Entry level SOT Tandem

My wife and I spent an enjoyable day in the Florida Keys learning to kayak… despite the term “divorce boat” she only threatened to murder me a few times… :wink:

Anyway, our rental was an Ocean Malibu 2 XL… we liked this a lot and saw where it would be very useful for some of the other water we’re around (mostly lakes, but some slow moving rivers and protected bays).

So I want to get a similar kayak… pretty sure I want a SOT due to easy deep water entry/exit and we want a pretty high capacity boat (neither of us are small… and for some of our trips would be carrying gear, etc). Stability is more improtant than speed at this point… though I’d also like to occaisionally be able to paddle solo. Strictly casual use though and only a few times a year, so I’m looking for a very basic setup.

So since we were very comfortable with it, obviously the Malibu 2 XL is on the list… seems to be $900ish locally.

After reading the archives and reviews on other sites, it’s seems a “gold standard” in this class is the Hobie Odyssey… about $1200 new but a local dealer has a few used onces starting about $700.

I also came across a similar looking kayak with a slightly higher capacity in the Feelfree Corona, also around $900 locally.

I’m leaning towards the Hobie… any thoughts between the three or other options I could readily find in the DC area?



Hobie is a better boat in many ways …
The Hobie will paddle faster as is more comfortable for long trips. 700 used seems like a reasonable price if it comes with the seats.

You said neither one of you is small. If you are quite large I’d stick with the Malibu II XL. If the bow paddler is very heavy, the front footwells tend to fill with water. See if you can test paddle any boat.

The feel free boats are junk.

Stability is not what you think it is, when you are getting started. A boat that fills tippier on flatwater may actually be much more secure in waves. That being said the Hobie does not surf well, the Malibu II actually will surf big waves if the crew knows what they are doing.

quantifying weight…
Thanks much for the feedback…

I should have quantified “not small”…

I’m about 210 and the wife is about 170… is that pushing it for the Hobie?

Thanks again!!


My wife and I were in the Keys in March

– Last Updated: Jun-01-09 9:20 AM EST –

One day, we rented a Tarpon 130T and really enjoyed it. It was short but it moved well and we had no problems with small waves on Florida Bay or in the ocean. Not to confuse you- just another alternative:


The dealer search shows many dealers in Maryland but not DC.

thanks for the additional suggestion!
Thanks for the additional suggestion… that looks like a very reasonable option as well.

In doing an expanded Craigslist search (as well as getting feedback from a Craigslist “WTB” post) I’ve found a number of non-XL Malibu II’s in the $400-500 range, but the (few) prices I’m seeing for the Hobie makes the local dealer ones seem reasonable…

Since we don’t forsee much if any surf use (possible the occaisional OBX trip, but that would be rare) unless someone thinks the weights I’ve listed would be problematic with the Odyssey, I’m still leaning towards that model.

Now to figure out the best way to carry on a soft top Tracker :wink:

Thanks again!


Save your life
Have you BOTH tried solo boats? You may find that you both like that better. My wife and I find it much less stressful when we are in seperate boats. The tandem is good for when she wants to take pictures. And there is much less chance of an on water homocide.

solo boats
My wife is not as comfortable in/on the water as I am… if we had solo boats, I would likely find myself solo 90% of the time and hers never getting used.

She enjoys going out, but feels more comfortable with someone else “in control”… I think eventually with more time she could eventually graduate to a solo boat, but for the few times a year I think we could reasonably expect to get out there (never mind the more complicated logistics of carrying two solo boats), at least for now a tandem is going to be the best solution.


Bill- you will hear a lot about tandems
being divorce boats. I enjoy both paddling solo and in a tandem with my wife. You decide. Don’t let someone else decide whether you should paddle solo or tandem.

No it should be OK
Some water will come in the front footwell. Some people freak out about this. You can use scupper plugs but you really want the boat to be able to drain if you are in waves. All the boats you are discussing, you are going to get wet, a bit, when paddling.

my decision got made for me…
I went to look at that “used” Hobie at the local dealer. Turns out it was it was a showroom/boat show model that had never been in the water…

They came down a bit on the price and threw in new seats, 3 paddles, water bottles, and new life preservers… made it too good of a deal to pass up.

Thanks again for the advice… I’ll report back after my first trip!