Sun Dolphin Aruba 8 SS
Retailing below $200, the Aruba 8 SS is a recreational kayak designed for use in calm waters such as lakes, ponds, and slow-moving rivers. It will be more suited for a casual paddling session lasting a few hours but might turn up lacking on longer days. While it suits smaller paddlers just fine, larger paddlers might struggle with maneuverability and tracking. Overall, it is an excellent wallet-friendly choice for beginners, children, or those looking for a lightweight, affordable kayak for recreational use.
Sun Dolphin Aruba 8 SS Prices
- Super affordable
- Extra lightweight
- Easy to handle
- Sturdy and durable
- Lack of storage
- Only for smaller paddlers
- No thigh padding
Size and Weight
The Aruba 8 SS measures 8 feet / 243 cm in length, 28 inches / 71 cm in width, and 14.75 inches / 41 in height. This remarkably lightweight kayak weighs a mere 27 lbs / 12 kg, making it a breeze for a solo paddler or even a young adult to handle the transportation and launch.
The weight is comparable to recreational kayaks of similar sizes like the Pelican Clipper 80X which weighs the same or the Old Town Heron Junior which is half a foot shorter and weighs 26 lbs / 11.8 kg.
The cockpit measures 36 x 20 inches / 91 x 51 cm, which might make it tight for a larger paddler, so ideally the Aruba 8 SS should be paddled by a youth or a small adult.
The Aruba 8 SS has a maximum payload of 260 lbs / 118 kg, which makes it more suitable for older children or smaller adults. Medium to large-sized adults would have some trouble with this kayak, especially if you have loads of water or gear.
The kayak should be loaded to a maximum of 208 lbs / 94 kg, as loading it past 80% of its maximum would significantly degrade its performance.
The maximum payload is significantly more than the Pelican Clipper 80X which can accommodate up to 200 lbs / 91 kg, or the Old Town Heron Junior which can only hold up to 115 lbs / 52.2 kg.
The Aruba 8 SS is a no-frills kayak with limited features, but it is a great boat for a casual paddle or short day out. It is made with durable UV-resistant Fortiflex high-density polyethylene (HDPE), so it’ll take the dings like a champ.
At the bow is the first t-handle for easy carrying and transportation as well as a drain plug for you to remove excess water that manages to find its way into your kayak.
While the open cockpit allows for paddlers of many sizes to fit, this kayak is more suited for a youth or smaller adult. The adjustable foot braces are easily slid up and down to accommodate people of many heights.
At the front of the coaming is a molded-in paddle holder for you to rest your paddle for short periods without it rolling forward. However, unlike other kayaks in the Aruba series, the Aruba 8 SS doesn’t have thigh pads at the front of the coaming for cushioning your legs.
Just in front of the seat is a drink holder but it is too small to house bigger water bottles like Nalgenes.
The angle of the seat is adjustable so you can choose to have more back support or you can adopt a more relaxed posture.
The seat’s backrest is padded but the bottom isn’t, so if you’re heading out for a long day, you might want to bring some extra cushioning, particularly if you’ve got a bony butt!
Right behind the seat is a single watertight hatch that you can store small items that you don’t want to get wet. Be careful when closing the lid, as the cover is attached to the kayak with a string, and if the string sticks out, the o-rings won’t seal and the compartment will not be waterproof.
Further along, you’ll find a small storage area where a rain jacket or dry bag can be secured by a removable bungee tie-down system.
At the very back is the second carrying t-handle as well as another drain plug. The Aruba 8 SS comes with a two-piece aluminum paddle with two adjustable angles of feathering.
The Aruba 8 SS is a super affordable, very basic kayak that doesn’t have a whole lot of features. Despite that, it is still an excellent choice for a casual paddle for a couple of hours.
It has average tracking but is easy to maneuver. To an experienced kayaker, it would be stable and feel secure, but a beginner kayaker or an inexperienced child will have to be careful as the kayak can feel tippy.
It is durable and will last many years, but beginners that buy this as their first kayak might soon outgrow it. In addition, this kayak will only suit small paddlers and anyone above 6 feet / 183 cm tall is likely to find the cockpit cramped and be unable to use the foot braces.
In short, the Aruba 8 SS makes a fantastic budget kayak if you want to go for a casual paddle in calm waters for a couple of hours every once in a while. However, for long days and distances, you might want a more high-end kayak for better performance and comfort.
Sun Dolphin Aruba 8 SS
Sundolphin Aruba 8SS Modifications
Specification: Sun Dolphin Aruba 8 SS