The Ocean Kayak Malibu 9.5 may be the best sit on top kayak of 2024. This recreational kayak is built with fun in mind and experts, reviewers, and paddlers are suitably impressed with its tracking and its superb buoyancy.
This boat is a good fit for flat water, though you might have to be more cautious with longer trips. It’s built to tackle surf and flat water alike, and, with an abundance of storage onboard, scores well on its suitability for days spent on the water (just don’t take it too far). If you’re looking for a dependable, fun recreational kayak, then the Malibu 9.5 is worth considering.
The Ocean Kayak Malibu 9.5 impresses reviewers in most aspects, from its padded seat and flexibility through to its built-in foot-pegs. It’s a fairly supportive boat, which also tracks reasonably well despite its recreational bias. It also offers great stability and versatility on the water, and even beginners can expect to have a blast atop this kayak. The general consensus with experts is that the Malibu is a solid choice for a recreational kayak – and above all, it’s fun to paddle!
Where the Malibu 9.5 performs best is in terms of stability and comfort. There’s plenty of comfortable leg room, calf rests, and onboard storage that’s easy to access on the go. It’ll cut through the surf well, thanks to the Ocean Kayak hull standard, though it seems to be a big winner on the flat, too.
There’s not much comment from reviewers on durability here, though that may go without question – this is a brand many kayakers around the world know and trust!
Expert Reviews of the Ocean Kayak Malibu 9.5
7.7Dave The KayakerThis is a giant bubble of a boat! It's clearly designed with beach rentals in mind (designed pretty much to give you stability in the surf) - and even from the get-go, it seems a lot of fun to ride. The stability is a serious selling point, and there's tons of space. It's ideal for big water adventures.Read more
8.6Paddling MagazineThis is an upgrade to Ocean Kayak's Frenzy and Scrambler series, and improvements are fairly clear to see. This boat, while the smaller of the updated Malibu line, provides tons of dry storage and still makes use of the classic Ocean Kayak hull, all while keeping you comfortable on recreational trips. It performs well on the surf, too. *Please note, this Paddling Magazine review comes from an Oldtown and Ocean Kayak rep. They have fantastic hands-on knowledge when it comes to their landmark kayaks, but keep in mind the following scores likely sway towards the positive*Read more
Handling of the Ocean Kayak Malibu 9.5
Expert Rating: 7.8
6.5Dave The KayakerThe Malibu 9.5 is a lot of fun to paddle, and it tracks really well on flat water. I wouldn't recommend it for long trips simply because it's a bit clunky to handle otherwise. It's great for splashing around on lakes, or in big water in the surf zone - this would be a great boatRead more
9.0Paddling MagazineThe 9.5 is born to surf waves! It's designed for performance, but will also paddle cleanly across flat water if you prefer milder adventures or more recreational trips. This is a boat that's designed to just drop in the ocean and explore with. It's got the classic Ocean Kayak hull that cuts through water.Read more
Stability of the Ocean Kayak Malibu 9.5
Expert Rating: 9.0
9.0Dave The KayakerThe weight and width of this kayak really help when it comes to stability overall - it's designed to keep you stable when hitting the surf. In practice, it's amazingly steady on the water. It's super-safe, thanks to the fact it's always bailing water out.Read more
9.0Paddling MagazineThis is a highly stable boat, and that's somewhat thanks to the model's upgrade to Ocean Kayak's classic build. They've barely changed the hull because - frankly - it didn't need fixing!Read more
Comfort of the Ocean Kayak Malibu 9.5
Expert Rating: 8.3
8.0Dave The KayakerThere are no foot pegs to adjust here, but there are different grooves you can rest in depending on your height. The seat has a decent seat pad and the backrest removes fairly easily. Both of these elements gives me tons of confidence that the 9.5 Malibu will fit just about anybody.Read more
8.5Paddling MagazineThe 9.5 benefits from redesigned molded-on foot wells for extra comfort and support while riding. The seat is well padded and folds all the way down whenever you need it to.Read more
Onboard Storage of the Ocean Kayak Malibu 9.5
Expert Rating: 9.3
9.5Dave The KayakerI like the oversized cup holder - it's great for bigger receptacles such as Thermos flasks. I also appreciate the huge concave hatch and bungee towards the back of the boat. You couldn't ask for more storage room front or back.Read more
9.0Paddling MagazineThis boat arrives with several different storage options that are easy to access and make use of on the go. For example, it benefits from three cup holders - and a dry storage hub positioned between the legs. The dry hatch is designed with QuickStash technology, meaning anything you store is easy to keep out of the spray.Read more
Portability of the Ocean Kayak Malibu 9.5
Expert Rating: 6.5
5.5Dave The KayakerBeing a giant bubble of a boat, it isn't the most portable, and at 54 pounds, it's pretty heavy too!Read more
7.5Paddling MagazineWhat's really interesting about the Malibu 9.5 is that it's built for easy stacking. Its weight and build make it easy enough to stack up and store, especially if you have several boats!Read more