Sun Dolphin Journey Fishing Kayak Review 

The Sun Dolphin Journey fishing kayak is a ten-foot sit on top model that weighs in at just forty-four pounds. This fishing kayak offers decent tracking for its size and has everything the beginner needs to get started including a couple of flush-mount rod holders located behind the seat and a swivel rod holder located on the front. Basically, this model is comfortable, allows you to take along plenty of gear, and it’s very user-friendly, which is a huge plus for the angler eager to try kayak fishing. It’s a popular choice for new anglers on a budget and it offers some great basic features at a reasonable price. 

Our Verdict: This kayak is a good choice for beginners, but it’s not recommended for serious ocean anglers. The problem lies with the scupper hole design which allows too much water in. This can become a major issue if you plan on fishing on a fast moving river or in the ocean. However, for the beginner in search of a decent model they can use on lakes and calm rivers, the Journey is a great buy.

Read on to learn more about the Journey and what makes it a perfect choice for beginners.

Overview and Features 

Described as a fishing kayak that’s best suited for beginners, the Journey comes with  nice extras that can save you some serious cash if you want a model loaded with rod holders and other angling specific features. 

This model provides a large seating area that’s roomy and comfortable. It also comes equipped with protective thigh pads which are perfect for those longer fishing trips. The adjustable foot braces will keep the angler comfortable, and the paddle holder does a great job of keeping the paddle out of the way when you’re casting. 

When you’re out on the water, accessing the rear storage compartment can be difficult, but at least you know your gear is secure. 

There have been some reports from anglers who complained that the scupper holes allow too much water in, which can be a major issue. This is a common problem with lower-priced fishing kayaks. The pros recommend resealing the screws and purchasing better quality scupper plugs. Beginners will need to learn how to get water out of a kayak before they consider taking it out for a longer fishing trip. But with simple upgrades, this shouldn’t be a problem. 

The included seat is also not the most comfortable, but it can easily be upgraded later down the road.  

While the kayak has a reputation for stability, it’s not quite stable enough to allow the angler to stand and cast.

Sit-On-Top Kayak

This is a great entry level fishing kayak that’s perfect for the angler on a tight budget. While it can’t provide the type of performance that top of the line models such as the BKC UH-TK181 fishing kayak can, it does come equipped with some of the features you’d expect to find on a serious fishing kayak. 

The interior of the kayak is very spacious. You’ll have more freedom to move around compared to a sit-inside kayak and you won’t have to learn how to do Eskimo rolls or wet exists, so it’s a great kayak for less experienced paddlers. 

This ten-foot model is designed for anglers who don’t need to haul a lot of gear and those who want a reliable fishing kayak they can use to reach those hard to access spots. 

The kayak’s lower weight capacity of just two hundred and fifty pounds makes this model unsuitable for larger users and also really impacts how much gear you can bring with you. 


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Despite the fact that this is a smaller kayak, it still offers plenty of storage options. Located behind the seat you’ll find a large dry storage hatch designed to keep your gear safe and dry. At the bow, there’s also a storage compartment. Both the stern and bow storage areas are equipped with bungee cord rigging. 

This type of storage is perfect if you’re often guilty of over packing for a fishing trip. You’ll have plenty of space to store all of your gear and keep it dry and neatly organized, plus it will be readily accessible.


The flush and swivel rod holders are a nice touch and not usually found on kayaks in this price range. The kayak also features a great place for the user to store their paddle, located on the side of the kayak. This will help you keep track of your paddle and will ensure it doesn’t end up in the water while you’re fighting to reel in your catch. 

There’s also a dry hatch located in front of the seat where you can store your keys, phone, and other personal items, in addition to a cup holder that’s also conveniently located in front of the seat. 

Portable Design

The short length and lightweight design make it even easier to store and haul this kayak, so it’s a good choice if you’re in need of a compact model you can store on a roof rack.  The kayak also has retractable carry handles, so you can easily get it in and out of your vehicle and into the water without any help. 

The compact design is also a plus if you don’t have much storage space to work with at home or a large dedicated spot to store the kayak during the off-season. Unlike a traditional racing kayak, this model can easily fit in a shed or in the garage, even if you’re tight on space.

Where This Kayak Excels

Clearly, the kayak’s lightweight design is one of its biggest selling points, in addition to its open cockpit design which makes exiting and entering the kayak simple and fast. While the kayak does feature a compact design, it still offers better than average storage space compared to competing models in this price range.

Additionally, the kayak’s smaller size makes it easier to handle and maneuver, so the beginner will enjoy taking tight twists and turns down challenging waterways or enjoy floating on a calm lake for a leisurely afternoon of fishing. While this model may not be able to handle fast moving water, it’s definitely a great buy for anyone in need of a reliable, solid kayak that can last season after season.

How Stable is it?

The kayak is thirty inches wide and ten feet long, which makes it more stable than a narrow longer kayak. Narrow, long kayaks are designed for speed, while the Journey features a design that’s more focused on stability. Because it’s so stable, an angler will be able to freely stand when casting, without the worry of the boat tipping or rocking.

This kayak is best-suited for large ponds and slow-moving rivers and is not recommend it for ocean use. 

If you’re looking for a seaworthy kayak, click here to check out our buyer’s guide where you can choose from the leading five models of fishing kayaks on the market. 


This Sun Dolphin kayak doesn’t focus on comfort as much as it does on portability and fishability. While the backrest is padded, the seat is not, so if you plan on spending several hours in your kayak, you’ll want to bring along a gel-topped cushion to make up for the lack of padding. The molded seat isn’t raised off the floor, which can make it difficult to get in and out of. You can also expect to get pretty wet. The seat itself is pretty spacious, but it clearly wasn’t designed for all-day use. 

The foot braces are highly adjustable, so you can move them to a more comfortable position. 

The thigh braces are heavily padded giving you a little touch of comfort. 

Ultimately, the seat will work fine if you plan on spending a few hours at a time on the water. Any longer and you’ll benefit from upgrading to a heavily padded ergonomic model. Fortunately, the manufacturer also sells kayak seats so you can easily swap this stock model out for one that has more to offer in terms of comfort.

Overall, you’ll have an adequate amount of space to stretch out and the adjustable foot braces and thigh braces add much-needed padding and comfort.

Advantages & Disadvantages

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  • Highly portable design for easy transportation and storage 
  • Priced affordably
  • Lightweight design
  • Easy to maneuver
  • Stable enough for standing casts
  • Decent amount of storage space
  • Takes on too much water in rough water conditions
  • Uncomfortable seat
  • Slow

Conclusion and Rating

Paddle Product Rating: (4/5)

The Journey by Sun Dolphin is more geared toward the kayaking newbie who loves to fish than the die-hard ocean angler. If you’re looking for a faster kayak that can cleanly slice through the water, then this kayak isn’t for you.  But what it can offer is a solid, reliable performance in the right water conditions. It comes equipped with plenty of extras that are perfect for beginners or anglers on a budget. We gave this model a rating of four out of five stars.

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