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Submitted: 08-06-2013 by Paulie
I've owned this boat for only about a month or so, but I've used it probably 10 times already in every type of water except the ocean. Bought this boat without paddling it first...not sure i would have bought it if I would have test paddled it. It is a good boat and really excels in a few area, but it also has some issues, even issues that I would argues are design flaws.
The areas in which this boats excels:
- Storage, storage, storage. You literally have to see for yourself how much stuff you can pack in this thing...amazing.
- Awesome family boat. I have a 6, 5, and 3 year old. I can COMFORTABLY, yes, I said comfortably, fit all three kids on this boat and paddle them out to the middle of a lake and tend fishing rods for them while they fish. The amazing thing is when I do this, the boat barely grunts...no water even approaches to reach the top of the scupper holes.
- Stability. I have paddled a ton of yaks.. To say this boat is the most stable boat I've ever been on is an understatement. I can literally hop from bow to stern and back on this thing and it doesn't move. You can easily crawl to the bow and access items inside the gator hatch while on the water. Standing is easy. I was actually shocked at how comfortable I was standing, even in 1 - 2 foot chop.
- Best slow-river camping kayak - EVER! With the capacity this thing has for gear, beer, and everything in between, I can't imagine a better kayak for taking a 4,5,6 or even week-long trek down a lazy river. All of the little extra things I used to leave at home when I had other boats, I can take along with this boat.
The not so good characteristics with this boat are:Overall, I am happy I own this boat because it allows me the ability to spend more time with my kids and the boat is awesome for river trips. This boat is pretty much the ultimate recreational boat.
- This boat is LOUD. If you are looking for a boat to use fishing rivers or big water, this is not a problem, but if you primarily want a fishing kayak to use on small lakes and need something capable of sneaking up on fish or stalking spooky fish....well, they will hear you coming from the dock in this boat. I am about 6' 190 lbs and I can tell you when it is just me in this boat with my fishing gear, the front scupper holes make an awful gurgling noise when the boat moves forward at all. All you hear is chug, clug, chug, clug. At the same time, water shoots up from the most forward scupper holes into the boat. I have noticed that when I have an extra kid on the gator hatch or about 40 extra pounds in the boat, this noise and water shooting problem disappears. This has to be a design flaw. Also, I recently bought scupper plugs and plugged the front two scupper holes, but this causes another issue...that is, the two most forward scupper holes are the lowest scupper holes on the deck. Thus, by plugging them, there is always a small amount of water on the deck, even on a lake where the surface is like glass. This also segways into my next issue...
- The scupper holes on the deck are not the lowest points on the deck. The hole openings are all about an eighth of an inch above the deck surface. Therefore, even in a best case scenario, you are going to have at least an eighth inch of water on the deck. This makes for a wet ride, even on calm waters. Again, this has to be a design flaw.
- The recessed area for the fishfinder transducer is in one of the scupper holes in the tank well. To me, this makes little sense. Because of this, I have to run my transducer cord from my tank well to the front of the boat on the deck. The cord pretty much gets in the way of everything on the deck. I am not sure what I am going to do to reconcile this issue. I absolutely refuse to drill holes in my boat to try to fix this issue. It seems to me that it would have made a lot more sense for Malibu to place the recessed area for the transducer in one of the front scupper holes, a la OK Trident.
- The seat area does not drain very well if it gets wet. Literally, your butt will act as a cork and not allow the water to drain. Wilderness Systems' boats and Ocean Kayak's Trident Ultra boat all have a far superior seating system to ensure that water drains from the seat and you do not have to sit in water once water gets in the seat area. Once you get water in the seat area of this boat, you are hosed. I recently purchased a new after-market seat to try to create some natural channels between my butt and the plastic for water to run out of the seat. So far, this has not worked all that well for me.
- Boat is slow. And when I say slow, it is like paddling a barge. The boat I owned immediately prior to this boat was a WS Tarpon and I can tell you that the Tarpon was a speed merchant compared to this boat. I can also tell you that the OK Trident is also much faster.
- Quality control at the factory is so-so. The hull on my boat is a little boogered from the factory. Not enough for me to send it back when I got it and not enough to affect performance, but, you know, I paid top dollar for a boat, I don't want to see that. Also, one of the anchors for the bungee cord for the gator hatch literally fell out the day I brought the boat home. I glued it with some marine epoxy I got at a local boat shop and it seems to have fixed it, but again, I would have rather not of had to deal with that. Also, I've seen two other boats and both of those boats had minor imperfections. One boat had a glaring deformity in the right side gunwale. Not enough of a problem to ship back the boat or to affect performance, it enough to aggravate you every time you look at that part of the boat. These types of deformities are the types of issues which would warrant a boat being a blem from a lot of other manufacturers.
However, if you are looking for a boat to use primarily as a fishing vessel, this is NOT your boat. Buy a OK Trident/Trident Ultra or WS Tarpon 140/160...those boats are wayyyy faster, a drier ride (believe it or not), and offer a better fishing platform with more practical fishing options.
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