There’s nothing quite like a day of kayaking: gliding effortlessly through the water, the sun warming your face and the earthy smells of the water wafting through your nose. There’s just one thing that could make that day better – a partner. Someone to share in the experience, and someone who will join you in telling stories that bring envy to those who didn’t spend their day on the water. While most serious paddlers have their own boat, it certainly can pay to have room for a friend who might have the free time, but not the equipment, to join the adventure. For this, you need the tandem kayak, a boat built for two.
The Malibu Two from Ocean Kayak is a fine example of the kind of boat you need to bring a friend along. It’s lightweight and well built, and most importantly, it’s a tandem kayak that can be piloted even when you have to spend the day by your lonesome.
What You Want in a Tandem Kayak
First off, it’s important to not get too carried away with your expectations of a tandem kayak. They’re usually slow, lacking in space, and not as maneuverable as a solo kayak. That’s the price you pay for being able to take along a friend. The key to finding the right boat is balancing these disadvantages and choosing the one that best fits your purposes.
Tandems usually cost quite a bit more than solo kayaks, sometimes almost double, so it might be better to purchase two solos. But assuming you only want to purchase and store one boat, picking one that can also be paddled solo is critical. If you think you’ll be going solo very often, it’s best to choose a boat that can be reconfigured to be a single-seater and allows you paddle from the center.
The second major consideration is weight. Tandem boats are usually quite heavy, weighing between sixty and one hundred pounds. That kind of weight is manageable when you have two people carrying the kayak, but if you intend to ever use the boat alone, it’s important to purchase one that’s relatively light.
The last main consideration for a tandem kayak is its volume. Tandems are usually only a little bit longer than their solo counterparts; this means the rear bulkhead compartment is scarified to create the second seat. If you think you’ll ever need to carry any gear, you’ll either want to buy a longer boat or one that’s got enough deck rigging to attach a few things. On a related note, you also want to carefully consider the boat’s carrying capacity. Top solo kayaks can usually hold a hundred pounds of gear or more, but adding another person to the same volume of kayak can easily exceed this capacity. Consider who your most likely paddling partners will be, and make sure their weight plus your own doesn’t take you over the weight limit.
Ocean Kayak Malibu Two Review
The Malibu Two is a sit-on-top kayak with a 12-foot length. It’s not particularly long for a tandem and doesn’t have much space for gear. The bow and stern have indentions that could fit a dry bag, but there’s only minimal deck rigging to hold it all in. However, the boat only weighs 58 pounds, so it’s not too difficult to carry.
For a sit-on-top kayak, it tracks pretty well and is quite stable as it’s 34 inches at its widest. Going fast probably isn’t going to be a major consideration for buyers of this boat, but with two experienced paddlers, it could get going at a good clip.
This kayak can be converted from a tandem to a solo with fairly minimal effort. There are actually three sets of foot wells in the kayak, meaning a seat can be put in the center of the boat. This makes it much easier to paddle solo.
The Malibu Two’s maximum carrying capacity is 425 lbs, which can generally hold two adults, but filling it to capacity will lead to a poor paddling experience. For paddlers who would like to carry more weight, Ocean Kayak makes a version that’s one and a half feet longer and has almost 100 lbs more capacity.
As you can see from this Malibu Two review , it’s a boat that exceeds most of the expectations for a tandem kayak. Converting easily from a tandem to a solo kayak just might be the best feature you could ask for in this kind of boat. Providing a good solo paddling experience makes it less of a specialized piece of equipment and more of an everyday, go-to boat. Its versatility should lead to more time on the water, because paddling is just more fun when you bring a friend.