Kayaking is a fun hobby that is becoming more and more popular. People are getting into kayaking from a younger age and more families are taking up the hobby together, spending their weekends out on the water.
It is a great way to keep fit, to enjoy the great outdoors, and feel closer to nature.
Once you have decided that you want to give kayaking a try, you will need to get yourself some equipment.
Most importantly, you will need to choose a kayak. Or maybe you already enjoy kayaking and are ready to upgrade your kayak for something new?
Finding the right Kayak can be difficult. Whether you are an experienced kayaker or you are new to the sport, there are so many different products on the market that it can be tough to know which one is going to be best for you.
A beginner will have a different set of needs from their kayak than someone who has been doing it for years.
The Sun Dolphin Aruba 8 SS Kayak has become very popular, partly due to it being priced very competitively, so we have reviewed this product to help you decide if this is the right kayak for you.
This recreational kayak is great for beginners and has some excellent features which we will outline. There are a few drawbacks, as with any product, so keep reading to find out whether you should buy a Sun Dolphin Aruba 8 SS for yourself.
The Sun Dolphin Aruba 8 SS is 8 feet long and 28 inches wide and it weighs just under 30 pounds.
It is shorter than a lot of other similar kayaks. This makes it easier to transport in the car and easier to carry back and forth to the water. It could even fit in the boot of some SUVs or trucks without the need for a roof rack.
This is a single person sit-in kayak with a cockpit that measures 19 inches by 37 inches. The maximum weight capacity of this kayak is 260 pounds, but it tends to perform better when the person using it weighs considerably less than this.
Inside the cockpit is an adjustable seat with padding for your back. Between the cushioning and the options for different seating positions, the seat offers great support for your back as you paddle.
However, it lacks padding on the seat itself and your bottom may start to feel numb after about an hour of being out on the water. This can be remedied by bringing additional padding or cushioning with you -preferably waterproof.
There are no footrests inside the cockpit which can affect comfort on longer trips. This kayak is more suitable for short trips of an hour or two rather than full days out on the water.
The kayak itself is made from high density polythene which makes it durable yet lightweight. It can handle being dropped and bumped around a bit, so you know that if you accidentally hit a rock it won’t be the end of the world.
The kayak is light enough to be lifted by one person, which makes it easy to get it on and off the car, and to carry it from the car to the shore. It also makes it easy to pull out of the water.
The carry handles also help to make it more portable and easy to carry. The minimal weight of the kayak means that it is easily maneuvered in the water, even by people who aren’t very strong paddlers. T
he polythene is UV resistant so you can store the kayak in the sun without it getting damaged.
The kayak is designed in a V shape which means it moves through the water easily. The kayak responds well to the paddle and to bodyweight when it comes to changing direction, making it fun and easy to use.
However, it is fairly wide with a short keel so it can be difficult to build up speed at any speed in this kayak. The shape of the kayak also makes it more prone to tipping in rougher waters.
There are scupper holes in the kayak which allow you to drain water easily if it capsizes or gets water in the cockpit, but the scupper holes are not standard size. This means it could be tricky to find replacement plugs.
Inside the cockpit is a recessed drinks holder, so you can keep yourself hydrated easily whilst on the move.
There is also a molded paddle holder to keep your paddles in place while you get in and out of the kayak, to stop them falling in the water. The kayak comes with a paddle included but is not particularly durable compared to other paddles on the market.
As you can see, this kayak has some excellent features, but it falls short in a few areas.
- The kayak s very reasonably priced
- It is lightweight and durable
- It has good maneuverability
- The carry handles make it easy to get the kayak in and out of the water
- There are a range of colors to choose from
- There is a dry storage compartment
- Additional bungee cord storage
- The cockpit is fairly large
- There is no padding for bottom
- No footrests
- It is not very steady when you are trying to get in and out
- It is quite wide with a short keel which makes it hard to build up speed
- There is no rudder or skeg
- It only comes with a paddle, no other accessories
Frequently Asked Questions
What Other Accessories Will I Need?
As we mentioned above, this kayak comes with a paddle but no other accessories. Some other products aimed at beginners come with more free accessories, so it is worth keeping that in mind when you consider the price.
Although it comes with a paddle it is not very durable. You may want to consider upgrading this when you can.
Safety comes first, so we recommend getting a lifejacket and a helmet. If you plan on using your kayak in poor lighting conditions then make sure your life jacket has some light reflecting strips or high visibility material. You might also benefit from a safety whistle.
The seat is not very comfortable on your bottom, so you might want to get yourself a waterproof seat pad or cushion. This will enable you to stay out on the water for longer.
You could also buy an anchor kit so you can stop to have a drink or a snack when you find a nice spot.
As there is limited storage space on the kayak, you could consider getting a dry bag that attaches to the kayak, so you can put some food and drinks in there. Inflatable dry bags float in the water, which helps to keep your food and drinks cool on a warm day.
If you don’t already have a roof rack on your car, then you will probably need one in order to transport your kayak to the water.
Is This Kayak Suitable For Beginners?
This kayak is definitely suitable for beginners, and recreational kayakers. It is aimed at people who will only be using it on calm waters in good weather conditions.
It is easy to transport and easy to maneuver through the water, making it ideal for people who don’t have much kayaking experience. The lack of speed won’t matter to a beginner who is still finding their feet, or to someone who enjoys a leisurely paddle.
This is a great first kayak for a child or teenager, as it is easy to use and the tracking performance is better when the kayak is at less than maximum weight capacity.
This kayak will not perform very well in challenging waters, like open sea and fast rivers, so it is not suitable for experienced kayakers.
Can This Kayak Be Used Or fishing?
It is not recommended to use this kayak for fishing. There is not enough onboard storage for all of the equipment necessary for fishing, and no rod holders built into the cockpit.
It is also not designed to be steady enough to take the force of someone reeling in a fish, so the kayak is likely to capsize.
You would also struggle to stand up in the kayak and remain steady, as it can be quite tricky to get in and out of. If you want to go fishing in your kayak, you would be better off spending more money and buying a kayak that has been specifically designed for fishing.
Are Sit-in Kayaks Better Than Sit-On-Top Kayaks?
There is a debate amongst kayakers over which is better, sit-in kayaks or sit-on-top kayaks. Sit-in kayaks tend to give you better stability and more shelter from the water and wind. They have more space for personal items and comfier seating.
You can also brace your knees against the cockpit of a sit-in kayak to help you paddle more forcefully and to assist you in keeping your balance.
However, sit-in kayaks can flip and capsize more easily, and when that happens they will fill with water. Getting yourself in and out of a sit-in kayak can be quite challenging.
Now that you know more about this product, should you buy it? The answer to that question depends entirely on what you are looking for from your kayak.
If you are a beginner looking for a kayak to use at weekends on relatively flat water, then this could be the kayak for you. If you want to get out onto a flat lake or gentle stream for an hour or two, and you want something that is relatively inexpensive but durable, then this product would be perfect.
It would also be an ideal beginner kayak for children or young teenagers, as it performs better when it is carrying less weight.
If you are a more experienced kayaker then this is not the right product for you. It is not suitable for fast flowing rivers, choppy waves or whitewater. It is not designed for trips that are longer than a few hours long, as it lacks the comfort and storage space needed for longer trips.
You won’t be able to go very fast, and you will need a high performance paddle if you are a more experienced kayaker.