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Submitted: 11-08-2007 by deanjunt
If you read the Mariner Kayaks website, you might think that perhaps the Broze Brothers have over-hyped their kayaks, but based on my experience with the Mariner Max, the Broze Brothers are truly hull-designer geniuses.
The Max both tracks and turns well for a 17-foot boat, and that is a very tough combination to come by. Speed and stability are also strong on the Max. The Max has a neat, almost liquid feel to it in waves. I feel as if I'm part of the water rather than a kayak on top of the water. With a loaded Max, you'll really feel a gyroscopic ride in waves. Also, the hull design lends itself to good speed in waves, too. Some sea kayaks tend to either dive their bows into waves or slap on top of the waves, but the Max does neither. It's an eerily gentle ride in waves.
I'm a paraplegic, and I used the Max for kayak camping on a Pukaskwa National Park trip on Lake Superior in July with two able-bodied buddies. My Max has the sliding seat. It makes entry and exit easy for me, plus it has a side benefit. I invented a camping mobility device that I call my Dune Bug. It's an aluminum frame, and I put quick-release Roll-eez wheels on it (now Wheel-eez). Then I use the sliding seat from my Max for the Dune Bug seat. I propel the Dune Bug with cross country ski poles.
Anyway, I can't say enough good things about the performance of the Mariner Max. The only complaints I've heard about Mariner boats is "uncomfortable seating" and some good-sized guys want a higher deck in front of the cockpit. They get cramped in the boat. For me, the Max fits very well. I've even found a way to roll the boat using an extended paddle. I'm paralyzed below my rib cage, so I've got no hip snap or trunk control. Part of why I can roll the Max is that I put weights in the bottom of the hatches so that the hull is self-righting. Plus, the shape of the Max hull makes it easy to right regardless, as well as offering a very deep secondary stability. Then too, being that I have no feet, I'm not interested in a rudder, and the Max was designed to not need one.
I could go on and on about the merits of the Max, but I'll force myself to stop talking now. The last I heard, Mariner Kayaks are in production again, so if you can get a hold of one, you'll have a kayak that you'll want to keep forever. There are no finer boats on the water.
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