7.5inch makes the boat more stable and the resistance from steering down a run is much less. However, I still need to make up my mind on this one.

Overall Feeling:
The Max definitely has the speedy characteristics of the original Uno but in my personal opinion it performs better in the bigger runs. I’m really look forward to racing the Max this year. Now all I need to do is worry about my own training because I definitely can’t blame this boat for going slow ha ha…

Sean Rice
Thanks to Brandon Kilbride and DrumBeat Photography for the pics.