Beginning kayakers are often eager to spend a little money on their first kayak, while they try to learn the basic techniques required and their personal preferences.
It doesn’t make sense to spend more or less $2,000 on a kayak only to discover that you’d rather have one that is 2 inches wider or one that features a different propulsion mechanism.
Instead, beginners are best served by selecting an entry-level model, which will allow them to try out the sport and figure out the specific components and design features they want.
The Sun Dolphin Excursion 10 is exactly this type of kayak as it is most of the time available under $500. But don’t let its low price point fool you. This is a solid kayak with a lot of upside for beginners.
The Sun Dolphin Excursion 10 fishing kayak is one of the most popular entry-level available on the market.
As a budget-priced model, it lacks a lot of the features present on larger (and more expensive) ones, but it still has enough attributes to make it a great choice for those starting out in the hobby.
Measuring 10 feet long and 30 inches wide, it is small but surprisingly stable.
Weighing only 40 pounds, it is a breeze to haul, store, load and launch, even if you must do these tasks alone. Despite its relatively small size, users report that the kayak tracks well and is capable of holding a straight line without much effort.
It is best suited for paddling around in small lakes and slow rivers. Not only does it easily handle flat water, but its short length also makes turning a dream – even if you must navigate narrow waterways.
Since it is a small craft, it is not a smart choice if you plan to do much fishing in the open ocean. It is not designed to cope with large swells and it isn’t fast enough to make long-distance journeys realistic.
Additionally, because of its low capacity, you won’t want to fight a large fish in this kayak (nor would you have a place to store a big marlin or grouper once you caught it).
The Sun Dolphin Excursion 10 is a sit-inside design (the Sun Dolphin Journey is its sit-on-top version), which many users find to provide additional stability. As beginners learn the sport, stability is very important and helps make your time on the water more fun.
Nevertheless, the cockpit design is relatively open for a sit-inside model which make newcomers feel more comfortable rather than feeling trapped inside a snug-fitting cockpit.
Although it is broadly similar to other low-cost kayaks, its combination of features, durability and performance draw good reviews from its users.
Another great aspect of the Sun Dolphin Excursion 10 is its light weight. Coming in at a shade over 40 pounds, it is 9 pounds lighter than the Old Town Vapor 10 Angler and yet it is 1.5 inches wider.
The Excursion’s capacity is its only serious limitation.
While other reviewed kayaks have a 275-pound capacity, the Excursion 10 can only handle 250 pounds. Although it is only a 25-pound difference, this can be game-changing for larger anglers or those who like to bring a lot of gear when they go fishing.
- three rod holders (two flush mounts behind the seat, one swivel-mounted holder in front of the seat)
- shock corded deck riggings
- cup holder
- a number of other features that aren’t available on other economy models
Some users expressed frustration with the size of the storage box but there is only so much space available in a 10-foot-long kayak.
If you decide that it is the right kayak for you, consider investing in a tackle-storing vest or floating tackle box that you can leash to the boat in case of a spill.
The common complaint about the Excursion 10 is its seat not being that comfortable for extended fishing sessions. However, most users cope with this small problem, thanks to its numerous strengths.
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Rating the Sun Dolphin Excursion 10 Fishing Kayak
This is based on a 1 to 5 stars rating.
It is important that beginners use a sturdy craft that can withstand the punishment inexperienced users may inflict, and it provides that. 4.5 stars are given for its durability.
It is a very affordable kayak. However, you can get another model with more features but with a lower price tag. 4 stars are given for its value.
Although the Excursion 10 will never be confused with a premium sea kayak, it tracks very well for its size and price. 4 stars are given for its tracking ability.
It is not ideal for chasing schools of fish or covering great distances. It is best suited for small waters. 2 stars are given for its speed.
For the price, the features are adequate but it can certainly benefit from more angler-friendly features. 3 stars are given for its features.
That gives the Sun Dolphin Excursion 10 an overall rating of 3.5 stars. It is a solid choice for beginning kayakers, but most who fall in love with the sport may want to upgrade to a high-performance craft quickly.
It does not have a long list of fishing tools and features but you can upgrade it with aftermarket items such as fish finders and additional rod holders.
The Sun Dolphin Excursion 10 is well-suited for beginners of all ages, and young anglers who can control the small craft far better than they could control a large kayak.
In fact, many anglers end up keeping their Excursion and passing it down to their kids once they become ready for an upgrade.