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Submitted: 06-22-2004 by JH

Went into EMS a few weeks ago after doing months of research and narrowing down my selection to a Ocean Kayak Malibu 2 XL sit-on-top tandem. I was looking for something that sat 2 adults and a small child that we could take out in Moriches Bay in Long Island and the coastal rivers and marshes in Southern Maine. The rep agreed with my choice, but also pointed me to the Pamlico 140 tandem. He said I would have a little more protection from the water and thus be able to use it in slightly more turbulent water than a placid lake and for a slightly longer season. Also would allow for some storage. Instead of selling me one, the store had a demo day on a lake and I tried both the Pamlico and an Ocean Kayak single. It was an unfair comparison, but the single without a seat was incredibly uncomfortable, less stable and wet from the outset. The Pamlico was surprisingly fast, the seats were more comfortable than my Volvo and the rudder was a huge bonus. When I told the Wilderness Systems rep that I would be going out with my 195 pound brother (I'm 175) and my 45 pound daughter, he said it would be too close to the max weight for the 140 and not be as stable as I wanted. I ended up going for the Pamlico 160 with the rudder. On sale, I got it fully outfitted for $850, which included the two fully-adjustable seats, a child seat and the rudder system. The kayak is everything I was looking for. Great initial stability, faster than I thought, lots of room for two guys and a small child, the seats are unbelievably comfortable and allow for numerous adjustments, and the rudder was quite nice in a small chop. Additionally, it comes with a little cupholder, again something my Volvo doesn't have. I love this boat. The only problem is and the reason for my rating it an 8, rather than a 10, is that it's an absolute tank. I thought I might be able to carry 85 pounds. Not a chance and not even easy pulling on a paddle boy. This is a big heavy boat that will be great for anyone in similar circumstances to me and can leave the boat near to where they will be putting it and exiting the water. One other strike, and this is not so much related to the model but rather semi-enclosed vs. sit on top, is that its slightly harder to clean and empty water from. Nevertheless, for me, the Pamlico is infinitely better option for the variety of kayaking I am likely to do and only slightly more expensive, when you add seats and other accessories than the OK Malibu 2 XL. I will be very happy with my Pamlico until the next time that I have to get the boat on top of my car without any help.
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