The All New Malibu Kayaks Stealth 14
Malibu Kayaks has been building quality fishing kayaks for many years. In keeping with an ever changing industry, Malibu Kayaks has just introduced the redesigned Stealth 14.The Stealth series of kayaks has been a very popular line and with the new innovations is going to continue to be the choice of many fisherman. We received one of the first production Stealth 14's for sale and also a DEMO model to take for a paddle to see what it can do.
The new Stealth 14 keeps up with most of the the same specs as the previous model. At 14'4" in length, 33" wide, 62 pounds, and a weight capacity of 550 pounds the Stealth 14 is sure to handle big water paddling/fishing. The Stealth 14 will accommodate larger paddlers/fisherman with all of there gear. For the offshore fisherman, this kayak is definately designed to handle big fish fishing.
Starting at the bow, the Stealth 14 is sporting all new carry handles which are comfortable in the hand. Also new to this kayak is the Gator Hatch V.3. This is the newest version of the Gator Hatch that has been on Malibu Kayaks for years. With this version you have multiple ways of opening it and accessing the massive inside storage this kayak has to offer. First you can open the Gator Seat, seating location for a small child, which will allow you access to the newly added gear tray beneath it that covers the full length of the Gator Hatch. You can open the Gator hatch and gain access to this same tray whcih you can take out to gain access to the inside of the kayak. This gives you lots of storage options depending on the kind of gear you have and the quickness it will be available to you. This is a great system and the hatch is extremely large to handle all kinds of gear and also big saltwater gamefish.
The Stealth 14 has a big change as you move back from the Bow Hatch. On this version Malibu has changed the center console area by adding a 12" gear track for mounting just about any accessories of your choice. This is a great location for a fish finder and/or a rod holder. A big departure from a flat mounting surface and a cup holder. This is a nice feature change. The Footwell area has a slight redesign but is minimal. The Adjustable Foot Rails/Pegs are retained. Two scupper holes are located in both the Left/Right Footwells to drain any water that might enter into the kayak over the sides. On the outside of the kayak near the Foot Rails are Flush Mount Rod Holders on both the left and right sides.
Another big change to the Stealth 14 is the redesigned Baittank. The Center Bait Tank System now comes with a larger bait hatch access (6 inches). Gone is the screw in cap, and now sports a latch for quick and easy access with an attached gear bucket. Improved drainage system to allow for easier install of an optional pump kit. The hatch now comes with a secure frame with 3 locking points for more stability and better sealing. This is a great feature for the bait fisherman. This hatch can also be used a gear storage when not using bait. Next to the Bait Tank are gear storage hatches with hatch bags for storing smaller items like hooks, lures, pliers, etc. These hatch bags can be removed to gain access to the inside of the kayak.
What everyone has been waiting for, the X-Seat. Malibu Kayaks spent 2 years in the developement of this seat and seating system to fit into the Stealth 14. With upwards of 4 positions and full adjustability, this stadium style high/low seat combines all the top-quality features kayak anglers expect, with the versatility Malibu Kayaks is known for. The X-Seat transitions easily into over 4 different positions, providing up to an additional 24 inches in height.
Both the bottom and back rest provide a full range of motion, and can be folded up completely, allowing standing room and access to the included casting post. The interlocking design allows the user safety and stability when on the water, while still being able to remove the seat in seconds, for use as a beach or camp chair. Ergonomic design featuring lumbar support and a high back frame with open sides, No Straps, allows for maximum comfort and maneuverability while paddling. This is a great feature to allow for sitting side straddle while fishing or to turn around and reach gear in the tank weel or the rear hatch. The frame is made of high-grade anodized aluminum, making the seat durable, lightweight and more resistant to corrosion or wear. Coupled with a UV resistant, moisture wicking, and breathable 3-D mesh fabric, the X-Seat is a very nice upgraded seat.
This kayak is built with storage in mind and it continues with a Hinged Hatch with a removeable Gear Bag just behind the X-Seat. Allows storage of a wide variety of clothes, food and gear. You can remove the Hatch Bag and gain acces to the inside rear storage area of the kayak. Next to the Rear Hatch are 2 more Flush Mount Rod Holders, great for rod storage or slow trolling. The stern of the kayak has a slightly shallower Tank Well but is still larger enough, 22"x15", to accommodate most crates. With the included bungee system you can also store dry bags, extra clothes, fish and larger gear in the Rear Tank Well. In this area there is also 2 molded in inserts that will accept the Malibu Kayaks Trolling motor Bracket, allowing for a trolling motor to be mounted on the left or right side.
On the bottom side of the kayak there is a new larger transducer mounting location to accept more manufacturers designs of transducers but is Lowrance Ready. Just like the bow, the stern also features a newly designed carry handle. The Drain Plug is the same style as pevious years and is located next to the rear carry handle.
Getting this kayak on the water is what we have all been looking forward to. Keeping in line with the Stealth series the New Stealth 14 still has amazing stability. Definately will support larger paddlers as well as those of you that like to stand up and fish/paddle. Stand up paddle style paddling is a breeze. Tracking and speed are good on this longer model with the addition of the optional rudder that could be improved. Paddling this kayak from the seated positon is nice with the new X-seat in the low position for the best overall experience. Stability is slightly less in the high position but nothing that is going to be of concern except to the largest of paddlers. Switching the X-Seat between the High, Low, and Casting positon out on the water can be done, it will just take getting used to the balance of the kayak to do this with confidence. Gaining access to the front hatch is very easy while out on the water. The rear hatch and the rear tank well are fairly easy to access from a side saddle seated positon in the X-Seat.
The New Mailbu Kayaks Stealth 14 is definately a very nice kayak. With a tried and true hull design and all of the new added features, this kayak just may be the best choice for the 14 foot and longer class of kayaks. If you are a big water fisherman you owe the New Stealth 14 a look!