The New X –13 by Malibu Kayaks - Reviewed by KFM E-mail
Wednesday, 14 October 2009 18:52

The New X –13 is Malibu Kayaks first attempt at a kayak that is not what I consider a big mans kayak. The Extreme and the X-Factor by Malibu have been very popular fishing kayaks but are more geared to comfort and the ability to handle larger paddlers with tons of gear. I think the new X-13 is more to the performance end of a kayak with fishing ergonomics never far from the equation. Malibu is one of the first companies to build a kayak from the ground up with fishing as its main objective and their models show it.

At 13’10” the new X-13 is trying to take some market share from the Ocean Kayak Prowler 13, which is probably the most popular fishing kayak in that size class. I actually see a lot of similarities in the 2 kayaks and I think this was a conscious effort on the part of Malibu.

X-13

Design: the X-13 has little rocker (curve) and the bow and stern do not nose up in the water which will give you better tracking and speed but will take away from the kayaks ability to turn on a dime and handle head on waves and chop. The kayak has a flared front to cut through waves and deflect water. It also has a keel ridge that runs the entire length of kayak – again for better tracking, this usually takes away from primary stability but that does not seem to be the case as the hard chine edges (angle between the bottom of kayak and the sides of the kayak) keep it rock solid. At 29” wide, there is plenty of kayak and freeboard and it reminds me of the Tarpon 140 the way it sits in the water.

x-13

Features: Malibu is always working to come up with ideas to make fishing time on the water more productive and X-13 is no exception. The front hatch area that I guess we will have to refer to as the front tankell because it was designed to be a separate compartment with its main purpose to be used as a fish storage area.  The area has a scupper hole that can be plugged or unplugged depending on whether you are storing fish or keeping it dry. This is a pretty neat idea as keeping catch fresh in this area is pretty easy as there is about a gallon or so of water mixing when unplugged. Remember though if you choose to paddle with this scupper open that the kayak will not perform as well as it would otherwise because of that extra water sloshing around and will bring the bow down a bit. A big hatch is going to take a big hatch cover and the newly designed gator hatch cover is standard with the X-13, the Gator hatch allows a small child to sit up front and now has a new low profile style. I am not a big fan of this hatch system as in the past I have seen some leakage (with the Extreme and the X-Factor) with a hatch this size due to the kayak flexing in rougher water. The difference here is that any leakage with be enclosed in the separate front hatch compartment. The hatch has a single bungee latch system that is pretty easy to access and undo while on the water. The front hatch compartment also has a flat area with you can put in a deck plate or for that matter just cut a 3” or 4” hole to receive rods that you can put through the center hatch.

Moving down the kayak to the foot well area, you will see that this area is nice and flat with four total scupper holes, at my weight of 190 lbs there was a small amount of water here. I have a 33” inseam and I had room to spear so I can’t see anybody running out of space here. The foot track system is easily adjusted. I understand that the rudder system is new but I have yet to see it. Separating your legs is a center console that is perfect for mounting electronics.

x-13

The seating area is wide and very comfortable, it has 2 scupper holes but at my weight the area was bone dry. The center rectangular hatch is one of the best around; the 4 toggle latch system is easy and makes for a water tight seal. Sitting sidesaddle is very easy and comfortable. The lower deck is flat and ideal for standing. The hatch system comes with a tray that is ideal for storage and can be removed for stowing larger items like rods (you would need to have that front hatch area cut out to store rods). Malibu also has a sliding console unit that works with the X-13 and sold separately.

The X-13 has a great rear tankwell that handle plenty of gear. It also has some round holes notched out to handle PVC for easy rod holders that can be stuck in.

 Malibu Kayak

The Skinny: The 13’ to 14’ class in fishing kayaks is pretty competitive and I am sure it will get more so as this is a very popular length for fisherman wanting a kayak that is long enough to provide some performance but short enough for easy maneuverability on the water and off. The specs. on the X-13 list it at 57 lbs. and I am guessing that the model I tested with the 2 hatches and the 4 rod holders was about 65 lbs so they are in the ballpark. I think that that X-13 would be best suited for paddlers under 250lbs. The model I tested would list at 969.00 with the 2 hatches and 4-rod holders. In the past Malibu has had some trouble with leaking scupper posts, in speaking with Sean Caples of Malibu he told me that this problem has been rectified with their new molding process. I think that this model is going to give kayaks like the Prowler 13, Manta Ray 14, Quest and the Tarpon 14 a run for money and should be a hot kayak for the new season.

big weakfish

 

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