Submitted: 09-19-2005 by MikeSSS
Fred, 240lb, and I, 220lb, tested many kayaks yesterday. Current was in the opposite direction of the wind.
Fred disliked the Tarpon 120 a lot. The Tarpon 160 didn't seem especially fast to either of us but was very difficult to turn. The Drifter and Prowler 13 both dumped me unexpectedly during paddle strokes. Both almost dumped me several times, perhaps the center bottoms had been deformed by stacking or by hauling in and out with people in them.
The Ride was just fantastic. Very stable even leaning out over the side. It was easy to move around in and easy to turn. The Ride kept up with the Tarpon 160 unless Fred paddled really hard in the 160. Acceleration was much better in the Ride than in the other boats. Tracking without rudder was good in the wind and current. We both thought the Ride was far superior to the other single seaters.
Then we both tested a used Malibu 2, paddling solo. The Malibu 2 is also a superb kayak. Solo from the rear seat left the nose very high, solo from the center seat was excellent. The Malibu 2 was almost as stable as the Ride and seemed to be about as fast. Tracking without a rudder was the best of any of the boats tested and turning from a stop was also the best. This Malibu 2 did not have any hatches so there is no possibility of flooding the interior. All storage would be on deck on the front and rear seat positions and there is a lot of storage area. The Malibu 2 can carry two people but it is heavier than the Ride. Seating is dry in the Malibu 2.
In summary, both the Ride and the Malibu 2 are excellent boats. They don't look alike but do perform alike in many ways. They were pretty much tied for the best kayak we paddled yesterday and they were vastly superior to the other boats.