Kayak Review as written for the Fishing Monthly Magazine by Craig McSween (Adventure Outlet)
ADVENTURE By Hobie
Manufacturers Goals: This is Hobie's fastest kayak. It features everything you want in a touring kayak; speed, tracking ability, comfort and enough room for gear. It is well set up as a fishing platform and ..............did we mention that you can not only paddle it but also PEDAL and SAIL it!
Weight: 28kg (plus 3.68kg for Mirage Drive)
If you read the July ‘07 edition of Fishing Monthly you'd have seen the review on the Hobie Outback. This was my first look at Hobies Mirage (Pedal) Drive System so you'd have noticed an element of scepticism. Things have changed.............I now fish regularly from an Adventure (as well as a few other kayaks). The Mirage Drive works by alternating pedal steps which drive two underwater fins that work much like a penguin's flippers. The flippers flex and take the shape of a propeller blade, then reverse this shape on the alternating step. If none of this makes sense go and have a look at one in the flesh.......its pretty difficult to explain!
The hull of the Adventure comes standard with carrying handles, large bow hatch, sail mount, mesh covered stowage pockets, 8 inch twist & seal hatch in front of the paddler, twist and stow rudder, paddle parks, molded in cup holder, lever for rudder control, rear cargo area with bungy tie downs, scupper holes and 2 rod holders. The impressive part of the Hobie deal is the long list of other inclusions: the Mirage Drive, a plug to fill the void of the Drive System if you only want to paddle some days, Deluxe High Back Padded Seat with detachable gear pack, Hobie 2 piece paddle, drink bottle, dry bag and 1 gear bucket that fits neatly inside the rim of either of the 8 inch hatches. This bucket has a sealed lid and makes great storage for small tackle such as lures, soft plastics, jig heads, etc.
The list of options is just as impressive: sail, daggerboard, bimini sun cover, outriggers and trolley. Special note: the Hobie trolley plugs in to the scupper holes on any Hobie model and are simpler and easier to use than any other kayak trolley that I have seen on the market. . It is possible to wheel the kayak completely in to the water and then simply float the trolley out and stow it on the rear deck. This eliminated the need to lift the kayak and also protects the flippers on the bottom of the craft.
Hobie's padded seat and backrest are as ‘comfy' as it gets. The real advantage of the Hobie is that the Mirage Drive allows hands free kayaking. This means that you can be moving around flicking your lures or soft plastics, perfect for your typical estuary fishing. Even if you are trolling hard bodied lures in open water it gives you the luxury of having your rod in hand so that you can give the lure a better action and feel the strike.
The placement of everything on the Adventure is well thought out. The 8 inch twist & seal hatch can be opened and closed easily with one hand, the rudder control is at your fingertips, the mesh covered stowage pockets are fantastic for pliers, braid cutters or even sunscreen.
The rod holders are a little further back on the Hobie's than on other fishing kayaks but I found them to still be very accessible. I'd look at adding a forward mounted adjustable rod holder to allow further storage options and to allow you to vary the height of the rod tip.
The Adventure is a speed machine! Its waterline length is greater than any other plastic fishing kayak on the market, hence if you put in some effort, either pedalling or paddling, this thing will move. If you have a real need for speed try fitting the Hobie Sail and daggerboard! Leave your rods behind on the first sailing trip, in 15 knots of wind this can become a wet sport. If this doesn't quench your thirst, check out Hobie's ‘Adventure Island' trimaran.
The turning circle on the Adventure is quite good for such a long kayak, either using the rudder or the paddle. If you want to just go for a paddle you are best to remove the Mirage Drive and insert the plug that fills the void of the Drive System. I found it best to paddle without using the rudder, otherwise you have to stop paddling to trim the rudder control. The Adventure tracks quite well when paddling without the rudder. The Mirage Drive can be stowed in the front hatch while on paddling trips, just in case the arms cease up!
The stability of a kayak is determined by not just the width of the craft. Factors such as height of the seat, hull shape (rocker & chines), hull displacement, weight that you load into it and the height of your own centre of gravity are all important. I'd rate the Adventure as very stable but a really big guy, with lets say average balance, would need to test one first to ensure they were comfortable to not only paddle/pedal it, but also fish from it.
The Hobie Adventure is not your average sit-on top kayak. The Hobie's are exceptional in both quality & fit out. Not only can you paddle these yaks but you also get to pedal, sail and of course fish. The Mirage Drive utilizes the large muscle groups of the legs and provides an alternate means of propulsion that is both effective and easy for anyone to do. The Mirage is quiet, dry (no drips from the paddle) and leaves you hands free for fishing, or anything else you'd like to do while out on the water.
If you are thinking of fishing from a kayak the Hobie Adventure should be given some serious consideration.
Want One!!The standard Hobie Mirage Adventure retails for $2490.
This review was conducted by Craig McSween, Level 2 Sea Kayak Instructor with Australian Canoeing. For feedback on this review you can contact me at Adventure Outlet (Kayaking & Outdoor Store) in Southport on (07)55712929 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Watch for more kayak reviews in next month's edition.