Sun Dolphin Aruba 8 ss Review

If you’re a newbie to the kayak world, our Sun Dolphin Aruba 8 ss review is going to do you a lot of good.

The Sun Dolphin Aruba SS is truly one of the best recreational kayaks out there for many reasons.

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For starters, it’s one of the best for beginners. Searching for the right first kayak can be very difficult, as there are so many out there with very little info on if they’re actually the right ones for you.

This is why we want to take you on a journey into the world of the Sun Dolphin Aruba ss and get down into the gritty details on what makes it such an excellent starter kayak for anyone in the family.

With ease in paddling, a lightweight build, and a nice sit-in design that will keep you comfortable and dry, it’s no wonder why we’re beginning to see the Sun Dolphin Aruba 8 ss everywhere.

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Specifications

  • ​8’ in length
  • ​Weight Capacity: 260lbs
  • ​Adjustable padded seat
  • ​UV Stabilized Fortiflex High-Density Polyethylene Build
  • ​Recessed Drink Holder
  • ​Carrying Handles
  • ​Molded-In Paddle Holder w/ Paddle

Pro's

  • ​Very inexpensive
  • ​Versatile
  • ​Lightweight and easy to maneuver
  • ​Comes in an array of colors
  • ​Carrying handles make for easy of transportation
  • ​Large cockpit for easier entry
  • ​Dry storage compartment

Con's

  • ​A bit wide for its size
  • ​Not very stable when getting in
  • ​No butt pad

Features and Benefits

First let’s talk about the onboard storage compartment. Many cheap kayaks don’t come with any dry storage compartments, which can suck if you want a way to bring along a camera, phone, wallet, keys, or any other small belonging you want to keep dry. Luckily the Sun Dolphin Aruba 8 ss comes with onboard storage, complete with shock cord deck rigging. Its about the size of a large soda can, so while you’re not going to be packing a lunch with you, it’s plenty big enough to stow away your pocket items. It’s also watertight with the O-ring so you should have no fear about getting your stuff wet.


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The build of the kayak is very durable and lightweight, making it easy for people of all sizes to not only transport, but also to maneuver around in the water without any issues. At just under 30lbs, you’ll easily be able to carry it from your car to the water without a set of wheels. It’s far more manageable than any kayak we have used in the past. The Fortiflex high-density polyethylene is incredibly strong as well, and is UV-resistant which is awesome for those who don’t have room to store it out of the sun for long periods of time. The most surprising thing to us is that it supports up to 260lbs, even with its small size.

In terms of transporting, it comes with a nice little handle at the front and one at the back which makes it easy to either pull through the water or over sand if need be. It’s also useful if you want two people to carry it down to the water. The drain plug is located behind the rope in front too in a very convenient spot that makes it easy to get water out whenever you need to. In terms of keeping your paddle nicely in place, they’ve included what they call “paddle holders” to place your paddle in while you’re getting comfortable inside.

Sun Dolphin Aruba 8 ss
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Accessories

The Sun Dolphin Aruba 8 ss does not come with very many accessories except for the paddle, but there are a few extra accessories that you really should consider purchasing alongside the kayak. One of the first things you should do is purchase a seat pad, as the plastic seat bottom can get very uncomfortable, especially if you are in the water all day.

If you want to upgrade your paddle to one that is a bit more durable, Sun Dolphin has a few other high-end paddles that we would really recommend getting if you were planning on using the kayak for a long time.

Lastly, there is a nice little anchor kit that Sun Dolphin makes in case you want to set yourself down somewhere in the lake to enjoy a nice drink or get a little lake-top shut-eye.


Frequently Asked Questions


Are there foot rests in the Sun Dolphin Aruba 8 ss?

Unfortunately not. We would definitely recommend getting some sort of padding to stick in the bottom if you want to remain a little bit more comfortable throughout your ride. The kayak doesn’t have a ton of tracking, so you’ll really have to find different ways to modify it if you want to feel properly tucked in.


What kind of people is the Sun Dolphin Aruba 8 ss good for?

The Aruba 8 ss is definitely a beginner kayak for people that are only using it for recreation on the weeks. If you’re taller or on the heavier side, we would recommend getting a bigger kayak that has a bit more stability. We’re seeing a lot of them nowadays, especially with the young ones!


What kind of water does this work best for?

The Aruba 8 ss is made for flat water more than anything else. You’ll find that if you begin taking it into the ocean or anywhere with chop, it won’t hold up very well. There are tons of reviews with people saying they took it out in the ocean and found that they were tipping all over the place. If you do decide to take it out on rougher waters, you should find a spray skirt or bilge pump. That being said, if you’re thinking of taking it out on whitewater, this is not the kayak for you.


Is it a good kayak for fishing?

We wouldn’t recommend this primarily for fishing for a number of reasons. For one thing, there is not a lot of onboard storage for tackle boxes or other fishing gear. There is also no keel on the kayak so it tips a bit easier than you would think. If you’re trying to reel in some serious fish, trying to stay stable is going to be very difficult. You also will have an incredibly hard time standing up in it too.


Does the Aurba 8 ss come with a warranty?

The Aruba 8 ss comes with a limited lifetime warranty that is only good if you properly care for your kayak. They don’t cover normal wear and tear or damage from improper use.


Should I get a roof rack for the Aruba 8 ss?

Yes! We would highly recommend purchasing a third party set of roof racks (not the ones that are factory installed on your car) to safely and securely move your kayak from point A to point B. Luckily, the Aruba 8 ss is extremely lightweight and should be easy for you to lift over your head and on to your car or truck.


How can I learn to kayak?

Kayaking is one of the best paddlesports out there, but can be a little frustrating at first, especially if you don’t have someone to show you the ropes. Here are a few tips or skills to get you started so you don’t have to learn the hard way.

  • Know where you can take your kayak: As a general rule, you’ll want to be very weary about taking a kayak into an environment that is not protected from wind or waves. Try not to get further from the shore than what you’d be comfortable swimming in, as safety should be your utmost concern at all times. We’d highly recommend practicing exiting and entering your kayak multiple times so you can get the hang of it before you actually need to do it.
  • Get used to torso rotation when paddling, as it is one of the most powerful techniques in kayaking. This means you have to engage your entire upper body for each stroke rather than just using your arms. Begin to rotate with each paddle. You’ll notice that not only will you be able to propel yourself much faster, but your arms won’t get as tired.


What are the advantages and disadvantages of a sit-in kayak?

Advantages

  • Nice shelter from the wind and water, which not only keeps you dry, but also much warmer
  • They are generally more stable than sit-on-top kayaks
  • The cockpits give you a ton of room to spread out inside
  • Can brace your knees on the inner walls for more efficient paddling

Disadvantages

  • You aren’t as free to move in and out of the water as easily
  • It’s much easier to flip your kayak and have it fill with water

Final Thoughts – Should You Buy?

Yes! The Aruba 8 ss is probably one of the most ideal kayaks for those starting out because of the way it is designed. If you’re more experienced, or you are tall or heavy, we would recommend that you search for a different Sun Dolphin kayak, or something of the like.

​To wrap it up, if you don’t want to spend an arm and a leg for a kayak that you can get out with on the weekends, this little leisure craft will do just the job.

should you buy?