A Review of the Malibu Ocean Two XL Tandem Sit Top Kayak

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You lean back. The sun smiles on your face, warming your skin. The cool water dampens the sun’s heat. It is a little hot today, but you can jump into the water to cool down if need be. You breathe in, breathe out, and paddle. It is a nice day. Your arms have grown stronger. You picked a great kayak to bring along with you to the water today. Before that though, you read a Review of the Malibu Ocean Two XL Tandem Sit Top Kayak.

What will this piece do for you? In short, this article will give you an overview of this kayak, my own personal experience, average star ratings, customer testimonials, and accessory recommendations. After reading, you will be thoroughly satisfied and ready to come to a decision, so let’s get jump right on into it.

A General Overview and Technical Specs

Technical Specs – this Kayak’s Nitty Gritty

Length: 13 ft 4 in (4 m)
Width: 34 in (86 cm)
Weight: 68 lbs (31 kg)
Does it come with seats?: yes
Colors: surf blue, yellow, envy green, sunrise
Number of People: 2 adults + 1 child
Maximum Load: 450 to 500 lbs (204 to 227 kg)
Deck Bungees: yes
Material: single layer polyethylene
Can it be Used on Fresh Water?: yes
Price: $899.00 – $970.75

A General Overview – What to Expect from this Kayak

The Malibu 2 XL kayak comes in four different colors, surf blue, yellow, envy green, and sunrise. For an adventure on any waterway, it is a perfect fit. You can be winding your way down the lazy river or drifting just off shore on the Ocean. By a wide margin, it is the world’s most popular family kayak. If you want to get away from the family or cruz around the lake with friends, then this is an excellent kayak for you.

What separates this kayak from the competition? It is really durable, holding up to all the rage a testosterone fueled teenage boy can throw at it. The hard plastic enables it to handle its own when it bumps into rocks or the odd log here and there. If there are four or so kids scrambling all over it, then you can rest assured that the kayak will be quite alright. It also has flexibility. You can paddle solo or tandem or even throw a third person into the kayak, staying above the water even when heavily weighed down.

Because of the plastic thickness, greater than average width, and overall size, the kayak is very stable. When you see five kids climbing all over it without flipping over, you know it is quite a steady kayak. If motor boats and jet skis are in the water, you can rest assured that this kayak will hold its own despite the waves they generate. The long length enables it to go faster in the water and the wide width gives it a lot of stability. When you choose a long kayak, you choose speed over maneuverability.

My Own Experience with this Kayak

I had two key experiences with this kayak, Lake Wildwood, California, a place that can best be described as a slow paced retirement community, and Malibu, British Colombia, a world renown yachting destination and home to a Young Life camp.

Lake Wildwood, California – a Great Place to be Introduced to this Kayak

My Dad owns a house next to the water at Lake Wildwood. It is very fun to say the least. For a long time, he did not own a boat. We borrowed an inflatable raft from a friend and that was ours for a while. My Dad only bought this kayak and paddles in 2008 or 2009 for the family. That was when I first experienced this kayak. I was about 12. I did not have much say in the matter except to nag my parents to buy a boat. This kayak was the result. They bought it in store at about a $100 discount. It was a good deal to say the least. It is going to be difficult to find a similar deal.

Before I started kayaking, I wish I knew more about safety, but it is in the past, so I have to let it go. Fortunately though, I wrote an article about kayak and canoe safety not too long ago. Check it out and save yourself a lot of headache down the road or, rather, stream I should say.

==> I Want to Be Safer When I am Kayaking on the Water <==

I have taken my Mom, Dad, Aunts, nephews, nieces, and friends out on this kayak. They all really enjoyed it, appreciating the kayak. Sometimes it could be a hassle, because we disagreed about how to paddle, but I wouldn’t let it get to me and it can happen.

One of my most favorite experiences was towing my nephews. There were two of us paddling and a third in an intertube attached by rope to the boat’s back. In short, it was slow going, but a great blast. I spent my Summers with this kayak. I would flip it over, jump in the water, climb on top, and cannonball into the water. The kayak would flex and dent and distort the hull shape if you stood on the bottom of it, but a slight push popped it back into shape for more use. With my friend Blake, we would play king of the hill when the kayak was flipped over, seeing who could last the longest. I would win each time, sorry Blake. 🙂

The water was warm and I loved every minute of it. I will say this though. If it is not warm, you will feel the cold water hit you like an icicle since it is an open-top kayak, but I did not really use it too much on cold days, only the warm ones. The kayak best functions as a Summer kayak.

When I was on the water with my Dad in this kayak, he would sit in the back and I would be in the front. The heavier person usually goes in the back. It is more efficient. Anyway, he ran into back issues because of his age. As a consequence, the seats that were provided just did not cut it. If you sit in the back though, you have an advantage, you can lean back onto the boat and paddle like you were sitting by a poolside sunbathing in a Chaise lounge
chair. You still get back support and you are paddling quite comfortably. I would recommend the hard plastic seat though, especially for those long trips.

To this day, my family still has the kayak and it has been just about a decade since we bought the boat. It is still the same from the first day we bought it. There are some scratches as I expected there would be, but it stills hold its own out on the water. I enjoy every second of it.

Malibu, British Colombia – in the Cold Sea Waters of Canada

Malibu, British Colombia is the number one yachting destination in the world. The mountains tower overhead and the cool breeze chills your spine. The evergreen trees drop the temperature, blanketing the mountains in their
canopy. If you are traveling to Canada to see the country’s beauty, British Colombia is the place to go. The waterways of the province can be very chilly, especially for an open-top kayak. Still though, I had a blast with this kayak in Malibu, British Colombia.

You may ask, “Alex, how did you come to experience this kayak in British Colombia?” Well, I was part of Young Life, a Christian youth organization and I went there twice for one week Summer camps, once in 2011 and again in 2012. The place had quite a lot of these kayaks there. I would say at least twenty for all the kids that come to Malibu each and every year. For kids to the camp, kayaking was one of the options available to enjoy the scenery. My friends and I would grab a boat and set off into the chilly, Pacific ocean water. For a low fat guy like me, I was cold.

The first summer I was there, Malibu had nothing but warm, sunny days for the entire week. I would only later learn how lucky I was. We spent a lot time in these bad boys. My Young Life group would battle each other and others out on the water in these kayaks, reaching full speed and ramming into others’ Malibu kayak. Sometimes I would jump into the water and attempt to flip another boat.

We even went so far as to bunch all of our kayaks together and create a “flotilla” or a “battleship” as it were. These kayaks took a pounding to say the least. From what I saw (even though I did not ask too much), the kayaks were fine, looking much like mine at home. They were a bit beat up and scratched up, but they held their own.

At the end of each day, the Young Life staff at Malibu would spray down the kayaks with fresh water. It prevented corrosion. If you use your kayak in salt water, you need to spray off the salt with fresh water. Salt water is one of the most corrosive materials out there. To ensure the longevity of your kayak, you need to be sure and do this.

Customer Testimonials and Reviews

On Amazon, this kayak has 4.8 stars out of a possible 5, but it is only out of 9 reviews. While it is not the most reviews, they are all positive. Overall, I found the reviews to be largely positive after reading them, so here they are.

The Positive Testimonials, the Ones You See the Most

In “Perfect for the Lake,” one Amazon customer wrote, “We are fortunate to live on a lake and after researching we finally chose the Malibu Two XL. We wanted the extra size for its stability in choppy water as we have jet skis, and power boats we share the water with. It’s good-looking, and light enough that we keep it on our patio, then lift it onto the roof of our golf cart to take it to the water. I can’t say enough about customer service. They actually answer the phone and were extremely helpful after the sale, even emailing answers about after market products I wanted.” This Amazon customer gave it five stars.

Mjohnson97045 in “Very Well Built and Comfortable” wrote that, “We have a high end inflatable kayak which is fun but it lacks directional stability and speed. This kayak is much faster and much easier to keep its heading. The seats can be moved to a few different positions for solo or two up riding. Our beach is rocky and so far there is some mild scratching but nothing serious. They claim you can stand up and paddle this but you would probably have to be pretty good to do that. The seats are very comfortable and can conform to thin 14 year olds to pretty heavy adults. Just make sure you get long enough paddles as this is wider than the more traditional sit in kayaks and you sit higher up. It has some straps and webbing to hold down shoes, coolers, fishing gear etc.” In the end, the user gave it five stars.

In “Lots of Fun,” Roger G. Buffington wrote, “this Kayak gives you a stable, comfortable ride and is a lot of fun. It has self-bailing gunnels, which you can plug up for when the seas (or lake/stream/river) are calm for a somewhat drier ride. In our harbor community I find no need for this, but that is for each user to decide. With a lumbar-support seat or two, and good paddles, this kayak is great fun. Recommended. RJB.” He gave it five stars.

In “Awesome Addition to our Full-Time Airstream Traveling. Ocean or River – No Problem! All Fun!,” Adrian Rodriguez writes, “My wife and I are full-time Airstream travelers and this was the perfect addition. We’ve been looking for a while before finally choosing this particular style and make. We wanted something we could use on the ocean and river. As for our river runs, we normally won’t go through anything bigger than a Level 3 rapid. So far, the kayak has been a perfect fit for us. We also use the kayak to help train for our adventure races as we travel around the US. Its weight is not an issue. Although we have decided to purchase the 2 wheel dolly to tow it around locations that our F250 Truck cannot fit into.” He gave it five stars.

On this last review, I disagree with him on the ease of moving the kayak when it is out of the water. Because of its long length, width, and size, it can be awkward to handle. You really need two people to be able to carry it down to the water without any issues. Once in the water, it is just fine.

The Lone Four Star Review, a Needle in a High Rating Haystack

In “This Kayak Performs Great and Met all Expectations with Respect to Performance,” Redrob writes, “This kayak performs great and met all expectations with respect to performance and handling. However, I was a little disappointed in the lesser quality of “fit and finish” compared to the three older Ocean kayaks we have owned. There are many slight imperfections and “waves” in the molding. These are mostly on the top, purely cosmetic, and of no significance as far as performance…Having whined about all that, it HAS performed up to Ocean standards, at least for the short couple of months we have owned it.” This user ended up giving the kayak four stars.

While the review did lower the overall rating of the kayak and does offer a noteworthy critique of the kayak, his issue is really negligible. It is just a small cosmetic issue. I have never seen a kayak entered into a beauty contest. The kayak performs just fine. If you pay particular acute attention to very fine details, then you should be a kayak connoisseur, but otherwise the kayak handles itself just fine.

Accessories that You Might Want to Consider

I divide this next section into two parts, gear you absolutely need with this kayak and gear you can really put off buying for a while.

Must Have Accessories before You head onto the Water

Paddles, You Cannot Get Very Far Without Them

These are must haves for this kayak. You cannot use it without them. I would recommend two of them since it is a tandem kayak. That will be more than enough. When it comes to choosing the right sized paddle, the two most important factors are paddle length and blade shape.

When deciding length, you need to consider your boat length and your height. For people under 5 ft 6 in (1.7 m) for this boat, you need a 240 cm (94.5 in) paddle. For those over 5 ft 6 in (1.7 m), you need a 250 cm (98 in) paddle.

When it comes to blade design, there are two types of asymmetrical dihedral paddles, narrow and wide. For this boat, a narrow one would be best. They are meant for longer, more relaxed trips. Wide paddles, on the other hand, are meant for quick, powerful strokes. The people who use them tend to be kayak surfers and white water kayakers, people in shorter kayaks. If you are one of these, then you might want to consider a wider paddle.

Bent paddles as opposed to straight paddles give its user more comfort during strokes. It comes down to personal preference on this choice.

Life Jacket, for Each Crew Member, it is Mandatory

Technically, you do not have to bring or wear a life jacket at all if you are over 18. You are old enough to make your own decisions at that point and you risk your own skin all by yourself without one. All underage kayakers each need one though; it is the law. There is no way around it. Regardless though, everyone should have one. If you have heard of the Titanic, they did not have enough life jackets and boats for everyone. The result was disaster. Play it safe and have one close by. You can never be too careful.

Extras if You Want to Make Your Experience more Enjoyable

Gaspachi Hatches, a Cover to the Portholes

I never knew the name of the hatches that cover the portholes where you can put various items inside. Gaspachi is certainly an odd name. Unfortunately, I could not find the reasoning behind this name in my research. If you know why, please let me know. It is an interesting question I would love to know the answer to.

Otherwise, it takes two round and one oval Gaspachi hatches. When you have some Gaspachi hatches on your boat, you can store more gear for those kayaking trips, helping to enhance your experience.

Hard Plastic Seats, You Need to Protect Your Back

Like I said earlier, one drawback is the seating they provide. It does not offer much in the way of back support. My Dad used to go in this kayak with me and we did not go very far because of the lack of back support. He needed more of it. For you, I recommend the same. A hard plastic seat will protect your back on those extended kayaking trips and ensure you have a fun time on the water.

Final Thoughts to Paddle Home On

This kayak is an absolute joy. From my own experience of it, I relished in the time spent atop this boat. Because of this, I had a lot of fun with friends and family. It was a blast for a testosterone fueled teenage kid. What do you say though? Are you going to take the plunge and seriously consider this splendid kayak? You will create a lot of fond memories. Click on the link below and embark on adventure near you.

==> I Want to Make Memories that Will Last a Lifetime <==

If you have any thoughts, questions, or think I missed anything, do not hesitate to comment below and please share the article. Thank you so much and I hope you make it a great day!

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26 Comments on “A Review of the Malibu Ocean Two XL Tandem Sit Top Kayak”

  1. Hey Alex. This post is just what I needed! My lil guy and I are near the water and I have been looking into vessels that he and I can use. We are in British Columbia too, so was pleased to see the reference of your experience. This post has some really well thought out and useful insights. Thanks so much!

    1. I am glad to hear you enjoyed the post Rebecca. This kayak is just perfect for the waters of British Columbia. I appreciate the compliments you have given this article.

      Thank you for sharing and I hope you make it a great day!

  2. Very in-depth review, thanks, Alex. The hubby is flying in this Wed so that we can do just that, go kayaking. No, we don’t have Kayaks, we wanted to make sure this will be something we enjoy doing, before investing any money. I predict we’re going to love it, especially when I saw your photos!

    We’ve looked at kayaks, but that’s it. I will be sure to share this with my husband.

    Thanks for posting this interesting, informative article.

    1. Laura, I am glad to hear you liked this review. It is good to know you are kayaking with your husband. It is just such a lovely activity. This kayak is definitely worth considering. It was my first and I fell in love with it.

      Thank you for sharing and I hope you make it a great day!

  3. Hey Alex,

    I love this review! It was very helpful for me. I will definitely check this kayak out. It’s something that I am looking to get into and this really gives me a lot of information and ideas about where I should start.


    1. Dan, I am glad to hear you enjoyed the article. It is a kayak worth thinking about. I loved it and other people enjoyed it.

      It is good to know you plan to get into kayaking. If you are just getting started, then I recommend that you check out my article on kayak and canoe safety. It can be dangerous out on the water if you are not careful, so it is better to play it safe.

      Thank you for sharing and I hope you make it a great day!

  4. Great review Alex! Very informative. I am currently in the market for a kayak and this has certainly spiked my interest. I current live in the sunshine state and do a lot of fishing. Is this kayak suitable for fishing or would you just recommend it for personal leisure?

    1. I am glad to know you enjoyed the article Conner. I appreciate it.

      The Sunshine state, aka Florida, is a very nice place to live. There is quite a lot of sun there. Florida has plenty of waterways for kayaking. Just watch out for the crocodiles!

      Unfortunately, this kayak is not really meant for fishing. It is meant for leisure. The design does not enable it to handle fish. It is meant for those days on the ocean with friends or out on the lake with a couple of buddies.

      If you are looking for a good fishing kayak, then you might want to consider the Vibe Kayaks Skipjack 90 9-Foot Angler. I am not going to lie. I just went to Amazon and searched for fishing kayaks. I did not dive too deep into it, but I plan to do a fishing kayak review down the road. This one was the most highly rated one I saw. It has 4.8 stars. The reviews were good. There are a lot of different fishing kayaks to consider and this one might be the one for you.

      Thank you for sharing and I hope you make it a great day!

  5. Hey Alex,

    This is such a thorough and great review! How long have you been kayaking for now then?

    My wife and I have paddleboards and we heard about washing the salt water off too, but it’s such a pain to get fresh water onto it after bringing it in from the sea. Have you got any tips for how to do this? It would be a life saver if you can help!

    The layout of your page is amazing, it flows really nicely

    Thanks for sharing


    1. Mike, I am glad to hear you enjoyed the review. I have been kayaking for about 10 years now and I never get tired of it. It is all about finding the time to do it now.

      I appreciate your question on paddle boards. I plan to do an article on them in the future. They are very large when compared to a surfboard, but are really great for beginners and people who do not have much in the way of balance.

      At Santa Cruz in my free time, I surf. They have outdoor showers, but I do not use them sometimes. I use a gallon of milk! Just kidding, there is no more milk, but I have filled it with water so I can pour out water all over my board and wet-suit. I usually stand up my board and then pour out the water.

      I appreciate the compliment on my page layout. Thank you for sharing and I hope you make it a great day Mike!

  6. Hey Alex,

    A really nice in-depth review. I used to go kayaking with my stepdad and brothers, and we’re all looking to get back into it. From what I’m reading here, this looks like a great choice for leisure purposes.

    Thanks for the info, and take care!

    1. I am really glad to know you enjoyed the review Richard. It is always nice to hear an article bring up fond memories for a reader. Kayaks are just great for a fun filled day.

      Thank you for sharing and I hope you make it a great day!

  7. What is the difference between a canoe and a kayak? I always thought it was that kayaks were more enclosed. However the images here show people using this one with their legs exposed just like a canoe.

    I grew up using big bulky metal canoes and have always thought kayaks looked more easy to flip over. It has kept me hesitant to try one. Reading this article however has made me curious to try one. We love to go camping and always stay near lakes as I find the water to be soothing.

    1. That is a very good question Maryann. I used to wonder that a lot myself, but now I know the answer. In a canoe, you kneel or sit on a board facing forward with one paddle, alternating each side with the one paddle. On a kayak though, you sit and have double paddle, so you are no longer alternating with as you would in a canoe; you have two paddle blades instead of one; your legs also usually lay down. There are a lot of variations on both the kayak and canoe.

      Yes, kayaks are generally easier to flip over than canoes, but that also depends on the width. Wider kayaks are less likely to flip over. I am glad you are considering a kayak. That is good to hear.

      Thank you for sharing and I hope you make it a great day!

  8. What an awesome kayak! I’m normally a sailing person, but sometimes it’s nice to go for a paddle. I loved your personal stories about using the kayak, it sounds like you had a great time. I take my dog (75lbs) with me everywhere, do you think he would fit comfortably in this kayak?

    1. I am glad to hear you like the kayak. Sailing is another great and similar outdoor activity Khiori. It is a very nice feeling to have the wind move you across the water. I have not tried it yet, but I have been wind surfing and that takes some skill! Since you have experience sailing, you might enjoy kayaking because then you do not have to worry about the wind propelling you.

      I appreciate your question about your dog. Since your dog is heavy, I recommend that it just be you and your dog in the boat. If you had you, your dog, and, let’s say, a friend in this kayak, it would be too much weight and be quite an uncomfortable ride. You would be riding quite low and might even sink, so I just recommend that it be you and your dog. If you have someone else in the boat who is less than 120 lbs, then it might be doable, but it is still a stretch. I hope this answers your question.

      Thank you for sharing and I hope you make it a great day!

  9. Hello Alex, I am so grateful that I found your post. I plan to travel to Miami next summer to spend some quality time with my friends at the beach. So I thought it would be a great idea to purchase one or two malibu ocean two xl tandem sit. Reading through your post, I see that it seems having one of these is a fun thing to have and can really make your day at the beach an awesome experience.

    One question that have I for you is, does this kayak come with three or four seats? It will be great to have one that has at least three seats because I am going with a lot of my friends. Thanks in advance for the answer.

    1. Kuu, I am glad to hear you really enjoyed this post. That is very awesome to hear. Miami is a great place to spend time with friends. This kayak would be a great addition to any beach trip. I am glad to know you are considering two of these kayaks. They will be sure to be a blast on the water. Try to ram into each other like I did! Lol, you do not have to do that though.

      Each of these kayaks comes with two seats, not three or four. You can fit three people on this kayak, but it helps if the third person does not weigh too much. Three people can really weigh down a kayak and you do not want to sink. I hope this answers your question.

      Thank you for sharing and be sure to make it a great day!

      1. Hello Alex, thanks for the suggestions and recommendations. Since there are no three or four seats available, then I will consider buying maybe three or four kayaks for the trip. This way it will give us more space inside the kayaks.

        Furthermore, I was thinking that it will be a great idea for my friends and I to get in good physical shape for the trip so that we could have more strength to ride the kayaks. Thanks a lot Alex.

        1. Kuu, I am glad to hear you benefited from my recommendations. That is good. If you end up getting three or four kayaks, you and your friends will have plenty of room. You all will have a comfortable time on the waters of Miami.

          Yes, it is a good idea to get in shape for kayaking. It makes the experience a lot more enjoyable. You can go a lot faster if you have the arm and back strength to kayak. In general, upper body exercises will really be sure to help you to kayak. They build the upper body muscles. Push ups, pull ups, curls, and other related exercises will do the job.

          Thank you for sharing and I hope you make it a great day!

  10. Hi Alex,

    Well, this article takes me back to my youth! I did kayaking once in my life and it was amazing. I was a city kid growing up and so I did not have the opportunity to take part in this exhilarating sport that often. I still remember the day like it was yesterday though.

    The Malibu Ocean kayak looks amazing. And it’s great this sport has tandem kayaking because then if you are in trouble at least you have someone there to help. I really enjoyed this article and has me missing that one time I did it. I must arrange another time.

    Thanks Alex ~Philip.

    1. When I see that my article brings up a fond memory for my readers, it warms my spirit. I am glad to hear it Philip. A lot of people who live in the city miss out on the great outdoors. It is good to know you had that opportunity when you did.

      This kayak is splendid on the water. You are right about tandem kayaking. It makes it a lot safer.

      Thank you for sharing and I hope you make it a great day!

  11. I really like your post! You have given lots of information and your pictures are colorful and clear. I have never done anything like that but it sure looks fun. Thanks for sharing, very nicely done.

    1. I am glad to see you enjoyed the article Loretta. Good pictures really resonate with readers. It makes the read a lot easier.

      If you are looking to get into kayaking, then I recommend you check out my article on kayak and canoe safety. Whether you are a beginner or an expert, safety matters for everyone.

      Thank you for sharing and I hope you make it a great day!

  12. I really like this kayak! I need to get one. So far, I have been just renting them for the day. My son was going to get me one for my birthday until he realized how expensive they are for a good one. Would this one be good for the beach? I have a Jeep Wrangler soft top, so could I possibly carry this somehow?

    1. I am glad to hear you really like this kayak Matt’s Mom. I really like it too.

      You are right that kayaks can be very expensive. You have to make sure you get a good one. To be honest with you, I expect the one my Dad has (the Malibu Ocean 2 XL Kayak) to last a life time. It is that good and durable. If your kayak does not last at least five years, then it is just not worth your money.

      This one is good for the beach. It works just fine in the ocean. Of course, it is harder to handle in rougher waters, but sometimes you just have to kayak in them. Also, be sure to remember to wash off the salt water after each ocean use. Salt water is very corrosive.

      It can indeed feed on a Jeep Wrangler soft top, but I would not recommend you carry it by yourself. It is just too long and awkward to carry by yourself. A friend will help you with it and you should not have a problem. I hope this answers your questions.

      Thank you for sharing and I hope you make it a great day!

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