Submitted: 10-19-2005 by spheniscus
I've paddled a Viviane Expedition for three years now, on Long Island Sound and the Hudson River, Lakes Champlain and George, coastal Maine, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, in conditions ranging from flatwater to 8'+ swells. The previous reviews capture the Viviane's strengths well. It is a fast, extremely well made kayak, excels at hauling gear over distance, handles chaotic water confidently, and rolls relatively easily for a boat of its size.
It's not especially playful (the stern should read "makes wide turns", although the Viviane handles better than some other long boats) and will broach in surf (responding predictably to a brace), but then again it wasn't designed for rock gardens. The little design details are great: the long slope to the rear of the coaming to ease laybacks, the comfortable oversized footpegs, the watertight hatches, and the quality of the lay-up (super strong, yet only 53 lbs. for a 19'2" boat).
I have had the footpegs come loose twice in three years, and each time the customer service has been great....on the last occasion, I was expressed replacement parts and received them in two days from Europe, at no charge. (I noted a re-design of the part which should prevent any future problems). Kayak Sport cares about after-service, clearly.
Definitely a great boat that excels at what it was designed to do....a 9 only because I don't believe in 10s! :)