Advise needed for tandem SOT

I am looking for a sit on top tandem. So far I think I have it narrowed down to the Ocean Malibu II, Malibu II XL, Cobra Tandem, and Hobie Kona. It will be used most of the time on a large lake with my wife and I. Trips will be generally just an hour or two at a time. My wife has been having back problems in the last year so having a comfortable seat it a top priority. Looking for a SOT so it will be easier for her to get in and out of. I’m trying to keep the price around $1,000 ish.

I’ve read the reviews on these and they all seem pretty equal. I’d like to hear from others that have experience with these or get any other recommendations. Also I see that the Ocean kayaks offer several different seats. Which seat would be the most comfortable? Thanks for your help.

I make my wife drive shuttle. But
on the entry and exit comfort issue, has she tried some SOT tandems in the showroom?

Thing is, sometimes the gunwales on a canoe are actually a help for someone getting in or out. One doesn’t have to get so far down, and with one’s weight already up on the seat, getting up may be easier than with a SOT.

There are a bunch of back-supportive things for canoe seats, though again, you have to try them.

The foot support choices in a SOT do make it easier for a person with back problems to avoid having their loose legs pulling them out of the comfort zone. But foam foot supports can be glued to the bottom of a canoe.

Not pushing canoes, I kayak also, but I wanted to make sure your wife would find the overall comfort balance favorable in a tandem SOT.

in a tandem kayak both paddlers have to synchronize their strokes or else they’ll bang their paddles which is irritating. In a canoe, you’re far enough apart to keep this from happening. I am a kayak paddler, but if I wanted to go tandem, I’d get a canoe.

banging paddles
My girlfriend and I tried out a Malibu IIXL last weekend and she ended up buying one. I found that we could ignore the synchronization of our paddles without even coming close to banging paddles.

alternate suggestion

– Last Updated: Apr-16-14 3:35 PM EST –

My partner and I both kayak and canoe, and for what you are talking about, I would look at the Mad River Adventure 14 or 16 plastic canoe. Dick's Sporting goods sells them for under $600, sometimes labeled the Passage model (we picked up our 16' used for $400) and they have some of the features of both a canoe and kayak -- for tandem paddling it is what we prefer for lakes and rivers and we use double ended kayak paddles with it, a 230 cm in the bow and a 240 in the stern. These boats handle nicely, track well, have comfortable forward speed and weigh about the same as a plastic sit on top kayak yet are easier to haul, gunwales down, on the car. Also better space to haul lunch and gear and a much dryer ride. The low sides, relatively modest width and rolled coaming make it look similar to a kayak.

They are easier to enter than most kayaks (don't be panicked by what appears to be "tippiness" when you first climb in, it is actually a stable boat overall). Comfort wise, they have a flip up seat back that suits my companion, who has tight hamstrings and likes the lumbar support, while I can keep the back out of the way and sit up straight and unsupported the way I prefer. Being able to change leg position more so than you can in a kayak also can lead to more comfort for some people. They even have a center seat for a third passenger.

Take a look at them -- you may be a convert. Very enjoyable craft to paddle for day trips at a good price. You might want to read the reviews of it on here (the "Reviews" tab above.)

My Experience with Tandem SOTs
I have rented Malibu IIs and surfed my friends Malibu many times. It’s a big friendly tub. It is very seaworthy but it is a slow paddler and not very comfortable for a bad back.

Cobra tandem is a little better.

I would skip the shorter Hobbie and go with the Oddysey. It paddles much faster and glides through the water compared to the other boats you are looking at. The seating is more comfortable, and it is more versatile because you can move the seats and paddle it as a solo from the center seat. I owned one for about 7 years, and paddled lakes and ocean. My wife was comfortable in the boat and she does not like canoes. All of these boats are heavy. You need to learn how to lift one end onto the rear rack when loading. Also buy a good pair of wheels to transport it.