An Honest Sun Dolphin Aruba 10 Review

I had the opportunity to get my hands on the Sun Dolphin Aruba 10 over the weekend, thanks to a buddy of mine. And let me tell you, this is not a kayak to miss out on.

An entry-level sit-in kayak aimed at beginner paddlers, the Aruba 10 seems to have a lot going for it. Let’s see whether this offering from Sun Dolphin is the real deal for those looking to get into the sport.

Sun Dolphin Aruba 10 Kayak

QualityQuality
PricePrice
Our RatingOur Rating

Specifications  

And the first thing you need to know from our Sun Dolphin Aruba 10 review is all the important specs, right? Well, let’s get right into them. This kayak is a solo sit-in kayak that clocks in at 10 feet in length. Width wise, you looking at 29 inches at its widest point.

Is the Aruba 10 fit for big guys?

If you worried that you won’t fit in it, the cockpit dimensions are 35 by 17 inches, so its comfy enough from most paddlers and getting in and out isn’t too strenuous. And obviously, it’s a solo only kayak.

It won’t hold as much as a sit-on kayak, but that stands to reason. It can handle a load though, up to 250 pounds, in fact. So if you are a little heavier, or like to carry some extra gear, fear not, this kayak will hold you, within reason of course.

And what’s it made of I hear you ask? Well, officially, its constructed from Fortiflex® High Density Polyethylene. Or polyethylene plastic to you and me. That makes it extremely durable yet it won’t break your back as it weighs in at just 40 pounds.

Our review would never be complete without a few pros and cons.

PROS
  • Stability – While some sit-in kayaks can be a little unforgiving, this offers the stability someone new to the sport of kayaking would demand.
  • An adjustable seat and footrests mean you can find your perfect paddling position
  • It’s lightweight and easy to store. No one wants a physical workout getting their kayak to the water before a day of paddling.
  • It tracks well. Even if you are putting in real effort into your paddling, this kayak will track in a straight line.
CONS
  • Storage compartment is a little hard to reach as it sits behind you.
  • The bottle holder is a little far away from your paddling position, especially if you are on the short side.
  • While experienced paddlers could use this on slightly choppy waters, it should only really be used on calm days, especially for newbies.
  • A lack of seat padding. There is not a lot of padding where you sit. Some might find this a little uncomfortable.

Top Features I Like About the Aruba Kayak

  • Great price point for a decent kayak
  • Easy to transport and move around
  • Handling and Quality is superb
  • Ample storage space

Best Features

And now a part in which we tell you about all the features this impressive and versatile kayak offers. And there are plenty, starting with the seating.

If you spend a whole day on the water paddling, you sure want to be comfortable, and this kayak won’t let you down in that regard. Although there is no extra padding to sit on, your back is cushioned nicely with the kayak offering excellent high support. If you feel you need to, you could take sponge padding or perhaps use a thick towel to sit on but that’s a personal preference. The seat and footrests are adjustable as well, so it’s easy to find your best paddling position.

It a V-bottom hull shape. This is good for a number of reasons. Firstly, this kayak sits steadily in the water and offers unbelievable stability. The V-bottom hull helps with tracking as well, with it staying fairly straight between paddles, no matter how hard you are paddling.

Carrying your kayak can be a bind, especially after a full day on the water once tiredness has set it. Luckily, thanks to its lightweight construction and carry handles, this kayak is not that tough to haul around.

But what else can you expect from this kayak feature-wise? Well, it has a rear storage compartment, perfect for your tackle  if you like to fish off your kayak. It also has pads for extra protection for your thighs, a handy water bottle storage area and a clever paddle holder to secure your paddle to the boat when not paddling.

sun dolphin aruba 10 side and topside view

What's Included

Unlike other kayaks where you need to buy a paddle, the Aruba 10 does come with a standard model. You will also find a draining plug which needs to be inserted into the body of the kayak before you take it out on the water. If water gets into the hull through the opening where you sit, you can easily drain it on the shore by removing the draining plug.

Otherwise, carry handles, rear storage (with lid and bungee covering), water bottle holder, adjustable seats and footrests are already part of the overall design. Note, however, if you want to connect your paddle to the Aruba 10 with a leash, you would need to buy one.

sun dolphin aruba 10 storage

How it Performs for the Novice Paddlers

The Aruba 10 is a brilliant kayak for newbies. And that’s because even as a sit-in kayak, it offers excellent stability. Someone who has never paddled before wants to be confident in their chosen kayak and this one will quickly help them feel right at home. That stability also allows you to fish off this kayak on calm waters with ease.

That said, it’s not made for choppy waters, and anyone new to paddling should only ever use it on calm days and in lakes or still rivers. Experienced kayakers won’t have too much trouble with it in slightly rough conditions, however.

How does the Aruba 10 Track?

In terms of tracking, this kayak will keep fairly straight, no matter the amount of effort put in as you paddle. Its V-bottom hull keeps it high up in the water, especially when moving quickly, so getting up to speed and maintaining it should be a cinch.

Ultimately...

As we come to the end of our Sun Dolphin Aruba 10 review, its time to deliver a verdict.

If you are new to the world of kayaks and looking for sit-in model that is durable, stable, maneuverable, tracks well, is colorful and comes with lots of added features, then you certainly can’t go wrong with this little kayak. It’s easy to travel with, easy to store at home, inexpensive and certainly worth buying if you are looking for an entry level option.

This kayak made #9 on our list of Best Cheap Kayaks

About the Author Chet Thornberry

My name is Chet and I'm a surfer living in Cocoa Beach. I created this blog to put my experience with surfing, skimboarding, bodyboarding, and paddleboarding to good use (pretty much all things water sports).

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