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Submitted: 08-01-2013 by mtnhiker
We really like this boat. We bought (very) cheap kayaks last summer, which got us into the sport. I wanted a more versatile kayak that I could take in the ocean bays in RI & MA. My old kayak didn't have any sort of keel, so it couldn't handle waves (even small ones on a calm day on an ocean cove).
This kayak can handle quite a bit. We are a family of 4, two kids aged 3 and 6. All 4 of us were able to ride in the Malibu 2 for an ocean paddle in a cove/bay. We bought scupper plugs, which help prevent water from coming into the boat. I saw other reviewers saying this boat cannot handle the advertised weight, which isn't true. You just need scupper plugs to keep the water out. Our family weighs 380# all together, and while the boat was a bear for one person to paddle with this much weight, it handled fine. I wouldn't want to spend the entire day in this kayak with the 4 of us, but it was fine for a short trip. We went in a bay in Cape Cod in it. We kayaked to a private beach.
I like sit-on-tops because of the ease getting in and out, and no fears about tipping. It's also easy to mount to a car, because I thread the winch straps through the scupper holes. There's no way it can fall off the car. I cannot cartop any boat alone (I'm 5'2" and weigh 100#), so that's a non-issue for me. I like the fact that this kayak has attached handles on the side (my old boat just had molded-in handles, which were impossible to grasp when flipping the boat over). My husband and I portaged the boat just fine. We live in New England, so this is a summer sport for us, but I'm considering getting a wet suit so I can extend my kayak season.
If you're looking for a versatile family kayak, look no further. This boat is all a good value for the $, in my opinion. It would be nice if it had a dry hatch, but for the $ you can't expect that option. I may add one to this boat (you can add up to 3 small dry hatches) next season so that I have a dry spot for a smartphone & keys. I have a 22" x 16" dry bag for day items. I'd need a larger one for an overnight trip. The boat would also be perfect for 1 person plus gear for an overnight trip too.
I paddled this alone in the center seat, and it handled nicely in a cove. My husband tried to take it in Buzzard's Bay (large ocean bay) on an 8 mile paddle, and had to turn around because of the wind/rough water. It's not a touring sea kayak, but a great all-around fun family boat.
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