11' 2"
Width (in)
Weight (lb)

This Product Has Been Discontinued

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Explorer Description

The Cobra Explorer is as close as you can get to the perfect all-purpose kayak. Stable and fast with superb tracking, it is versatile for all sizes, shapes and varying expertise of paddlers. A great day trip kayak for exploring those hard to get to inshore caves and coves.

An oversized external rear tank well holds all types of sports gear or picnic supplies. For fishing and camping there is a flush foredeck with plenty of space for a large storage hatch. The Cobra Explorer is a totally self-bailing kayak, providing for a dry ride. Its stable 31" beam makes it a good ride for everyone.

Explorer Specs and Features

  • Structure: Rigid / Hard Shell
  • Cockpit Type: Sit on Top / Open Cockpit
  • Seating Configuration: Solo
  • Ideal Paddler Size: Average Adult, Larger Adult
  • Skill Level: Intermediate, Advanced
  • Ideal Paddler Size: Average Adult, Larger Adult
  • Skill Level: Intermediate, Advanced

Additional Attributes

  • Multi Position Foot Rests
  • Self Draining Scuppers
  • Accessory Eyelets

Cobra Kayaks
Explorer Reviews

Read reviews for the Explorer by Cobra Kayaks as submitted by your fellow paddlers. All of the reviews are created and written by paddlers like you, so be sure to submit your own review and be part of the community!

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Was looking for a good…

Submitted by: scoutmomlibrarian on 6/6/2019

Was looking for a good all-around sit on top kayak big and flat enough for my dog and I for small rivers and some lake paddling. This boat is perfect for my needs. Just to test it I paddled out then called my 65 pound dog to swim out to me. I was able to haul her aboard without tipping over. I have also fished out of it. Though not really configured for fishing, it works just fine for the occasional short local fishing trip. Plenty of storage for when I overnight camp on the river.


I'm not exactly a beginner…

Submitted by: paddler236828 on 6/7/2016
I'm not exactly a beginner but this is my first yak and have tipped it twice in less than 6 months. First time I was able to bail off and it stayed upright the second time not so much luck. Then once I was able to get it topside and mounted I went over again by a small wake. I feel like straight line it cuts through anything but lean over the side and you'll end up wet. Turning wasn't a problem either put the paddle in the water and it'll spin. Only gripe is minimal secondary stab.

I just bought the Cobra…

Submitted by: paddler236799 on 5/26/2016
I just bought the Cobra Explorer used but in great condition. I am a white water rafter over 25 years and Kayaking over 3 years. I have never flipped one and even rocked my kayaks on purpose to test stability and get an idea how far I can lean before they tip. Until today I have never flipped one. Well the Cobra Explorer with minimal lean it flips. After I went to get out being careful it flipped. So I decided to get back in and test it. With reaching to my left with a little degree of weight it would start to roll and if you try to correct once it is going there is no stopping it. The kayak did fine kayaking up river, turning ect. There are things I liked about it but I just do not see this being a boat I would want to get hit by a small wave from the side and get dumped too easy. I could deal with it but there are kayaks with better stability.

Best Kayak ever! A little…

Submitted by: scoutmomlibrarian on 9/8/2014
Best Kayak ever! A little slower than some smaller, lighter models but well worth the trade off for awesome stability! Very maneuverable and has ample dry storage as well as an on-top storage spot. Plenty of room for all my gear and my dog. Have done rivers, streams, lakes, fishing and a 2 camp night trip. Highly recommend this boat.

First off, this kayak is a…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 8/31/2013
First off, this kayak is a looker. Very sleek design. I bought it to fish out of and soon found it was not the yak for me.

1. Excellent primary stability. Cant comment on secondary stability cause I didn't push it that far.
2. This kayak tracks very straight for its short length.
3. The seat is high and dry and comfortable for me paddling around for 3-4 hours. Surf launch and recovery in 2-3' breakers and fishing in 3-4 seas loaded with gear and butt stayed comfortably dry.
4. Bow entry/ keel/ design keeps water out of the kayak in rough conditions and surf launches.
5. Plenty of storage though the rear well is a bit narrow, (had to cut the corners off a milk crate to get it to fit. Plenty of room up front to add a bow hatch underneath the bungees which in my opinion should be standard. The 8" round storage amidship is good, if a little small considering it is the only access into the spacious hull. I like the solid plastic receptacle it has much better than the flimsy framed "bags" used by other mfrs.
6. This boat is SOLID. Nothing flimsy feeling about it. You can tell they used plenty of plastic in the construction.

1. It takes energy to get and keep this kayak moving.
2. It is hard to turn.
3. The design makes for a very "slappy" hull.

If you want to fish the ocean and you're not a big person, it's great. Knock around on the beach, lake, or waterway, also great.
Long trips, (unless you're an athlete,) or sneaking up on bass or redfish, not so much.
High marks because for what it is, it does it well.


I own two Cobra Explorers,…

Submitted by: paddler235243 on 8/1/2013
I own two Cobra Explorers, one bought about 12 yrs ago and newer one about 5 yrs ago. Both boats are great, there is a weight difference in the two, seems the older one is about 5lbs heavier. hull seems to be thicker than the newer one and is much more quite with wave slap. Hull shapes are identical but older boat is more stable. Also owned a Cobra fish and dive which was very stable, although a heavy hull and a problem launching and returning to shore in the gulf coast surf. For fishing I have now purchased a Jackson Kayak Cuda which I have yet to find a problem with.

I had a list of specifics…

Submitted by: scoutmomlibrarian on 7/26/2013
I had a list of specifics that a kayak had to live up to for me to buy it: Sit on top, plenty of cargo space in the hull, flat area on top for my dog, stable and maneuverable, lightweight enough for a woman pushing 50 to move around. My Cobra Explorer fit the bill for my whole list and an added benefit was the shape of the hull that adds good tracking.

Looks great with high bow.…

Submitted by: paddler234512 on 4/30/2012
Looks great with high bow. I've mostly had a dry experience in the sea and up to 5 miles plus off-shore. Tracks well. Not fast, but not too much effort at a medium speed. Stability not great but I'm getting used to it. Managed to catch quite a few large fish off this and have a fish-finder installed on a hatch on the bow, that I can reach easily to adjust. Reasonably low in weight. Good overall kayak, although perhaps my next would be the larger cobra fish-n-dive, however there is a trade-off with the extra weight.

I bought my first Explorer…

Submitted by: paddler234230 on 8/17/2011
I bought my first Explorer two years ago, it's a great boat, it's fast enough for my needs, it tracks well, it's very easy to get back on it should I go on the drink. I've had lots of fun with this boat out on Lake Mead. I've had such a great time that I bought a second Explorer for girlfriend.

Great Yak. Higher seat…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 10/20/2009
Great Yak. Higher seat cockpit keeps me dry. The boat tracks well, handles choppy water and is very stable. Great for novice or experienced yakers. It has a weight capacity of 400 lbs but it's light and manageable enough to put on the truck by myself. There is a little bit of hull slap but nothing uncomfortable. Ample room in the rear to pack some stuff. Very happy with my purchase.

I purchased my Explorer used…

Submitted by: jupiter33458 on 1/5/2009
I purchased my Explorer used about 6 months ago. It is my first kayak and I consider myself a beginner paddler. This boat is light and easy for me to load on top of my 4Runner by myself. At 5' 5” this was a main consideration for me when selecting a yak. This boat is very stable in the water. I've only unintentionally tipped it once on a fast, narrow river run. I think this was due mainly to my own inexperience more than the boat. It is very easy to right and re-enter.

My first outing I took it to a protected area and practiced tips and re-entries and was really pleased at how quickly I became comfortable with it. The boat tracks extremely well and has a decent speed to it. I have mine outfitted for fishing and look forward to getting into this aspect more.

The only drawback is the hull slap – everything hears you coming in even a little chop. So it can be a bit disappointing trying to get close to birds and, doing most of my paddling in S. Florida rivers, I prefer that the gators stay on the banks where I can see them instead of sliding in the water where I have no idea where they are.

All in all I love my little boat and the fun that I have with it. I think this is a great first time, all purpose yak for the beginner.


I have been using this kayak…

Submitted by: paddler231598 on 6/1/2006
I have been using this kayak for about a year and a half. It was purchased used. This is my first kayak, and i still consider myself to be in the learning stages, though i am quite comfortable in it. The explorer has been great to me. Its quite light, and i can easily handle it. Its rugged, and can be easily tied down in the back of my truck. The storage bin is great, and keeps all my goods bone dry. The boat can tip if you are not careful, but i have only tipped it accidentally once in almost 2 seasons of use. Its simple to flip back over and climb back in. It turns pretty quickly (to avoid gettin broad sided from wake) and goes at a good clip, even against a strong head-wind. It has a small leak that i havent fixed yet, but it only lets in about a 1/4 gallon of water after a good 2 hours of use. Tons of storage, and small items seem to stay in boat no problem, even without tying them down (on flat/choppy water). Over all a great kayak, esp for a beginner or fisher.

I rented one of these at…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 7/6/2005
I rented one of these at Baker Park Reserve on Lake Independence in Minnesota and went out for about an hour. The boat is easy enough to manage and paddle with decent primary stability. I was cruising fairly nicely and deciding if I wanted to brave the boat traffic and cut across the mouth of a bay, when she just went over. Maybe it was the boat wake, my own limited skills, or the fact I was relaxing instead of tense against the foot bracing or a combination of all these, but once she went on a slight lean, it was swim time. The secondary stability was non-existent.

It wasn't difficult to get her rolled back over and re-entry was manageable. My only beef was that just as soon as I got back to a sitting position, I got hit by a little boat wake and was swimming again. This boat didn't seem to tolerate anything but a rigid upright position with constant pressure to the foot bracing to keep her upright.

It accelerated fine and turned relatively easily. There was a pretty stiff breeze and a lot of boat wake, but it didn't seem to affect this any more than anything else I've paddled.

I give it 6 out of 10 because I value secondary stability of which there is none. Keep in mind that I am a beginner and recreational paddler and this is my first sit on top experience.


I bought my Cobra Explorer 5…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 3/1/2005
I bought my Cobra Explorer 5 years ago. Shipped to Illinois from California. Great yak! I load it with about 130lbs. Overnight camping on rivers nation wide. Only touring style. The occasional rapid is a blast though. I am able to go over our local dam- 14ft sloping drop. Flip half the time. Dangerous but fun. The hatches have leaked. I added thin-flexible poly-something washers. -hand cut- worked better. I took it out to The Apostle Islands on Lake Superior, WI. Braved 39° water and 5 foot -body crashing- waves for 9 hours to go 12 miles. We made camp at Oak Island Stayed 3 days then paddled back. The paddle back was pretty easy compared to the trip out. BIG FUN. We will go back 12 went. Great yak. I am too tall for it, wish I had the next one up. My bud has the Navigator? Same width/longer. Might trade.

I've had my kayak for nearly…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 1/30/2005
I've had my kayak for nearly a year now, and use it regularly for spearfishing (freediving). I have gone up to 5 km offshore with the kayak, and traveled about 18 km in 3.5 hours, including a 20 minute rest. The kayak was empty. Stable for entering and leaving when diving. Can lift on my own. Weighs about 25 kg. Tracks well, and handles choppy conditions well. A bit more room for gear would be an advantage. This is my first kayak, and happy with the choice.

I've just rented a Cobra…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 5/15/2003
I've just rented a Cobra Explorer today, and had a lot of fun with it. The Explorer is very stable and fast enough, for a boat of this size. I have read reviews about poor secondary stability, but I didn't experience that at all. The Explorer takes advantage of deck space. Their are lots of Flat spots, for adding hatches, or fishing gear. The boat felt stable enough to open the large front hatch while afloat. This is something I would never do in my Necky Spike. I also like the higher seat without scupperholes. nobody wants to sit in a puddle of water all day. On the down side the loud shop against the Explorers hull made it vibrate, and feel a little flimsy. The cockpit feels a little cramped, compared to some other brands. Overall I think this is a good choice for short touring, and fishing. I am going to test a few other boats, but I will put this one high on my list.

I just purchased the Explorer…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 6/27/2002
I just purchased the Explorer on the recommendation of the owner of Buckles and Boards, who spent several hours with me and in the end encouraged me towards the Explorer. I initially rented one through his store, and then the next day I went back and purchased one. On its maiden voyage, I was able to paddle about 2.5 miles of Duxbury bay through some whitecaps and 1 -2 foot swells (without being fatigued during the trip or sore the next day). Given that I am an out of shape 40-something (5'10", 230lbs.), I am quite impressed.

The kayak is extremely stable and tracks well. It takes very little to get up to and to maintain speed and direction. The kayak was not pushed around by the current or the wind. I was not bothered by motorboat wake even when broadsided by the wake.

This kayak is an extremely fun general purpose kayak. I recommend it highly, and I am looking forward to many years of enjoyment.


Great Kayak. Leaky hatchs.…

Submitted by: paddler229655 on 4/29/2002
Great Kayak. Leaky hatchs. Tracks pretty good for a 31 inch wide kayak. Its rather slow but is a very stable yak. Great for diving, fishing and just a fun day out! I am happy I bought it!

Just bought my Explorer to…

Submitted by: paddler229651 on 4/23/2002
Just bought my Explorer to fish the great South Bay off Long Island. I had it in the inlets and it hanled great. Yak fished for stripers, and got taken for a nice ride by a fat one, the yak handled great. Can't wait to fish this summer.

The Explorer is a great multi…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 10/22/2001
The Explorer is a great multi purpose kayak. I have been beating it up for about 3 years. It is a great kayak for lakes and rivers here in the midwest.(no whitewater close by) It has plenty of seat/leg area, is light weight, has a large tankwell and can be outfitted w/hatches. I bought mine bare and added bungees. It tracks great and has good speed. (it's only 11 feet long) It's just me, my bike and the Explorer looking forward to our next adventure. No regrets!

Just bought this boat(first…

Submitted by: paddler229396 on 8/9/2001
Just bought this boat(first yak)..and so far I have had it in the ocean and river..very stable boat..put my 80 lb lab in back well and he did fine..its does slap in chop but I kind of like the sound.. Its a good all around yak with lots of versitility for fishing touring sunbathing offshore..riding some waves into shore and taking small child or dog for a (short) ride.

I just recently bought an…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 6/21/2001
I just recently bought an Explorer and it was very enjoyable. the kayak does not feel like it is 44 lbs, more like 144 lbs so it would be best to have two people carry it, so not to break your back. it tracks well, expecially for a sit-on-top. you can get up to an ok speed but this kayak is not made for speed lovers. its pretty stable but my father still managed to tip it. its a pain in the @$$ to flip it right side up so heres a tip: when it rolls up side down and you fall out, which you will, take the kayak by the back end and flip it over with your hands, this is much easier to do than trying to flip it in the middle. the hull material is pretty thin, so its not to heavy, so it dents easy, this really sucks. if you can't get the dents out with your hands put a black garbage bag over it and set it out in the sun. the plastic will soften and you can pop the dent out easily.

I had my Explorer for about a…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 5/14/2001
I had my Explorer for about a year. It was my first kayak in 25 years, my former experience being as a diver paddling a Royak for about 6 years. I liked the Explorer and recommend it for a beginning kayakaer. It's quite stable and can carry a lot of junk in the tank well.

It's slow; when I paddled with a group of assorted boats I was always last, and had to paddle hard to keep up. I liked the boat very much on the Elkhorn Slough, with no rudder. The Cobra is very maneuverable, which means it can be squirrely in chop and rough conditions, without a rudder.

Excellent novice boat, reasonable price, and light. the only reason I don't rate it at a higher number is the speed ability, or lack of it.


This is an excellant starter…

Submitted by: paddler228950 on 10/9/2000
This is an excellant starter boat. I have taken several non-kayakers out and they all have enjoyed the experience. The boat is very comfortable if you upgrade the seat to a seairsports high back model. These boats are cg senstive so you must stretch you legs out while paddling. I weigh 220+ which means the self draining feature in the foot well is compromised. You can put plugs in the drains and carry a sponge which works good for me. If you capsize the boat rights easy and that just leaves crawling back aboard. Good handling characteristics in wind and chop. Wetter ride than deck boats in those condtions. Fun to fish out of and plenty of space for camping gear etc.

This boat tracks very well…

Submitted by: paddler228094 on 7/30/2000
This boat tracks very well for it's length and is pretty fast. It has no secondary stability, your're either on it or trying to figure how to get back on it. The lack of handles on the side, makes it a pain in the *%$ for one person to carry or move, even though it's very light in weight for it's length. That is probably due to the lack of material used in it's construction. If you like a noisey Yak, this is the boat for you. The hull slaps loudly in any choppy water whether your're paddling into it or away from it. Cobra could learn a lot from Wilderness Systems and/or Ocean.

The Cobra Explorer is a…

Submitted by: paddler228509 on 3/23/2000
The Cobra Explorer is a polypropylene sit on top that is fast considering how stable it is. It sits high in the water, and has a sleek pointed nose compared to Ocean Kayak. The boat tracks very well, even in whitecaps and ocean swells. I use the yak as a fishing platform in freshwater, and it is easy to portage over small distances using the thigh strap on the two inside eyes. I can be over a beaver damn and onto a new lake in twenty seconds.

I rig a live-well in the place for scuba tanks that is great for keeping fish. It is easy to re-enter in deep water because it doesn't roll when I push myself up and in. This is always appreciated on a hot day. There are three things I don't like about my boat. 1. I have long legs and my feet are in the last foot slots. I would like to bend my legs less. (I am 6' 1"). 2. The foredeck is a little flimsy. The yak is only forty pounds though, which makes it responsive when paddling. 3. There is considerable 'hull slap' but this is not a bother to me. It is a great multipurpose kayak.


I'm a novice 'yakker,…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 3/6/2000
I'm a novice 'yakker, 6'4" tall 275 lb., looking for a boat for scuba diving and general play. I found the Explorer easy to paddle. Tracks well, coasts well. The hull tends to "slap" small waves/boat wakes while going over them, but the ride is comfortable. Pretty stable while moving, but a bit easy for me to tip while stationary. (Granted, I'm a big guy with a high center of gravity). It was easy to upright when I capsized it - at least when empty. Seat felt snug but not uncomfortable. The sides are a bit higher than some other 'yaks, adding a bit more difficulty when re-boarding in deep water. All in all, a nice boat for someone a bit smaller than me.

This is a terrific sit on top…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 1/14/1999
This is a terrific sit on top boat. Quality construction. The Huge hatch allows you to store paddle, PFD, etc. INSIDE the boat. The boat is very wide and stable, so a little slower than some. Goes out thru surf fine, VERY dry boat for colder water. All in all a TERRIFIC boat for day tripping. Rear well hods scuba tank, or small dog.