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Submitted: 08-09-2010 by Errol J. Smith
I've read the reviews (which stop around the year 2000). I've just bought a second-hand (third, fourth-hand?) Sun Maximum Velocity for mostly river adventuring. I bought this particular kayak because it was one of three kayaks that I and two friends used on the Orange River during March 2010, from a point in Lesotho, through back into South Africa over a distance of 400 kilometres (in 9 days). I'm 65 years old and the others are just ahead of me in that category. We all had different boats and I won't give the names of the other two. One was a glass fibre, about 6 metres and the other (which was my borrowed boat) was another "plastic".
During our nine-day trip, I watched the other two very closely because I wanted to see which was the better boat (I have a single as well as a two-man Indian-type canoes and had not had previous experience with kayaks). During the 400km long trip I capsized twice in rapids and the guy in the glass fibre kayak capsized once. The guy in the Maximum Velocity did not capsize at all. My second capsize was in a rushing torrent with waves from all sides bashing away at us and all the chap in the Velocity did was to cruise next to me as I hung onto my upside-down kayak, racing through whirlpools, dodging driftwood and logs as I rushed headlong for about 1.5 kilometres, before washing up onto a sandbank in the middle of the river. The guy in the Velocity then rushed off ahead to see if he could assist the other chap who was ahead of us. Well, that gave me great respect for the Maximum Velocity, also because this guy had very little kayaking experience and, except for his rudder that broke off when he hit a rock, he seemed to come off best out of us three.
The rudder design is not good on this boat (it seems old - it sure is battered, but sturdy) and I don't know if this has been resolved on the newer versions. The drop-down rudder peg protrudes below the boat and makes an ideal snag for anything in the water and any downward bang on a rock will smash the rudder (again). I'm working on a modification that will solve this problem.
So, all in all, I think that this is a great boat that I've used only once so far myself, but in rough windy conditions on a lake close to my home here in Cape Town, South Africa. It is a far cry from what I've been used to up to this point and it has proved itself in rookie hands, to be all that I would require for the future river touring, with all its packing space and stability.
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