Ocean Kayak Malibu Two Review
Ocean Kayak’s Malibu Two tandem kayak offers versatility, stability and durability for any kayaker. For beginners or those looking for a relaxing paddle especially it’s a great option with some desirable features. Let’s take a look at what it has to offer and if it’s worth your time and money.
How We Rated the Malibu Two Tandem Kayak
3.8 out of 5
| Performance: 8|
Value for Money: 8
- Tandem sit-on-top kayak
- Seating capacity of 2 adults
- 12 feet long
- 34 inches wide
- Weighs 57 lbs
- Load capacity of 425 lbs
Malibu Two XL
- Tandem sit-on-top kayak
- Seating capacity of 2 adults
- 13 feet 4 inches long
- 34 inches wide
- Weighs 68 lbs
- Load capacity of 500 lbs
Malibu Kayaks design recreational kayaks for families, fishing kayaks for pro anglers, and diving kayaks for the more adventurous. They were initially kayak retailers before making the transition to manufacturing. This move was motivated by their belief that they could develop better kayaks than what was available after analyzing their customers’ requirements, unique preferences, and regional needs.
Since beginning kayak production in 1999, they have created the Pro Explorer, Extreme, Pro 2 Tandem, X-Factor Mini-X, Sierra 10, and the more recent Ranger series. The Sierra 10 and the Ranger Series are sit-in-side models, but all Malibu kayaks are designed for dry seating, stability, and versatility, impressively even the sit-on-tops.
Reasons to Buy:
- It comes with a limited lifetime warranty
- Good sized cockpit with comfort plus seat backs and foot bracing
- Plenty of storage options throughout the kayak
- Easy to carry and transport
- Capacity of up to two people
- It is made of tough material that is abrasion-resistant and durable
Reasons to Shop Around:
- The comfort plus seat backs are purchased separately at an extra cost.
- Not designed for more advanced kayaking by any means
- We’re hearing some buzz that newer models don’t have the endurance of older ones.
Breakdown by Category
The Malibu Tandem Two offers versatility and fun for newcomers and those who have a little experience and want a relaxing, fun time out on the water. Let’s see how it breaks down category by category.
There’s a good reason that you see these kayaks everywhere, especially when you’re heading out on guided tours. For newcomers to kayaking, and especially those who want to experience a trip with a partner out on calm waters, these are fantastic. The Malibu Tandem Two handles well on lakes and even in slow moving rivers. You’ll have a fun experience that won’t see you fighting with the kayak or the water to do what you want to do.
If you prefer kayaking alone, the design is easily adapted to solo runs as well. You won’t feel like you’re struggling to control the boat by any means. The stability here is top notch which is why it’s such a good choice for children or beginners.
The Malibu Two has been a favorite of adventure tours for years now and, as such, these things take a beating. The kayaks are designed with ultra-high-density super linear polyethylene plastic which is meant to be tough and durable over the long haul. They come already fitted with skid plates to protect the bow and stern stems of the kayak from impact and abrasion. But here’s the thing – newer models of these kayaks have reportedly not been standing up as well as older ones.
Basically, if you have an older version, say from 5 or 6 years ago, it might be tougher than the more recent ones. At least, that’s according to what I’ve heard from people running kayak tours and using these on the regular. Watch for cracks around the scupper holes as that seems to be where they form most often.
In general, these can take a bit of a beating but it does seem like, for the money, you can find some tougher kayaks out there.
Their molded-in seat wells lower the center of gravity, making it easier to balance the Malibu 2 in comparison to other sit-on-top kayaks. You can hook up your comfort plus seat backs on these seat wells, in the middle if you are paddling solo, or the stern and bow seats when in tandem. The patented overlapping foot wells ensure the paddlers have comfortable foot bracing that makes paddling easier.
The big issue here is that the comfort plus seat backs have to be bought separately. That won’t break the bank but it’s a little disappointing that you need to invest in something else if you want a more comfortable trip.
A screw-in drain plug provides a watertight fit to enable you to control water accumulation in the cockpit from the drain. This drainage is important for the boat and will help cool the cockpit on very sunny days. In freezing weather, the water can be very uncomfortable, and a watertight plug comes in handy.
There are molded-in carry handles on the sides of the kayaks and bow and stern toggle handles for ease of carrying. The super linear polyethylene plastic is also relatively light for the size of the kayak. The weight and ergonomic handles make it easy to move around on and off the water.
At 63 lbs it’s not the lightest vessel you’ll ever try to portage but it’s not a bulky monster either.
Because of the way the seating can be configured you have some versatility with the Malibu Tandem Two that you may not get in other models. You can use this as a pair or alone and the shift is a breeze.
This is by no means an advanced level kayak but for kids, newcomers and just casual kayakers there’s a lot to enjoy here. Solo runs, group runs, and even some low intensity fishing are all options here.
You don’t want to take this out in the open ocean or through rushing rapids. Likewise, if you’re doing some serious fishing, there are better kayaks designed for fishing excursions. But we’re talking versatility here and the fact the Malibu Tandem Two can jump between uses so easily is a real solid advantage.
Tandem kayaks tend to lose out on storage space in the process of accommodating extra paddlers. Ocean Kayak tried to work around this hurdle by creatively utilizing other sections of the Malibu Two.
There are provisions for installing three round Gaspachi hatches at the bow, center, and stern for the Ocean Kayaks Malibu two and bow and stern for the Malibu 2 XL; this one has an oval cross lock hatch provision at the center.
They also come with bow and stern straps or bungee storage compartments to hold your gear. There are two side bungee handles with paddle holders on the bow left and the stern right side
Value for Money
All Malibu Kayaks products purchased from authorized Malibu Kayaks dealers come with a limited lifetime warranty that ensures your kayak has no manufacturing material or workmanship defects. This boosts your peace of mind as you consider investing in them. Specific details can be found on their website or the owner’s manuals that come with the purchase.
The price you pay for a kayak of this quality and versatility is not going to be wasted. There are cheaper options out there but I don’t know that all of them offer the stability and versatility you get here, at least not for a beginner to intermediate kayaker. When you get more into the sport or want to challenge yourself more, then an upgrade may be due. But until then, there’s solid value here.
Should You Buy The Malibu Two Tandem Kayak?
The Ocean Kayak Malibu Two is a decent all-around kayak that is ideal for an initial investment. It can be used for various expeditions from diving, recreational paddling to snorkeling and angling. It gives you the option of going out with friends or family while leaving the possibility of a solo mission open.
If you’re looking for a fishing-specific kayak, then you may want to check out other products like the Stealth-9. But if you like to keep things leisurely and fun then yes, the Malibu Two tandem kayak is worth the buy.