Sun Dolphin Bali 13.5 SS Tandem
The Sun Dolphin Bali 13.5 SS is a tandem sit-on-top recreational kayak that is priced relatively affordably below $600. Durable and versatile, this kayak can take a solo paddler or up to three paddlers. It does better in calm waters and doesn’t handle rough seas well. However, for a casual jaunt around a lake or a slow river, this kayak can take you, your family, and even your dog where you want to go!
Sun Dolphin Bali 13.5 SS Tandem Prices
- Decent tracking
- Thin padding on seat
- Scupper holes can get clogged
- Not much storage
Size and Weight
The Bali 13.5 SS measures 13.5 feet / 410 cm in length, 34.5 inches / 88 cm in width, and stands 15 inches / 38 cm in height. It weighs 70 lbs / 32 kg, which is fairly light for a recreational tandem kayak.
It wouldn’t be the easiest to carry solo, but since it is a tandem, you’re likely to have a helping hand!
The Bali 13.5 is significantly lighter than some similar kayaks like the Native Stingray 13.5 Tandem which weighs 88 lbs / 40 kg, but heavier than the Old Town Twin Heron at 60 lbs / 27.2 kg.
The Bali 13.5’s maximum payload is 500 lbs / 227 kg, which is the same as Old Town Twin Heron, and a smidge more than the Native Stingray which only allows 475 lbs / 215 kg.
However, you don’t want to load the Bali 13.5 to more than 400 lbs / 182 kgs, as loading it past its 80% capacity might sacrifice much in terms of performance, speed, and maneuverability.
The Sun Dolphin can be paddled as a one, two, or three-person kayak. The front seat can be moved down the kayak to paddle it as a single-seater, or if set up as a tandem, there is room for a small person to sit just in front of the back seat.
This kayak is made of sturdy UV-stabilized Fortiflex high-density polyethylene that is known for durability and strength. However, if you’re managing this alone and have to drag it around concrete or asphalt, you might want to get a hull guard to prolong its lifespan.
At the bow is the first carrying handle for easy transportation, portage, and launch, as well as a drain plug for you to get rid of water that might have found its way into the kayak’s hull.
Moving down from the front, you have a small storage area that is not bungee-corded, so if you want to stow some things like a dry bag, you’ll have to find another way to secure it.
At both sides of the first cockpit are adjustable foot braces that can fit all but the tallest paddlers. In front of the first seat are a small tray, a cup holder, and a circular hatch to store valuables. Note that this hatch is water resistant, not waterproof.
On the port side of the front seat is also a paddle park system with a bungee cord to secure your paddle on a J-hook.
The padded seat is fixed in position with adjustable straps to tailor the angle of your backrest. On either side of the first seat are also molded foot rests for the third person to use, or for the single paddler to use should you choose to paddle this kayak solo.
Behind the first seat is a small circular hatch, a cup holder, and adjustable footrests for the second paddler. There are also plenty of D-rings for bungees should you choose to use the area in the middle of the deck as additional storage instead of having a third person or dog.
There are also two side carrying handles in the middle of the boat so you can easily lift the boat from side to side instead of only front to back like some other kayaks.
In front of the back seat is another circular hatch, a small tray, and a cup holder. On the starboard side, there is another paddle park system for the second paddler.
Behind the seat towards the stern is a small storage area with a removable bungee tie-down system so you can secure your dry bags or other pieces of gear that you don’t mind getting wet.
The Sun Dolphin Bali 13.5 has all the makings of a fun boat to take out on the water all day with some friends or family. Light and maneuverable enough to be paddled by one, yet with an impressive payload of 500 lbs / 227 kg, this kayak can take anything from one person to three comfortably.
It tracks well, is fairly stable, but given its length and combined weight of the kayak and three people, it isn’t the most maneuverable and will struggle with tighter turns.
In addition, it sits fairly low in the water and if fully loaded, might scrape on shallow reefs and rocks. The seats aren’t the most comfortable, especially on long days, so if your butt is particularly sensitive to hard surfaces, you might need extra padding.
Note that a lot of the holes are unsealed, which means water can get in especially if the waters are rougher or the kayak is fully loaded and sitting low in the water. You’ll need to unscrew a lot of the hardware and apply marine sealant to make the kayak completely watertight.
Overall, this is a family-friendly kayak that will be a good boat for a few hours in the water. However, more serious paddlers will be looking for more features.
Specification: Sun Dolphin Bali 13.5 SS Tandem