Sun Dolphin Bali SS 10-Foot Sit-on top Kayak Review

Another crowd favorite from Sun Dolphin.

In the straight fast tracks of the Sun Dolphin Aruba comes this sit-on-top version that, once more, attempts the perfect balance between paddling ease and maximized stability. Tracking matters too, and among the brothers who spent time in the Sun Dolphin – it belongs to Mike Hughes – Curtis, the tallest of us reported no problem whatsoever with his big old self’s access. Let’s review the Sun Dolphin Bali now.

Sun Dolphin Bali SS 10-Foot Sit-on top Kayak Size:

Perhaps size does matter.

The smallest Hughes, sister Cindy of course, reported a bit of difficulty with tracking. The adjustable foot braces accommodated her shorter frame nicely, but her paddling did not come with the natural grace that she has demonstrated in other yaks. A quibble really, because the Bali SS honestly is just about perfect for the calm waters of your favorite lake or mild-mannered river. It’s both rugged and lightweight, a friendly combination of durability and portability. The Bali will easily carry close to four hundred pounds.

Sun Dolphin Bali SS 10-Foot Sit-on top Kayak Portability:

Sun Dolphin likes its Portable Accessory Carrier.

Quite the versatile performer here, this P.A.C.. Use it as extra in-boat storage. Or, no fooling, strap it on as a backpack. Or again, use it as a slick little tow-behind. (Note: the Hughes Bros have encountered a bit of confusion in this last usage: we don’t believe that Sun Dolphin sends along any sort of connector (strap, rope, whatever) for the carrier as a follow-along. Mike certainly found none in his delivery package.)

The Bali’s storage compartment, decidedly non-portable, is large and very dry. A shock-cord deck rigging ensures the latter virtue.

Easy in and out, as Curtis Hughes so aptly noted.

Sun Dolphin Bali SS 10-Foot Sit-on top Kayak Review by Hughesreviews.com
Sun Dolphin Bali SS 10-Foot Sit-on top Kayak Review by Hughesreviews.com

As our photograph illustrate, the cockpit lies beyond open. It’s fall-in accessible, with exit almost as simple. The seat . . . no . . . the seating area is extra-large, very comfortable, and safe. Safe with protective thigh pads, a paddle holder, and Cindy’s adjustable foot braces.

About that gallon or so of water sloshing around below.

If one paddles with much less than proper form, with insufficient attention to keeping the keel perfectly flat, the scupper holes will admit some H2O. A return to straight-up, straight ahead paddling will drain the water, with no need whatsoever for concern. Oh, until this ideal form develops, you might expect a dampish bottom for a time or two on the water.

Anglers, take note, please.

In its simplicity of design, the Bali SS will not arrive in your driveway with rod holders. You’re free to place after-market holders exactly where you want. Mike reports that the simplest of placements, not a holder in sight, has resulted in some slab-sided bluegill on the supper table: he just positions his rod between his legs, extends the rod’s tip over the Bali’s bow. And off he goes. Mike belongs to a fishing club here in Kansas, and many of his fellow fishers have turned to kayaks as the boat of choice. His Bali is drawing solid reviews from the folks who have seen him in action atop it.

Of course, some nice after-market accessories will reward an investment of, say, $250 – an anchor trolley system, side handles and rod holders, if you want them.

Sun Dolphin Bali SS 10-Foot Sit-on top Kayak Rating and review:

Beginning paddlers, you’ll enjoy this boat.

On your first few outings, expect perfection neither from yourself or from your Bali SS. Naturally, the Hughes Brothers recommend a personal flotation device, initial paddling close to shore, and tethering. Better to swim to shore after an untoward inversion than any attempt – at first, just at first — to right the boat.

What’s with these delivery guys?

Admittedly, Mike’s boat arrived with a couple of dings. Certainly not Sun Dolphin’s fault. The Hughes Brothers nosed around on Amazon’s reviews. We discovered there multiple complaints about the Bali’s condition on arrival. Even on the timing of that arrival.

So there you have it: a great value at its price point, the Bali’s performance and longevity will far outweigh the peccadillos associated with it at the outset.


Click here for Amazon Purchase info: Sun Dolphin Bali SS Sit-on top Kayak

Hughes Brothers
Sun Dolphin Bali SS 10-Foot Sit-on top Kayak
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