Malibu X-Factor
  |  First Published: September 2007

The Malibu X-Factor is the ultimate fish and dive kayak. It has been designed from the ground-up to have an incredible array of storage options, huge carrying capacity, stability and endless mounting options for all your accessories. Its angled rear hatch enables fishing rods to be carried in the hull and easily retrieved when it's time to go fishing. This kayak really does have that certain X-Factor !

First Glance

The massive load capacity (272kg) is a dead giveaway that the Malibu is a ‘big unit’. The demo model provided for the review had the Apex-1 seat which lays claim to be the ‘best and most comfortable seat in the world’ as well as all the hatch and rod holders that can be fitted as options. It was not fitted with a rudder, which is also another option.

The X-Factor features a huge front hatch, easy access rectangle centre hatch and a rear rectangle hatch set at a 45 degree angle, allowing access for rod storage while on the water. The tank well features an indent for a bucket, plus shelves for a full or half milk crate. The rear hatch is cleverly positioned so that it is still accessible even if you have a bucket or crate in position.

The front hatch can be replaced with Malibu’s “Gater Hatch’ which allows a child to sit safely with their own rod & gear. If your still short a seat, there is one more child seat option in the rear dive well area.


The X-Factor is extremely stable and provides a ‘dry’ ride in most conditions. The Apex 1 seat gave a lot of support and enhanced this yak’s feel as a great fishing platform.

I found the recessed rod holders that were in front of the seat were a useful inclusion. While trolling it was nice to be able to see the tip of your rod, to check your lures action through the water. Most fishing kayaks rely on the rod holders behind the seat for trolling, with the option of fitting an adjustable rod holder forward of your feet.

The two recessed rod holders, outside of your feet, angle your rods towards the bow of the kayak so that they would not hinder your paddling action. I did find them still a little close when paddling and would recommend anyone with long arms to consider asking for these to be positioned 5cm further forward.

Stability, Manoeuvrability, Tracking and Speed

Kayaks are a compromise of a whole host of features we would all like to see in a craft. The perfect kayak would be fast yet stable, manoeuvrable but still able to track a straight line, lightweight but extremely strong and still cost only $200! It is a matter of working out which features are the most important to you and look for a craft that suits your needs and body size.

The X-Factor scores top marks for its stability and also it’s tracking. In windy conditions it showed no signs of needing a rudder and little tendency to weathercock (turn up into the wind). It did require a strong sweep stroke to manoeuvre the craft and a fairly large turning circle.

In the Surf and Cruising

The upswept bow and large volume in the front of the kayak allowed the X-Factor to punch out through the surf with relative ease. It was just as comfortable coming in through the surf, but did perform better in the smaller stuff.

For such a ‘beamy’ kayak the X-Factor paddles quite well over a longer distance, but it is no speed machine! A bigger, stronger paddler can push it along at a good cruising speed for trolling and keep up with other fishing kayaks on the market.

The Wash-Up

If you’re a big guy and a little hesitant about giving one of these fishing kayaks a go at the risk of falling out, the X-Factor may be for you! If you don’t want to buy a double kayak but have 1 or 2 kids (3-8 years of age) who may be keen to come out with you then you should definitely take a look at this dedicated fishing yak.

The only thing I didn’t enjoy about this kayak was lifting it on to the car. With the front Gater hatch, backrest and other hatches fitted it is definitely over 30kg! The Malibu X-Factor is priced from $1899 without rudder.

For more information contact Fish Yak in Western Australia on (08) 93096477, orVisit http://www.fishyak.com

Craig McSween of Splash Safaris Sea Kayaking, who is also a Sea Kayak Instructor with Australian Canoeing, conducted this review. For feedback on this review you can contact us at Adventure Outlet (Kayaking, Camping & Outdoor Store) in Southport on (07) 55712929 or --e-mail address hidden-- . Watch for more kayak reviews in next month’s edition.




Kayak Anglers Wanted!

A social day has been scheduled for anyone interested in kayak fishing. There will be talks on the proposed Kayak Fishing Club starting in the South East Queensland Region. We are looking for a core group of paddlers to give this idea some direction, to hold fishing competitions and social days.

When?Sunday 9th Sept 07
Where?Boat ramp and park at Cabbage Tree Point
Who?Anyone that paddles and is interested in fishing!

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