In this Sun Dolphin Aruba 12 review, we’ll take a look at the Aruba 12 kayak from Sun Dolphin and see how it stacks up against other recreational kayaks. This review will look at all the key features of the Aruba 12 and how it fits in with the rest of the available options from Sun Dolphin and other brands.

The Aruba 12 is a versatile kayak that is ideal for beginners to learn on. Not only does this kayak serve as a great recreational kayak for sailing over calmer waters, but it is also an adept fishing kayak that is perfect for heading out on the lake with your fishing gear. There are even rod holders to hold your fishing rods and plenty of storage space for other gear and equipment.

Key Features

Let’s take a look at the key features of the Aruba 12 and how it stacks up with what we have come to expect from Sun Dolphin.

  • Comfort: The Aruba 12 is a comfortable ride, for those who fit its dimensions. It’s not exactly huge but if you’re super tall I can see how it may get a little annoying. I’m 6’2″ and well-built and was okay but I think that’s kind of pushing it. Width-wise it was okay and it has a weight limit of 250 lbs.
  • Portability: Despite being 12 feet in length, the aruba 12 is easy to carry around and is perfectly portable. This is essential in a kayak that is designed to double as a fishing kayak.
  • Convenience: With a flush mount, rod holders, and deck rigging, itS offers fantastic convenience. Like other Sun Dolphin kayaks, this is a versatile kayak that can be used in a variety of situations and will serve different types of user equally well.
  • Handling: While it is sometimes prone to being blown off course by strong winds, the Aruba 12 SS generally handles superbly in calm waters.

Pros and Cons


  • Excellent budget option: The Aruba 12 is one of the better budget options that sun dolphin offers. Anyone looking for an affordable beginner kayak will be well served.
  • An easy ride in gentle waters: In gentler waters, there are few kayaks that handle as well as this one. Every other review of the Aruba 12 we’ve seen praises its performance in calm waters.
  • Can be used as a fishing kayak: With plenty of storage space and rod holders to store fishing rods come this kayak is a prime recreational craft for beginners.
  • Good storage capabilities: The Aruba 12 SS can handle up to 250 pounds including yourself and any cargo. That is plenty of storage for most uses and is excellent for a beginner’s kayak.
  • Great starter model: There are few kayaks better suited to a total beginner. While the Aruba 12 SS struggles in rough waters, it is ideal for taking beginners out on gentler tides.
  • All-round good stability: As long as you don’t try to push it too far, it will remain stable throughout most of the conditions you are likely to encounter.


  • Not the most comfortable ride: Again, if you’re super tall, the SS might get a little uncomfortable compared to most other kayaks in this price range.
  • Not well suited for larger riders: Many of the best kayak manufacturers are still struggling to effectively serve their larger customers and the Aruba carries on this tradition.
  • Plastic could be of higher quality: While the build quality of this kayak is generally very good, the plastic that Sun Dolphin has used could have been of a higher quality. It’s sitll decent considering the price of it, but I’m used to slightly higher-end models.
  • Struggles in rough waters: The Aruba 12 SS is a smooth ride in calmer waters, but if you try to take it out on rougher seas then you will soon find yourself forced to turn back.
  • Easily pushed around by wind: One drawback to a lightweight craft like this is that strong winds can easily send you off course. Be mindful of this if you’re going to be out on the water for a while.

Overall, the Aruba 12 is one of the best beginners kayaks that Sun Dolphin offers. We can wholeheartedly recommend the Aruba to any beginner kayaker.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are Sun Dolphin Kayaks Like?

Sun Dolphin has a solid reputation for producing high-quality kayaks; this is a business that you can buy from with confidence. The Aruba 12 from Sun Dolphin is a solid option that has been well-received by critics and users alike. Sun Dolphin has produced different types of kayaks, including both pedal and paddle options. The Aruba 12 brings together design elements that we have seen elsewhere across sun dolphin’s range and combines them into a kayak that is versatile and easy to handle. It is also a great accessory carrier for any fishermen out there.

How Much Weight Can The Aruba 12 Hold?

The Aruba 12 has a capacity of 250 lbs, which should be enough for most light fishing excursions. That much capacity is definitely nice to see in a kayak that is relatively lightweight and easy to carry.

How Much Does The Aruba 12 Cost?

The cost of the Aruba 12 can vary considerably depending on where you order it from. If you buy the kayak directly from Sun Dolphin or a retailer, you’ll have to pay the full price, but you will come out of it with a brand new kayak. On the other hand, if you are happy with a second-hand option, you can reduce the cost considerably. UK buyers will have to import from overseas if they want to purchase new, finding new models for sale domestically is difficult. You will also need to add in the costs of shipping which for such a heavy item will be quite significant.