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TopKayaker.Net Field Review by "OceanKayak16" of Seattle Washington -
Please note: The very popular Ocean Kayak brand "Cabo" available new in Australia & New Zealand is no longer produced in the USA. - but widely available everywhere preowned.

Cabo by Ocean kayak

THE OCEAN KAYAK CABO:

I have owned my Ocean Kayak Cabo for several years. It is my favorite kayak. Its long length and narrow beam make it especially fast, fun and easy to paddle for a sit-on-top. We use our kayaks for recreational family outings. The Cabo easily accommodates dad, mom and a child in the middle seat, along with chairs, toys and a cooler for the day's outings. I especially appreciate the Cabo when set up as a single. I am a large size paddler. The Cabo effortlessly handles my big size (6'1' 250lbs) and the middle (single) seat stays completely dry. As a single the Cabo tracks very well, rides high out of the water and is very fast. It's a real pleasure.

PROS
· Fast! Narrow width and long length make it quick for a tandem sit-on-top
· Tracks well in light conditions, even without a rudder
· Storage capacity: large forward hatch space and rear tank well.
· Weight carrying capacity (perhaps the best of any kayak!)
· Outstanding paddling and dry ride when configured as a single
· With three seating areas, excellent boat for two adults and a small child
· Never tap paddles with your partner due to length of boat
· Rugged construction, it's tough to hurt this boat
· Very good family boat
· Excellent kayak for large paddler


CONS
· Seats are somewhat narrow
· Difficult to turn due to length
· Wet seats when configured as a double (get scupper plugs)
· Heavy dry weight (70+ lbs) and awkward to move by yourself
· Easily pushed around by moderate-toong winds
· Unstable in moderate chop and strong cross currents (due to narrow width)
· Stability reduced when carrying near maximum capacity weight load

Under certain conditions, stability can be a concern with the Cabo. Compared with our other tandem (an Ocean Kayak Aegean), the Cabo is noticeably less stable when heavily loaded and used as a tandem. The Cabo is especially unstable when heavily loaded and you paddle into significant chop and cross currents. The boat seems to modulate and become unnervingly "tipsy" under these conditions. This is my only real concern about the Cabo. We address this by loading the boat lighter when we anticipate significant cross currents or chop.

At about 17' and 75 lbs. dry weight, this can be a difficult kayak to handle by yourself. I solved this by carrying it on a small trailer and launching it from boat ramps. When I have someone with me, the boat can be reasonably carried short distances by two people.

COMPARISONS:

Compared to the Ocean Kayak Malibu Two, still produced in the USA, the Cabo is a much longer and more comfortable boat. It's easy to bang paddle when two people are in a Malibu Two, something that is pleasantly impossible with the Cabo. The Malibu Two turns more easily. The Cabo rides higher, travels faster and paddles easier than the Malibu Two.

Malibu Two by Ocean Kayak

Aegean by Ocean Kayak

Compared to the Ocean Kayak Aegean, also discontinued in the USA but produced new in Australia and New Zealand, the Cabo is faster and tracks better. The Cabo can carry significantly more gear. The Aegean is wider and significantly more stable when two people are using as a tandem.

GEOGRAPHY:

I have spent many hours paddling the Cabo in Florida and Washington State. It was excellent on calm waters in all locations. It paddles well against upstream river currents (because of its narrow beam).
It doesn't like the surf (because of its length). The scuppers let water onto the seats (in warm Florida water was not a problem, cold Puget Sound water sometimes it was.)

If you are planning to paddle in the Seattle area, check out Seattle Kayak & Canoe Guide

In South Florida see Palm Beach Kayaking and Canoeing Guide

BOTTOM LINE:

The Ocean Kayak Cabo gets a 9 out of 10 for its on-water performance, outstanding hauling capacity and excellence when configured as a single kayak. Its only flaws are stability (under a limited number of conditions) and handling when dry.

CARE:

As with any plastic kayak, avoid storing the boat in direct sunlight. Plastic kayaks will last decades if protected from UV damage. Store indoors, in full shade or cover with a tarp. Hose down the boat and all equipment after each use (especially in a saltwater environment). 1-2 times each year wipe down the entire boat with ArmorAll Protectent (especially if preparing the kayak for winter storage). See also the article here at Topkayaker.net: Storing Your Sit-on-top Kayak by Tom Holtey.


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