Wesley Echols Reviews the Uno Max

on Nov 13 in Uncategorized by

This review of the Uno Max was first published by Wesley Echols on his website, Surfskiracing.org. Thanks Wesley for allowing me to publish it here.


I have had a long history of paddling Think surf skis including many Evo’s, Evo 2, Legends, Uno, and now the Uno Max. The original Uno fit me well and was extremely fast but I found unpredictable in ocean conditions. It took me many months to get where I could paddle it in conditions. I even paddled it in that stretch of ocean from House on Rocks to Mackeral Cove, think Ride the Bull course for the locals. This was a feat for me. I also paddled it on the Beavertail Course with Ben Lawry on a training session years ago. However, I most enjoyed it on flat water where it still holds the second fastest time on my McCorrie Point to Island Park six mile course behind only my Van Dusen Mohican. So I thought the Uno Max would be a great choice for me. It has been out awhile but after leaving Stellar in August it was a priority for me to give it a spin.









Tired after 2 hour paddle with intervals on Narrgansett Bay














Original Uno 2010 Narrow River Race


















My carbon Legend and one of my Kevlar Legends


So just before the Nahant Race, Chris Laughlin from North Cove Kayaks arranged to have it at the race for me to try. I took for a quick spin and loaded it on my car. I paddled it another few times and then made the decision to purchase it. It took me few paddles to figure out the correct foot plate position. What I have found particularly with the more narrow skis like the SES’s, V12, V14, and the Uno Max, a quarter inch can make a huge difference in how comfortable you feel in the bucket. I like to call it a sweet spot. So I had to make sure I wore the same shoes on each paddled to get the fit correct. For the first two weeks while getting use to the stability I had the footplate out further. Once I got more stable in it I moved the foot plate closer to me and and then I hit the sweet spot; excellent leg drive combined with the appropiate stability for the knee height.















1st Demo at Nahant Race with Eric Constanza Looking on.



Fit(like it)

If you have been reading my site you know I have always liked the fit of the Think surf skis. The bucket in the Uno Max has the “Think feel” but with a moderate high hump and narrow cockpit. While the fit is snug I found it comfortable with room on each side for my hips and my outer calves and thighs supported. It took me a few paddles to get used the the fit since it is different from all my other skis. It is the only ski ever that I do not need any padding . The bucket leans me slightly forward for a more egonomic paddling position. What I like about this seating position is that on every stroke I feel like I am getting the maximum leg drive and there is no wasted motion, all energy is going forward! That’s a good thing! I feel efficient when paddling the Uno Max.
















Uno Max Elite 28lbs, 21ft 2 inches, 17 inch beam


Foot plate adjustments on all the Think skis have the micro adjustment for the footplate which I find the best in the industry along with the Stellars. You can get a perfect micro fit. I also really like the way the rudders lines are connected by using the line adjusters forward of the pedals. I noticed that Epic now is using them also on their skis. I also have found on all my Think skis, all 12 of them, that the tension on the foot pedals suits me perfectly. I like more tension on the pedals so it requires less input while I am leg driving.





















Uno Max Bucket

If you follow the rudder lines back to the rudder compartment you will find a beefy yoke with a nut to secure the rudder along with a set screw that requires an allen wrench. So two tools are needed to secure the rudder. Since I now have two new Thinks skis, the tolerance of the yoke that fits over the rudder shaft is minimal(tight). I suggest you take the yoke off periodically and wash it to make sure it is free and clear. I also check the set screw from time to time along with the rudder lines to make sure everything is working properly. This I do on all my skis.


Feel(Hard chine)

Like my old Legends, Uno, and my current Vadja Hawx, they all have varying degrees of chine: hard, soft, blended. The feel on the water is somewhat different from the other skis. Initial stability tends to be good since most have a flatter bottom, while the transition while paddling from initial to secondary is made of micro movements as the boat pivots on the various chines. These movements take some getting use to if you have been paddling rounded bottom skis where the transition is smoother but where the transition varies in speed and duration. My first hard chined ski was a Legend where I found I was very stable in most all conditions unlike some of my paddling buddies that never liked the “feel” of hard chined boats. What is nice is having a Hawx and the Uno Max both chined skis have similar feel so it is an easy transition for me to go back and forth between these skis.
















Hard Chine



Stability(it’s relative)

Not knowing what to expect when I first tried the Uno Max, I had a pre concieved idea that it would be similar to the old Uno. I was pleasantly susprised it was not. I felt stable for the few minutes I paddled it just prior to the Nahant Bay Race. I thought this could work once I got used to the seating. So I loaded it on my car, raced the Nahant Race in my SES Ultra. Later when I got home, I paddled it again with the same results. With one more paddle, I called Chris and told him I would take it. The Uno Max is not different from many other narrow high performance skis in that you need to paddle them often and in the conditions you will be racing in to retain your stability and maintain the predictability of that particular ski. So my learning curve on the Uno Max was far less than I thought it would be. I also realize this will not be my “big water” ski. I have some other skis that I would be more stable in and hence faster in those conditions. While my stability is pretty good in any ski, often the challenge of paddling a new ski high performance ski is figuring out how the boat reacts in different conditions. Once you have taken it through the paces, and have some familiarity with it, you don’t have to think about how it will respond, you just let the boat do the work and keep paddling. As I tell most paddlers shopping for skis, most of us can paddle most of these boats on flat water, that is easy. Paddling them in conditions takes another skill set. So do your home work and get reliable information about your ski in the conditions you personally will be paddling in. Getting information from a flat water surfskier is of little value beside fit and how it performs on flat water for the ocean going paddler.

What is nice about chined boats is that they track excellent in downwind conditions and this includes my Uno Max. Just point them in the right direction and go. I have not had it in big downwind conditions, but in my Sakonnet River(small bay conditions) I liked how it feels downwind, no wandering of the bow, and it feels predictable and planted. At some point I want to try a slightly bigger rudder beside the 7.5 inch. I have also tried the small 5 inch on flat water with good results.

So make no mistake, the Uno Max is for the advanced ocean paddler or a skilled intermediate paddler if using it as a flat water ski.



Speed(HPS performance)

My time trials have been mixed in my Uno Max. I had some really good time trials and some okay time trials. This is frustrating for me since I wanted a more definitive outcome. I will continue to time trial the Max to see if I can get my times down even further. This ski came in at the stated weight of 28lbs which is a good all around weight for racing and training. My goal in buying the newer skis is about me maximizing MY performance for my 2014 race season. I am taking my own advice by buying skis now in the fall so I can start training in them now and be ready for the next season. Many guys I meet will wait until the spring to buy a new ski and lose precious training time trying to get aclimated to their new ski.Trying to tease out boat speeds in these high end boats is more difficult than in the past since the newer designed hulls are fast and certainly more stable then the previous generations of skis just a few years ago. I like to compare boats by time trials, races, and benchmark them compared to my training partners and then form my opinion on how they stack up to the other skis. I have done 2 of the 3 with Uno Max. I have not officially raced it. Below are some of my time trial data.

Newport Paddle with 2 hard long intervals


McCorrie Point to Sandy Point


McCorrie Point to Sandy Point


McCorrie Point 2 mile Time Trial


McCorrie Point to Island Park Time Trial


McCorrie to Third Beach




I found the Uno Max to be in the top end range as the other top High Performance Skis, no surprise here. I enjoy paddling the Uno Max because of the fit, and the excellent leg drive, and overall form I am able to maintain. The ergonomics just work for me in the Think boats. Not to say they don’t in other skis but to each his own when it comes to fit.

In another time trial I used the tiny five inch rudder. What I enjoyed about this time trial was that the smaller rudder did increase my speed but it did not feel significantly more unstable in the flatter conditions I was paddling in. This is important because on some skis changing to a smaller rudder makes a signficance difference in stability.

Why not be like Sean Rice, the Uno Max is working for him as the winner of the World Championships and the US Championships.


















Sean Rice, 2013 Winner, US Surfski Champs,Only great results in his Max.(photo Wesley Echols)


Other Features

It is nice to have handles for tranport or if you need to tie off you have a secure place to do so. The drain works super getting rid of the water very quickly, simple as it gets, effective. It has a built in leash attachment and small built in weed guard. Lastly though not really a feature, it looks so COOL! It looks like a rocket ready to be launched.



I really like the fit that maximizes leg drive along with the narrow catch. It is much more stable than I had anticipated but it would require me to be training in it often if I wanted to be comfortable in bigger conditions. I love the look of it and the easy adjustability of the foot plate and toe pedal angle. So for all these reasons I really enjoy paddling it!!

More Pics of the Uno Max