Length 14' 4" (4.29 m), Width 33" (83.8 cm), Weight 62 lbs (28 kg).
Maximum weight capacity 600 lbs (270+ kg) depending on water conditions.
AnglersAfloat had their first look at the Malibu X-Factor at the Sussex County Showground, August 2005. This was the first time a Malibu Kayak was seen in the UK; sadly we were unable to get a paddle of it at this time.
Nine months later, I was stood talking to Stuart the UK Agent for Malibu Kayaks; we were taking a break from a fly fishing session in a Welsh estuary, along with half a dozen other saltwater fly fishermen.
The offer of a paddle was given and before Stuart could change his mind, I was onboard and paddling towards the horizon.
First thing you notice when sat in the cockpit of the Malibu X-Factor, is just how much room you have in the cockpit, it feels huge. There is a large flat area in front of you which contains a rectangular hatch positioned between your legs, forward of this is a centre console with single cup holder and flat area for mounting accessories.
The paddling position is high and dry. Paddling the Malibu required a slight change in technique due to the width of the gunwales, my knuckles were catching the carry handles, but a slight tweak to my stroke and this was no longer a problem.
On the water the Malibu didn't feel particularly fast, but it was noticeably quiet, with the bow shape eliminating any hull slap.
I was keen to try out the rudder, so a pull on a rope to the right of the cockpit and the rudder was lowered, it was such a smooth operation that I raised and lowered it again to see if it was a fluke. Once lowered a light push on the port peddle and the Malibu turned sharply to port, push on the starboard peddle and the aluminium rudder straightened her up, all with a very smooth and satisfying action. The rudder is a worthy edition to the standard model.
Time to move about and test the stability. Reaching to the rear tank well can be problematic with some kayaks, with the Malibu you can actually turn around and kneel to reach into the tank well, or take a look into the second rectangular hatch which is placed in the tank well just behind the seat; this hatch is set at an angle. I then stood up, not entirely sure why you would want to in a kayak as it doesn't give you any great advantage, but it is possible and feels very secure.
There are four flush mount rod holders on the Malibu X-Factor, a pair behind the cockpit in the standard "angler edition" position, angled nicely away from the paddle stroke but allowing trolling of a lure or two. Another pair is within easy reach forward on each of the gunwales.
The forward hatch is enormous, when removed you could fit a small child inside not that that is a good idea of course, but it would be possible.
Available as an upgrade is the Malibu Gator Hatch, this replaces the standard hatch with a rear facing child seat with its own flush mount rod holders and small tank well with bungee straps to secure the load. A second child can be carried in the rear tank well.
Overall the Malibu X-Factor is a very pleasant, dry paddle, with plenty of room for the larger paddler or those that would like to take the kids out on the odd occasion.
For more information visit www.malibukayaks.com