Ocean Kayak 12-Feet Malibu Two Tandem Sit-On-Top Recreational Kayak

Last updated date: October 30, 2020

DWYM Score

8.9

Ocean Kayak 12-Feet Malibu Two Tandem Sit-On-Top Recreational Kayak

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We looked at the top Kayaks and dug through the reviews from some of the most popular review sites. Through this analysis, we've determined the best Kayak you should buy.

Update as October 30, 2020:
Checkout The Best Kayak for a detailed review of all the top kayaks.

Overall Take

This family-friendly kayak can fit two adults and a child or dog for a fun outdoor adventure. You can also reconfigure it for solo trips. It's light, easy to handle and rugged enough for almost any river conditions. Though some say that it's slower and more expensive than other options, that extra cash buys you extra seats and a little more stability.


In our analysis of 69 expert reviews, the Ocean Kayak 12-Feet Malibu Two Tandem Sit-On-Top placed 8th when we looked at the top 17 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.

From The Manufacturer

This popular tandem sit-on-top kayak, the Ocean Kayak Malibu Two, is perfect for affordable family adventure. Enjoy sun and surf with a friend or a furry companion with the kayak's three seating positions, which support solo, tandem, or tandem paddling with a child or pet. A pair of Comfort Plus seats provide four-way adjustability, generating a custom fit and greater slip prevention over molded seats. Patented overlapping foot wells allow center-seated paddlers to settle in and brace their feet comfortably. The open, sit-on-top hull makes it easy to get on and off the kayak and includes a pair of molded-in handles and skid plate. Maximum capacity of 425 pounds; measures 12 feet long and 34 inches wide. Lifetime warranty on the hull.

Expert Reviews

Expert Summarized Score

9.0
10 expert reviews

User Summarized Score

8.7
110 user reviews

What experts liked

Seating area can accommodate two adults and a child or a dog. Easy to use - aimed at beginners and recreational users.
- BestReviews
While the Malibu Two is designed to carry two people, Ocean Kayak made sure it could also be handled solo. Being able to reconfigure the seats to put the solo paddler in the center of the boat is a nice upgrade that makes this a good purchase for people who aren’t sure how often they’ll be bringing a friend along.
- Outdoor Veteran
November 7, 2017 | Full review
It is worth noting that since the kayak is built for 2 or 3 persons to use, it can still work well if you’re out alone.
- Kayak Guru
The Malibu Two is a bit of a no-frills option from Ocean Kayak and is fairly compact for a tandem. The smaller size makes it lighter and easier to handle outside of the water, so it’s a bit more convenient for quick trips.
- Outventurist
The design of this top rated sea ocean kayak is what makes it stand out. There are perfectly placed carrying handles along with gear straps and even a skid plate. All of these things add to the durability and longevity of this boat. The skid plate ensures that the bottom of the boat stays intact even on rocky shores.
- Globo Turf
The best thing about this kayak is that it can hold two people, or two people and a child or a small dog. This means you have plenty of recreational options for your family, in the one boat.
- Kayak Best
It’s rugged. We’re extremely impressed with how well-built the Ocean Kayak is, particularly given the reasonable price tag. There’s a huge difference in quality between this and the cheaper models we’ve reviewed. We think it’s well worth paying a bit extra.
- Best Kayak Reviews
The seating design allows for solo paddling or with company, and the seats are built for comfort. The area is spacious too, and the hull and deck design makes stacking convenient for several hulls.
- Kayak Help
Overlapping foot wells allows center seated paddlers to settle in and brace their feet comfortably.
- Cast and Spear

What experts didn't like

Higher prices than other models because of two seats. Not much area for storing gear with two paddlers.
- BestReviews
It’s not very fast, and while that is a true of most sit-on-top boats, this is a particularly slow one. However, that weakness is balanced out by its incredible stability, which is a must for tandem boats that might be carrying a newbie paddler (and especially if you and your friend are both new!).
- Outdoor Veteran
November 7, 2017 | Full review
The kayak is a bit pricier than the competition. It makes up for it by being more spacious and sturdier than most though.
- Kayak Guru
One downside to its compact size is there’s not a lot of onboard storage space, so the Malibu Two is better suited to shorter trips that don’t require much extra gear.
- Outventurist
This kayak does not have much in the way of storage. If you’re storing your paddles on the boat, you won’t have much room for anything else, unless you take it out solo and use the extra seating for storage.
- Kayak Best
There aren’t any storage compartments below deck. The storage space above deck is also fairly limited, since most of the onboard space is dedicated to the seats.
- Best Kayak Reviews
Lacks storage space.
- Kayak Help

An Overview On Kayaks

Kayaking is a great all-around workout for anyone who loves spending time on the water. Since you have to stay upright and shift your body weight to make turns, kayaking can improve your balance and core strength. You’ll also get a back and arm workout from navigating with your paddles — and you’ll never have to set foot inside of a gym.

Many people think of whitewater rapids and intense trips down speeding rivers when they hear the word “kayak.” In reality, the sport is accessible to everyone, including recreational wave riders and fishermen.

There are two major categories of kayaks: sit-on-tops and sit-ins. Sit-on-tops are recreational kayaks that work well in lakes and calm rivers. They’re easy to get on, comfortable in warm weather and self-draining. Some sit-on-tops have features like rod holders for fishing.

Sit-in kayaks are quick-moving boats that you sit inside of as you paddle. Since you can shift your weight to help you steer, they’re a little more efficient and easier to control than sit-on kayaks. Sit-in kayaks will also keep you warmer during chilly weather. However, you’ll have to make sure that your sit-in kayak has a drain or built-in pump to remove water.

Many kayaks are designed for just one rider. For those times when two is better than one, some kayaks have enough room for you and a friend to explore the water. In some models, there’s even a little extra room for your favorite mutt.  

Fishing kayaks are generally narrower, making it easier to maneuver into tight spaces when you’re on the hunt for your next big catch. Some slim kayaks also come in a shades like a brown camo that’s perfect for blending in with the trees and plants around your fish. You don’t have to sacrifice storage in these sleek kayaks that usually have a front-hatch that offers easy access to bow-to-stern internal storage.

Kayaking can be a great add-on to an outdoor hiking or camping adventure, but lugging a kayak around can limit your explorations. You can carry many collapsible kayaks as a backpack with two paddle slots on each side, and then set it up in a few minutes when you find that perfect spot on the river. Kayaks with rugged construction are perfect for rigorous lakes, D-rings and bungee storage help you carry more gear for more fun.

There are still other considerations to make once you’ve decided what general type of kayak you’d like to buy. Our Tips & Advice will help you iron out the details so you can start paddling.

The Kayak Buying Guide

  • What are you going to use your kayak for? If you’re interested in casual use for a lakeside vacation home or for your kids, a sit-on-top kayak is a top choice. Kayakers who want a swift solo vessel should check out a lightweight, sit-in option. Fishing fanatics will benefit from a kayak that can store tackle boxes, bait wells and fishing rods.
  • If you plan on taking to the water every weekend, paying for a top-notch choice isn’t a big deal. However, if you’ll only use your kayak every once in a while, look for an affordable option that doesn’t compromise on quality.
  • Kayaking isn’t only about your kayak. You’ll need additional safety equipment if you want to take on rivers, lakes and streams. A Coast Guard-approved life jacket, sun-shielding hats and sunscreen, neoprene footwear and swimwear are all essentials. Many beginner kayakers also choose to wear helmets.
  • You won’t get very far in your kayak if you don’t choose the right paddles. Your own height and your boat’s width will determine the length of your paddles, and paddle weight is also important. Lighter paddles made of carbon-fiber or fiberglass will reduce fatigue, but they’re pricier than plastic or nylon paddles. You can also choose from a variety of shaft shapes, and you can pick from two or four-piece shafts that break down for storage.
  • Make sure you have a safe place to store your kayak when it’s not in use. You can just roll up inflatable kayaks and store them in a cool, dry place. Hard-shell kayaks should preferably be stored indoors. However, if you have to keep your hard-shell kayak outside, find a place that limits your kayak’s exposure to sunlight, moisture and extreme temperatures.
  • Keep your kayak clean for optimal performance and a fresh look whenever you hit the water. You can use special kayak soap or mild soap and water to keep the inside and outside of your boat in tip-top shape. Make sure to give your entire kayak a thorough rinse if you’ve paddled through brackish water or frequently travel through saltwater.