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Aruba 8 SS Reviews

See all reviews for Sun Dolphin
  • 8' Length
  • 28" Width
  • $ 219 From

Average Consumer Review:

(40 Consumer Reviews)

Read reviews for the Aruba 8 SS by Sun Dolphin 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!

Bought this boat for the...

Bought this boat for the kids, they used it twice and totally lost interest. Didn't want it to go to waste, so on a day on the Chesapeake Bay windy and wavy enough that I surfed two hours I got stoked and took this thing out. Fought the waves and made it out to about 15-foot deep water and the 3 foot chop on the sandbar immediately sunk me, luckily the extra foam floatation blocks were enough assistance to get me back in but it was no fun fighting my way back to shore. LESSON LEARNED - an 8 foot kayak is no boat to take out on a choppy day in deep water, by a 225lb 6'1" man no less. So now I paddle it almost daily in the mornings closer to shore when the water is still relatively calm in lighter winds, and I do not believe you could have more fun for $150. I will never start referring to my kayak as a "yak," which I believe most people giving this boat bad reviews have a high enough opinion of themselves probably do. It's great for a boat so inexpensive, but has the drawbacks you would expect from the value-pricing.

Pros: It is light and easy to get around, just keep it in shallow water on calm days or stick to shallow lakes and small rivers.

Cons: if you're larger it can be a little unstable even on calm water but you should be in a longer boat anyway.

New to kayaking but didn't...

New to kayaking but didn't know where to start. I found this Aruba kayak, loved the price, the weight and the length. I'm a 50ish yr old woman, so the weight and ability to load and unload from car top solo is important. I use it on a very calm lake so I don't know how this would do on a river or a lake with high boat traffic. Love it, just wish seat was more comfortable and it had foot rests.

I bought two Aruba 8...

I bought two Aruba 8 footers. I can fit both of them inside my van and I can take them on the freeway without worry. The Aruba sit on is a great barefoot kayak on super hot days. It splashes well and surfs like crazy. My 8 foot Aruba sit in was also very good choice. It is more of a creek boat than a lake boat. It is very stable and quite comfortable. Three years ago I was new to kayaking and did not want to spend a fortune on something I might only use once or twice. As it turns out, I love kayaking and get out often. It took some getting used to but now I have all my techniques down to second nature and I have a great time running two small local rivers, and surfing at the dam.

Fun Utility Knockabout

I got this for less than $150 from a big box store. I wanted a short kayak that wouldn't take up too much room on deck of my 35' sailboat. I use it to paddle around the marina and for short distance out on the mile wide Columbia River. I weight 180 lbs and the Aruba 8 has plenty of buoyancy in a small package. It tracks OK with constant paddling, but it doesn't glide very well which is only an issue when I want to take a drink from my water bottle. The fore and aft deck-top drain plugs are a little tough to get out and in. I keep a chopstick in the kayak to push the plugs back in after draining. I couldn't drain the kayak without removing the plugs. It is compact, durable, easy to get in and out, and lightweight. Overall I'm very happy with the Aruba 8.

Good Value but Some Issues

First of all, this kayak is a good value for entry level. Dunham's regularly has coupons for big discounts. My kids are loving this kayak.
What's Good:
* It's light to carry.
* It's fast.
* Inexpensive
What's Bad:
* No access hatch for rear storage.
* Drain holes in front and back are too far away from the ends to drain completely.
* Drain plugs are un-tethered rubber stoppers that can get lost. Takes effort to reinsert them.
* Not extremely stable, but it's manageable if careful. Hey, it's not a pontoon boat!
* No pad for your butt - get one.

Instability is obvious.

I took it out this morning to the bay area and while paddling, I realized that it tip very easily. It is not about getting use to this kayak but how it is made. I had to concentrate to ensure that I don't make a sudden movement either to the right or the left as I know for sure that it will tip. I do like the kayak as it not too heavy to carry and it fits in my van nicely. I will keep it as it is inexpensive at Walmart and would invest in a stabilizer as this will prevent it from tipping. I bought this spare kayak for my crabbing and is concerned about hauling in my trap as I have to ensure that my balancing is correct. Remember it tips easily. I believed the stabilizer will help me relax and enjoy the paddling.

Great for the money

I own 6 kayaks and have been paddling sporadically for about 20 years. Mostly on a small lake but a few calm ocean trips and river runs in class 1 and some 2 rapids. I like inexpensive boats that are easy to load in a minivan and I don't have to worry about banging up. I have 3 Daggers and and 3 Old Towns. I bought this kayak for my grand kids and for the size and weight. At 73 years old weight is becoming an issue and 27 lbs. is very attractive. I do find this one less stable than my normal lake kayaks, but it's OK for me and really easy to carry. I do find the sides higher than normal and I have to hold the paddle higher. I probably won't buy another one but I do use this one more than the others for it's ease of handling on dry land. My grand kids say it's tippy.

Inexpensive, great for kids and smaller adults

We have two of these kayaks, blue and red. My 8 year old (75 lbs) and 11 year old (85 lbs) sons love them and can paddle around for hours. My 16 year old (150 lbs) and I took them out one day and I felt comfortable and stable in it, as did he. The storage is small, but if you are short you can store some things in front by your legs. Seat is hard plastic, but padding could be added and I felt comfortable. Very lightweight and easy for my boys to carry down to the lakes. Great for day trips on calm lakes.

To those who say that it's unstable - I disagree very much

To who said that its unstable I disagree very much. I myself am 220lbs and I have no problems with this kayak I'm guessing that you have never used a kayak before. Yes, it was unstable the very first 10 mins of being on it before I got use to it. You just have to get use to the feel of the kayak

dont buy this deathtrap

Extremely unstable. I took this kayak out on the bay on a light wind day yet it was very difficult to keep upright. I was doing fine going with the wind but as soon as I turned into the wind it quickly filled with water and sank leaving me stranded for 8 hours thankfully game wardens came and picked me up. It should be pulled from market very dangerous if I was not a strong swimmer I would be dead! 😈😬😣


My son at 200lbs tried it, his friend at 170 lbs tried it, and I at 220 lbs tried it. All three of us found it to be very unstable. Maybe OK for a child or a small woman but I would not recommend it for anyone over 150 lbs.

Very unstable kayak. May...

Very unstable kayak. May be okay for a child because they are so lite. This was a big disappointment! Wish I had bought a better kayak in the beginning. I was almost ready to quit.

I got this kayak because...

I got this kayak because of the size and the weight of it. I had a larger and much heavier kayak years ago, but never used it because I couldn't load it onto my car or off from it by myself. This kayak is perfect for when I'm heading out on solo adventures. It's easy to carry and load onto my car by myself and I've had a great time with it out on the lake and on smaller ponds. I don't understand the reviewers who say it's unstable as I've not had that problem at all. In fact, my first time out with it was on a large lake on a windy day and the waves were coming up over the front of the kayak. I never felt unstable. I do wish it had rigging on the bow, not just in the back and foot pegs would be nice. Having said that, this boat is really inexpensive and rigging and pegs can easily be added. I would recommend this kayak to anyone looking for a cheap and fun way to get out on the water.

Overall a great, stable...

Overall a great, stable kayaks. Lightweight easy to transport handle good on the water. The seat is a bit uncomfortable nothing a pad won't cure highly recommend to the fiscally impaired.

Also a good foundation to build upon make it a cheep and great fishing kayak.

This kayak is a great...

This kayak is a great beginner boat. It is priced right for a starter. If you are concerned with stability, this kayak cannot be rolled. I love the luggage compartment and bungi straps for easy accessibility. It is an all around great recreational boat.

I took the Aruba 8 sit in...

I took the Aruba 8 sit in kayak out to my local lake (Big Fish Lake, Ortonville MI) on Memorial Day 2016 after purchasing it for $138 (175 with paddle) Very impressed with the overall control of the kayak. Because of its small size it is hard to get going but I had no issues tipping while there were big waves (over top of the kayak)

I would recommend this to anyone who is looking for a cheep kayak to use every so often for fun. It would be nice if there were foot pegs. I might put another review up later if i find problem after further use.

This is my first kayak,...

This is my first kayak, and at $140 + tax at a local sporting goods store, I couldn't pass it. I took it to a local lake and paddled for 1 hour yesterday, a calm day at 60 deg F in lower Michigan. Directionality and picking up speed is adequate for a 8' long boat. I'm satisfied with it for a fitness paddling purpose in a summer time. It fits in my pickup truck, which is a key requirement for me. Overall, a good, cost effective beginning boat.

I purchased this kayak to...

I purchased this kayak to use on a calm lake not far from my home. I love it. Cockpit roomy, lite enough to handle it by myself. Mainly used for birding at the lake. Purchased another sit-in Aruba 8' and 2 sit-in 10' so that my grandchildren can enjoy the kayaks too.

This kayak is a good...

This kayak is a good beginner kayak for flat water (no higher than class II- rapids). However, be warned; I fell out my first time and nearly flipped the second time using it as well. This kayak is not very stable, and it is not very good maneuvering through tight turns and twists, especially when there is a current. It is not built for speed, as one small mistake can lead to capsizing. This boat is great for the gentle, relaxing rivers and creeks one would take to enjoy a sunny day or gaze upon the diverse flora, fauna and wildlife you can find in any given river route. It really is a good kayak for easy takers, and I have enjoyed many peaceful trips with it. Cost efficient and lightweight, which means it can easily be carried out of a site. I would recommend it to any beginner or yaker looking for an easy ride.

cheap, rubber stoppers for...

cheap, rubber stoppers for drain plugs. Was told foam blocks need to be in during use but could be removed for cleaning. Not sure how. Cockpit opening very dangerous and sharp, do yourself a favor and use some sand paper to knock off the sharp edges. For 150 I can't complain about value, but the cockpit cover from the Sundolphin was a bit expensive and rip off shipping made it worse. Would have been better to spend more on a better brand and get the accessories cheaper. If all you need is a kayak and no cover etc then this should do fine... JUST SAND THE SHARP EDGES!!

This is my third kayak. I...

This is my third kayak. I also own two 15 and 14 foot SOT touring kayaks. The one I mostly use is a Freedom 15 which is a highly regarded boat. It's highly regarded and heavy. I love it but I wasn't getting out on the water too often because it's such a deal to load up. I got this Aruba 8 because I wanted something lighter that would also fit in the back of my Volvo. This thing is so compact it FITS IN THE BACK OF MY STATION WAGON!

It tracks well for its length and can get up decent speed. I'm going to install some flush mount rod holders on either side behind the seat but it doesn't have a lot of extra space there. I'm also going to cut out the inside of the little rear storage compartment to allow me to access the entire compartment to fit in more gear.

I would absolutely recommend this for anyone 250 pounds or less. For you larger folks you could try the 10 footer.

This is my first...

This is my first "beginner" kayak-- not wanting to invest a lot as I was unsure of my capabilities as a senior citizen. This kayak is a perfect size for me being 5'2 & the kayak only weighs 27 lbs! I could easily lift & carry it. It fits inside my SUV which is a big plus. I live on a big man made lake in the middle of Missouri and use my boat dock to stabilize entering and existing. It has been a great asset to exercising and enjoying getting on the lake during this beautiful fall weather. Well worth the reasonable price I paid!

I originally bought this...

I originally bought this for my wife back in April 2014. She decided after I bought it she didn't want to solo Kayak so I ended up buying a twin to take her out. I ended up using this one off and on as I had bought myself another kayak. This one is so light to handle and super stable in the water. Fishing out of it is no problem. I can't imagine anyone having any issues with this kayak as far as stability. It doesn't track perfectly straight but what can you expect for this cheap? This past weekend took it down the river and it was a blast. No issues at ALL, some minor rapids and it flowed straight through no problem. This is an excellent starter kayak to see if you are going to like the sport or just want something cheap to fish out of.

Cute beginner boat,...

Cute beginner boat, especially for kids. I almost immediately sold it. More interested in gaining experience, this boat would limit that. Takes a spray skirt and thigh pads. Tracking was poor. You get what you pay for.

I purchased this kayak for...

I purchased this kayak for my wife in early summer 2015. She wanted it for recreational use in front of our cottage. She used it about six times before she went to Europe for three weeks this summer. While she was out of the country, I had a crazy idea to take her brand-new kayak down the Mississippi River starting at the headwaters in Itasca, Minnesota. of course an 8 foot kayak is not necessarily the most logical choice for such a long journey. but in my case it actually was great. it was small enough and light enough for me to easily portage more than a dozen times during the first 500 miles. and there were many moments when I scraped rocks on the bottom of the river. But this kayak was able to withstand all of those bumps.

I'm 5'10" and 200 pounds. this kayak was able to hold not only just me but also all of my equipment... a tent and a sleeping bag clothes and food and other necessary equipment. it was cramped a bit but still comfortable. I paddled 508 miles in 17 days in this 8-foot kayak. next year I intend to continue the journey starting exactly where I stopped this summer. and although I know that this particular kayak would be successful I'm considering using a longer kayak for the next segment of my journey.

Overall I highly recommend this small portable kayak for both at home recreation use as well as longer journeys.

Great product for the...

Great product for the price to get you started off on a low budget. Only complaint is the location of the cup holder and the storage being in back. Not sure how it does on anything more than extremely small waves made by boats. It doesn't feel sturdy enough for me to try because of the size.

We purchased a used Aruba...

We purchased a used Aruba last summer for our son. He showed interest and I found this little yak. It is a durable yak which is a must with boys, it is also very stable which is very important to a beginner. They usually come with a paddle too making them an excellent value for beginners. Being that this is a smaller boat, it is sized for children and small adults. I am 5'6'' and am comfortable in this little yak. It is also easy to maneuver. My son is a beginner, only being out a few times, but I have no doubt that his good experiences with his Aruba are to credit him wanting to continue.

Purchased 2 kayaks for a...

Purchased 2 kayaks for a new summer hobby. Great for family kayaking on the lake. They feel a little wobbly probably because of length. Great starter kayak for beginners. Convenient to transport in van. Can fit 3 in my van as well as transport 3 people. Perfect size. Would recommend.

Great product for the...

Great product for the price to get you started off on a low budget. Only complaint is the location of the cup holder and the storage being in back.

I bought this kayak last...

I bought this kayak last year in the early spring. I thought it would be great for the grand kids to use on vacation. I didn't get a chance to use it until July. I found out it was very unstable! I wouldn't let my 6 year granddaughter use it. I was going to try to sell it because Dunhams would not take it back, even for store credit, because the time limit had passed. A neighbor, who is a very experienced kayaker, took it on a local river for the day. He said that it was very unstable, and he spent more time in the water than on the water. I will not sell this kayak because I don't want anybody to get hurt. I think that this kayak should be pulled off the market. I have a 10 ft. Kayak made by KL Industries that I am very happy with.

Easy to carry, launch, and...

Easy to carry, launch, and paddle. Great value! and at 8 feet, it stands up in a corner in our apartment. I miss molded-in or adjustable foot braces so I'm rating it a 9 instead of 10.

This is my 1st kayak & I...

This is my 1st kayak & I love it. We got my hubby one, also. He is 230 lbs & has no problem with it, except getting back out, lol.

Our river is the San Joaquin, south of the California delta. We are in a drought & the water gets low very fast at certain times of day. So far, I've only gone about a mile against the current to make sure I have enough time to get back before the water gets too low.
When our skill level improves, we plan to go to deeper water.

Got the Aruba 8 SS and...

Got the Aruba 8 SS and have been using it on a lake this summer. It is very stable and can use it to fish out of. I would recommend this kayak for anyone young or old. Great exercise and I love it!!!

Good price and stable...

Good price and stable enough once in the seat. Plenty short enough to fit in my mini SUV, saving buying 100'$ of dollar$ of roof adapters/carriers. Quite speedy apparently given the low-wetted surface area. Quite directionally stable with a real keel.

I bought four of these for...

I bought four of these for my family. I gave it a generous 3 stars based solely on price, weight and the fact that it floats. Otherwise, I pretty much hate it. I have never tipped but probably only because I am very careful as it feels very unstable. The seat is extremely uncomfortable... your butt WILL hurt! The sides seem high making paddling uncomfortable, there is enough leg room to straighten legs but is so narrow that your ankles are turned and you will definitely not be kicking back with your legs on top unless you want to capsize.

I can only recommend this for a young child playing around in calm waters or maybe for messing around at a summer cottage. If you are looking to spend an entire day on the water, especially in strong current, spring for the extra hundred bucks or so for a real kayak. The only reason I am not even more disappointed is that I paid 99.00 for it. I'll be upgrading next month.

I LOVE my Aruba! I've been...

I LOVE my Aruba! I've been able to keep it stably balanced in the wake of large boats (waves as high as my bow). I'd give it a ten if it had foot rests and a spray shield.

I wanted to try kayaking...

I wanted to try kayaking but didn't know where to start. I found this Aruba kayak at Walmart on clearance. Loved the price, the weight and the length, it also came with a free paddle (since replaced). I'm a 50ish year old woman, so the weight is important. I've since purchased 2 other kayaks of different brands and when given the choice, I prefer this one. I use it on a very calm lake so I don't know how this would do on a river or a lake with high boat traffic.

I rated this an 8 out of 10 because I did have to put in foot pegs (very easy) and I will get a padded seat eventually. It would have been nice to have both of these already installed.

I bought one of these at...

I bought one of these at Dunham's last year- Love it! I own 3 high-end yaks, but this was similar to what I rented when starting out. Pretty perfect for the price - most importantly EXTREMELY light. Plus, the price equals about 2 days rental fees. Save your dough,buy this and spend it on the best paddle you can afford.

Great for lakes and calm...

Great for lakes and calm rivers and streams. They are affordable enough for a family of 4, hold 270 lbs. easily and have lots of leg room and a cushioned seat. They could be more stable but they could also cost $300 like most other kayaks. Good value for a starter kayak.

After always having to use...

After always having to use my friends Old Town Otter to wander up and down the upper Wisconsin river I bought KL Industries Sun Dolphin Aruba 8 SS from Dunham Sports here in Wausau for $139, I love its feel on the water and its handling, I was so amazed by the Aruba 8 SS and the price that I bought a second for my nephew as he wants to get into kayaking, I couldn't think of a better starter kayak.
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