Malibu Pro Explorer

Please give me all the info any of you have on this Yak. Tell me the differences between it and the Manta Ray 12, and the WS 135 Ride.

I paddled the ProEx when I was looking for an X-Factor… wound up in something entirely different, but that’s another matter. The X-Factor is a superior hull for really big paddlers that have fewer options when choosing a kayak. All the Malibu kayaks seem to have a loyal following, and the Pro Explorer is no exception. With your boat, you will have to accept certain limitations… it’s heavy for its size and will never win a race. On the plus side, all Malibus are very stable, can carry a huge load, and are relatively easy to customize.

If you decide that you want a rudder, it CAN be done on the Pro Explorer. Search the forum archives and/or KFS “how-to” articles for instructions.

So get out there and enjoy your new purchase! Okay-- wait for the ice to melt first. You will want another kayak sooner than you might expect, but that’s not a flaw on the part of your Pro Explorer-- it’s a standard addiction that comes with the sport!


finally got to spend some quality time with my new Manta Ray 12. This is my first SOT, and can only compare it with the SIKs I’ve been fishing from for years.

My initial observations:

Only a circus freak will be able to stand in the MR12 while fishing.

Sitting sidesaddle was very uncomfortable for me. The angles are very sharp near the seat.

I bumped the side handles a few times while paddling. It my be just that I’m used to paddling a SIK, but it seem like the side handles are placed in a very bad position.

There is a lot of freeboard, and the wind was moving me all over the lake.

I was really impressed with the seat! I spent about 8 hours in the seat yesterday, and was comfortable the entire time. My buddy in his SIK started complaining of discomfort about 2 hours into the trip.

The MR12 has a very nice glide, and tracks very well. There were a ton of ski boats beating the water to froth, and the MR12 cut right through the chop without any problems. It paddles very easily, and I constantly had to stop and wait for my fishing buddy to catch-up. I did not have the GPS with me, but will get some actual speed measurements on my next trip.

It is much more maneuverable that I had anticipated. Although it tracks very well, it also can turn on a dime. There is a ton of exposed timber in the lake that we were fishing, and I had no problem negotiating them. One quick paddle stroke will turn the MR12 90 degrees or more.

It is a much drier ride than I expected. While moving, some water shot through the scuppers, but there was no water in the kayak at rest (I only weigh around 145Lbs). Most importantly, the seat was bone dry for the entire trip.

Overall, I was very please with the Manta Ray 12, but I might have to take it back…….it didn’t catch any fish.


Well, I have had her for a month and have been slowly getting her rigged and I’m nearly done. Today she made it to her first sea trial, albeit a fresh water run but a run none the less. Labrador Jack swam alongside for the duration, he’s pretty pooped.

After coming from a Cobra Fish n’ Dive, this thing is a cream puff! She’s extremely stable with the pontoon hull design yet she cuts through the water and tracks quite well. I feel no less stable in this craft than I did in the venerable FnD. The FnD was a nice ship but compared to the Ride 135, “ship” is an understatement. The balance of this yak allows me to off load and carry which was previously a greater feat. I’m 6’0" @ 205 lbs and the layout and leg room is incredible. I’m paddling with the foot stops a little outboard of their center-most position so there’s tons of room for leg adjustment for a bigger guy.

I wasn’t sporting any equipment onboard other than the new Cuda 250 on a stick (Ram Mount), it’s power source (10 NiMH AA’s), a Ritchie X15 Compass, and my carbon fibre Aquatech paddle. While paddling into about a 5 kt. wind with a mild current I was able to sustain about 4 knots of speed without breaking too much of a sweat and steering was very easy with virtualy no influence from the mild wind.

So far I have her set up with the FF decribed above, 2 flush mount rod holders just aft of the cockpit, a front hatch keeper, anchor trolley, and I’m waiting to decide on a spot for the Ram Rod Holder “IF” I decide to actually use it. I was surprised by its size when I received it as well as the difference in its ball attachment being so much larger than the standard Ram equipment. We’ll see how that goes.

A few more freshwater runs where I’ll dump it and practice re-boarding, etc., then it’s out to the big blue Pacific. Our Rockfish season starts Tuesday!

Malibu Pro Ex
Jerlfletcher, thanks so much for your advice on the Pro Ex. Even though I know it is slower then some other Yaks, I am still thinking about it. I also like the Manta Ray 12, and the Ride 135.

Malibu Pro Ex
It appears there are 2 other replys to my subject, but none of the authers appeared on them.

The one about the Manta Ray 12 was very informative. If you have any other advice or info, Please continue.

I think the last entry was about the Ride 135. If so please let me know for sure. I like all 3 Yaks.

The reason I am looking at the Pro Ex a little harder the the Ray or 135 is that the Pro Ex is supposed to be more stable.

I will give some info on myself. I am 60yo, weigh 185#, and am 5’ 7 1/2" tall. I plan to use my Yak mainly for freshwater fishing in small creeks and the river at times. TYhis ins in Easter NC, where there are lots of snakes. I rewalize the chance of overturning a Yak is far greater than in my 14 ft aluminum jon boat. It is a heavy duty model. I hope to get used to using a Yak so I don’t have to bother with an outboard or a trailer, and to be able to take my Yak with me when I want to stop by the river for 2 to 3 hours of fishing on the way home from work. I really want something that I could enter easily from the bank and that would turn fairly easily in some of the tight places I’d like to fish. Stability is one of my main concerns. I am also close to the ocean. I may never try putting a Yak in the ssurf, but would like to be able to do so if conditions were favorable.

I love the idea of the Manta Ray being able to maneuver so guickly. I have run up on snakes and hornets nests a lot while fishing in creeks and the river. Sometimes a quick maneuver can get you out of a lot of trouble. Again, stability is one of my main concerns because i would probably be by myself most of the time. Please tell me if the Manta Ray fits this description. I like the speed and the maneuverability of it, and there is a dealer fairly close by. I would have to travel 3 hours to get to a Malibu dealer, but i would do that, or buy via the net if I decide on one.

Thanks to all who have replied.

Rouse, the one thing you said that
would make me lean toward the Manta Ray 12 is your age. I’m 58, have two canoes and two kayaks and am finding that the weight of the kayak makes a big difference loading and unloading. My favorite kayak weighs about 65 lbs, its a pain to load on my truck. The other kayak is lighter but is under 10 ft. I’ve a tandem canoe that I’ve almost given up loading and using. It weighs 80 lbs. Recently, I acquired a solo canoe, 39lbs, 43 with the seat I installed Its become my favorite fishing and paddling craft for a variety of reasons, but in a large part because of the weight.

As for the twisty creeks, tight spaces,etc., the Manta Ray will be better. In those situations, shorter is more maneuverable, but, it may not be that significant in the two models you are looking at.

If you can paddle the Manta Ray, or the Malubu, before buying do so. I believe you will find that either is very stable and will take little getting used to. What you will find is the seat in the Ray is one of the most comfortable around. That’s important when in a kayak for more that three or four hours. If price is important, you aren’t concerned about weight, and the maneuverability is not significantly different, go with the one less expensive. No matter which you select, you are going to be happy.

Unfortunately, while this forum is one of the friendliest, it also has a very low response rate to questions like yours. Kayak users here vary so much in the areas they fish, the number of posters is very limited, and the experience with a variety of sit on top kayaks minimal. The questions you ask are very important in making the purchase. In the end, the best advice is to paddle the kayaks you have zeroed in on and make your selection. You are most likely going to be happy with what you choose.

Malibu Pro Ex
Jerlfletcher, Thanks again for the info. You have been so informative. I am seeing what you mean by varied fishing and so few who do this. I am in the early stages of getting a yak, that is if I can hold out. I feel you are right about me trying these yaks out to help make my mind up. It may take a while to try out a Pro Ex because the dealer is about 3 hours from me. I am also waiting for a dealer that is closer to me to have a demo. They had one last year and I tried out a couple just to say I had done it. At that time, it was only a fleeting interest. I can’t even tell you what the yaks I tried out were. Since then, I have become more interested because of the convenience of having a yak that can be carried with me whether I intend to fish or not.

I do have some arthritis, but work out a little in a gym, so I feel I could handle a yak a little heavier than most my own age. I love the Manta Ray from all the reviews and advice from people like yourself. I haven’t heard that much about the Pro EX yet to satisfy me, nor have I heard that much about the Ride 135. I feel if I am patient, and the people that are helping me now are patient with me, I will eventually get most of the info I want.

Thank you so much for your patience and advice. You have been a tremendous help.

I am hoping more people will see this and I’ll find out more on the Pro Ex and the Ride 135.

I had the PE.
It’s a nice little boat but as you know it’s slow especially into the wind.I would take the new Ride over it or the MR 120.Havent tried it yet but i tried the old version and everyone agrees this new one is even better.The MR 140 would be a good choice as well.

Malibu PE

Thanks for the info. Tell me more about the Ride 135. I am thinking that that is the one your mostly talking about. I have seen it, but never tried it. I have heard it is a wet ride until you start to move. If I deccide on it, I could use scupper plugs. Would the Ride 135 be fairly meneuverable for small creek fishing?

New Ride
I haven’t paddled it yet but am hoping to next weekend at the MMO paddlefest in Old Forge NY.There’s always plenty of yaks from WS so it should be there.I’ll let you know ASAP.


Please let me know about all the fishing Yaks you try out. I am mostly interested in stability, maneuverability, and dryness. The stability I spek of is to the point that the Yak could be stood on. I am not so sure about that at my age. I really like the Manta Ray 12, but the MR 14 seems to be much more stable and dry and faster. The MR 12 should be more maneeverable. I like the Ride 135 also. I have not tried any Yaks out yet myself, but hope to soon. I am waiting for a Demo at the sporting goods store about 35 miles from me. I live in a small town. There is a dealer that has the Heritage Yaks here, but they are only open 3 or 4 days a wek, during short hours. I have heard the Heritage Redfish 12 is another good Yak.

For standing
you can forget the MR’s.Yaks with that much stability include the;

Malibu eXtreme-had one,very nice but slows heading into chop.I could stand in it but there’s not much room/flat area for your feet.

Malibu X Factor-AFAIK the most stable yak and easiest with enough foot room to stand in.

Old Ride-easy to stand in with plenty of room for standing.

New Ride-maybe

Not sure about the Heritage Redfish/Marquesa but I hear it’s very stable.

Bernie, thanks again
for the info. I went back to the sporting goods store in Greenville NC and talked with them again. I am supposed to get back with them to set up a dae to try out a Ride 135, Manta Ray 12, Hobie Quetst, and a Huricane Phoenix 130. I will let you know how that goes. I may try to get up with the daelr for Heritage in our town and see if a demo could be set up for the Redfish and the other Yak you mentioned.

Those two
are the same yak.Only difference is one is set up for fishing.I’d recommend the Marquesa as it’s cheaper to do that yourself and you can put the rod holders where you want rather than where someone else thinks they should be.

The dropped the Marqeusa name,
both are Redfish, one’s an angler model, the other not. Believe the angler Redfish comes with flush mount rod holders, not a good idea for salt water fishing.

jerlfletcher, The guy who has the Heritage dealership in my town, is only open about 4 days, and for short hours. I will try to think to call and ask about the times. This guy works at the same site as I do, for a different company, but I am not familiar with him. They do have rentals. Their shop is in the same building with another business. It has a door to enter the shop from inside the other busineess. I went in there once when I went in for parts and the guy told me a litle about it. Anyway. I will attempt to see if I can visit the shop. Since the weather is a bit warmer, they nmay stay open a little longer. Thanks for the advice on the model with the rod holders. Even if i don’t go into the ocean with a Yak, I will need to have rod holders placed as cloe to me as possible because I am short and have some problems with arthritis.

Flush mount rodholders are placed
behind you, so require some turning of the back and shoulders to get to. I don’t have many arthritis problems, but do find it awkward to grab stuff from behind me. Scotty makes reasonably inexpensive rod holders. There are a lot of different mounts for Scotty rod holders. In the Scotty system, the mount I prefer is a flush mount, then the rod holder fits into the mount, keeping your reel out of the spray of water. But, I carry my kayak upside down on my truck, so being able to remove the rod holders and have a flush deck is important to me. With a SOT, that is not as much a consideration as you can carry the kayak right side up.

Rod holders
jerlfletcher, thank you for the info on rodholders. The Scotties you are talking about are the same as the young man suggeted at the sporting goods store in Greenville NC. I like the idea of flush mount that you makes the Scotties removeable.

Redfish 12
jerlfletcher, I went to that Heritage dealer on a hunch the other day after work, i It was open and I found out his hours, He got one of his Redfish 12s down and I got to sit in it on the showroom floor. It was impressive, but I want to give it a try in the water and a WS ride 135 from the dealer in Greeneville NC. The price of the Redfish will be higher, but it is a local dealer who is just getting started. The Redfish 12s don’t come with the hatch in front of the rower, so that would be an extra cost.

Factor in what it will cost you to drive
to another dealer, both to try out the kayak and to go back later if you purchase. If its a close race as to which kayak will work better, then just do the math. With gas prices, the dealer’s price for to different brand of kayaks you like equally well may not be that much higher for the one closer to you. whichever you choose, the ones you’ve narrowed selection to are all pretty good ones. You aren’t going to be disappointed.

Redfish 12
jerlfletcher, I will try out as many yaks as possible before I buy. I have read enough from everyone now that I now that the shape and weight of a person will determine the best yak for yak selection. The heritage dealer will charge $35 to take me out. I think that covers some training too. Also, if I decide on the Redfish, the $35 will be applied to the cost of the boat. If I decide on one of the boats at Greeneville, I’m not sure yet if there will be a cost or not. If so, I will feel better about my selection if it does.