Submitted: 06-09-2009 by DR
Amongst the fastest SOT's!!
I'm 6'3" and 240lbs and still learning the sport. I've also paddled OK Scrambler, Prowler 13, Peekaboo, Zest 2 and Old Town 125, 160. I just purchased this kayak and have had it out a couple of times. My first impressions were that it is slightly ugly (the red has all these specks of gray, black and white in it that you don't see in the photos. Also the Malibu logo on the side has these black triangles in it and it looks very early 90's. Overall look is of lower quality than Ocean Kayak's. That being said, the 4.4 doesn't leak a drop unlike my Scrambler that takes on a gallon a minute through a scupper.
In the water, the first thing I noticed is that it has a wet ride that's for sure. Small chop comes over the low sides easily. Also there is a lot of hull slap. Make that hull bang! Going straight on 1 ft. waves/chop this thing goes slap, slap, thud, thud and it just slows right the hell down. But when the water smooths out though, you are in for a treat! It is faster than anything else I've paddled. I average 2.5-2.7 in my Scrambler and in this I can manage 3.6mph for hours at a crack. It also tracks well enough that it is not an issue.
At 240, it handles my weight but it is a little tippy. In fact, just adding an inch under my butt with a seat makes a difference. But it is not so unstable as to be a problem. You'll be fine as long as you pay attention.
I'm having a lot of fun with this boat. It really opens up exploration when you can get places quickly and easily. It seems most suited to Flat water or big waves but not in between. Also, the narrow width makes it easy to paddle with an aggressive vertical stroke.
There aren't many places to order this puppy. I used Kayak fishing supplies and I am very happy with their service, they picked it up at the factory for me and sent it right out (4 days shipping from Cali to Buffalo).
In short, if you are looking for a fast, reasonably priced sit on top for fitness and day touring then you really only have a couple choices. The OK Scupper Pro TW $729, Bic Scapa $719, or Malibu 4.4 $615. The Scupper is more useful but has a narrow and short seat well and is very wet. The BIC looks like it is even less stable than the 4.4 and its foot holders dig into your heels.
I love this boat my only wish is that it handled Lake Erie chop better. Have Fun!