Solo pedal kayaks
One of the most commonly asked questions about the Hobie Mirage pedal kayaks is 'what's the lightest?'. That would be the Sport, which is a great kayak for those who are short and light enough to fit it (max carrying capacity 102kg) and aren't intending to break any speed or distance records, or use it in demanding kayaking scenarios.
That said, for it's size, the Sport is incredibly capable of putting in the miles on flat water. In rivers, lakes, protected bays and estuaries, the Sport performs surprisingly well. Thanks to it's mere 9' length, it also turns on a dime. But it is not a great performer in choppy water, so it's not really a great choice for fishing in the open ocean or on any waters in rough conditions. Stability is not the issue (far from it) but more so it's ability to traverse choppy water efficiently. It's just not long or hydrodynamic enough to cut the mustard when the going gets rough.
The Outback is the natural step-up from the Sport, very similar in shape and design, only longer, larger & heavier and has a lot more storage options. This kayak is very popular among fishos and it's easy to see why. A lot of people are attracted to the Outback for it's fantastic stability, which makes sense. It also has plenty of utility space for installation of everything from rod holders to electronics and blessed with an abundance of room and weight carrying capacity, the Outback is well suited to larger users. This kayak is most at home in flat water conditions, but is fine for fishing out just beyond the breakers or around headlands on good weather days.
Whilst the Outback is certainly capable of reaching higher speeds than the sport - and admiral speeds by any fishing kayak's standards - it isn't as fast or as hydrodynamic as the Revolution and Adventure models. So it's not the best choice for fishing out wide - especially in windier conditions. Because it has a lot of freeboard, it is also more likely to be pushed around by higher winds and it would require more effort to paddle & pedal longer distances. Due to it's hull shape, the Outback (Outfitter & Sport included) will bounce over chop and generate 'hull-slap' as the bow crashes over the waves. And while the Outback sure pedals nicely it's not a great paddling kayak - the included paddle is really more for back up, not at all for primary propulsion.
While the Outback is a great fishing platform for those it best suits, the Revolution models have now overtaken the Outback in terms of popularity, so without further ado, lets discuss Hobie's newest pedal-powered kayak, the Revolution 11.
The Revolution 11 (or Revo 11 for short) is an 11' rendition of the larger Revo 13. Pretty much identical to the Quest 11 in dimensions, the Revo 11 offers everything it's 13' counterpart does, only in a smaller tighter package. Where it shines over the 13' model is in maneuverability - it truly is a nimble little kayak. Perhaps even more impressive than that, however, is it's ability to get moving. Short kayaks aren't usually known for being efficient at traversing water, but the Revo 11 challenges that assertion. While not quite as quick as the Revo 13, the 11 is surprisingly quick. Its also equally stable. Fortunately, the cockpit length isn't a lot shorter than the 13, so it still seems to be quite OK for taller users as well.
The Revo 11 has swiftly established itself as one of the best-sellers in the range, and for good reason. At a mere 11' its relatively short, at 25kg it's hull is relatively light, and with a nicely pointed bow shape, pierces water like a boss. It pedals well, paddles well, and turns superbly. Due to its ease of management on and off the water, as well as it's high degree of mobility and maneuverability, the Revo 11 has already found a lot of fans in backwater bass fishos and no doubt will start showing up in kayak fishing tournaments around the world.
The Revolution 13 was originally modeled upon the success of the Quest and is considered to be Hobie's hybrid Miragedrive kayak. To put it in a nutshell, the Revo is smooth, fast, stable, relatively lightweight, nicely maneuverable and well suited for a myriad of kayaking applications, including fishing off shore. It's also a great performer on creeks, rivers & estuaries. Featuring a suitably hydrodynamic bow shape, it also pierces waves more so than bounces over them, making for a smoother ride (than something like an outback or Sport) when the water gets a bit lumpy.
The Revolution is the ideal kayak for anyone who finds themselves torn between the Outback and Adventure, bridging the gap in between nicely. Its faster than the Outback but shorter, lighter and more maneuverable than the Adventure. Although primary stability isn't as solid as the Outback, the Revo's soft round chines give it excellent secondary stability - so potential buyers shouldn't be so quick to choose an Outback over a Revo based upon impressions of stability alone (many do).
Compared with a Revo 11, the 13 won't turn quite as sharply, but it is marginally faster, has a bit more gear and weight carrying capacity as well. While the 11' might be a better choice for skinny water usage, the 13' model is probably a better choice when longer distances, tougher conditions and open ocean are involved. Either way, it's pretty hard to go too far wrong with the Revo models.
It is common for potential buyers to get torn between the Outback and Revolution models, but the Revo is in fact much closer to the Adventure in terms of performance and capability. Capability is the key word when discussing the Adventure kayak, for this is surely Hobie's most capable solo kayak. Due to both it's length and shape the Adventure is the fastest solo kayak in Hobie's fleet and is easily the most suited for use in open water. It's slim lines lend itself to paddling as much as pedaling and with a high degree of hydrodynamics, the Adventure slices through water nicely. It also handles following seas better than the Revo (the sloppier it is the more noticeable the difference). Whilst being slightly narrower in width than the Revo, the Adventure makes up for this with a lower user gravity centre and is thus quite stable and particularly so on the secondary scale.
Although the Adventure isn't quite as maneuverable as any of the other solo kayaks, don't be fooled into thinking it cannot be used in rivers and creeks because of it. The Adventure is not just a sea-kayak only and it can be turned easily - more so if the rudder is upgraded with a sailing rudder (highly recommended for almost any Hobie mirage kayak).
If you're looking at Hobie kayaks and are tossing up between an Adventure or Revolution, ask yourself if you can ever see yourself doing any kayak sailing. Because if the idea does grab you, bear in mind that the Adventure can be turned into an Adventure Island down the track (using an AI upgrade kit) and sailing one of these is a quantum leap forward from using a standard Hobie kayak sailkit. The potential upgrade path for the Adventure is higher. Because it is so capable and versatile, the Adventure truly is an aptly named kayak. If the term 'adventure' captures the experience you're looking for then yes, this very well may be the kayak for you.
Speaking of kayaks that have no equal, Hobie's Pro Angler 14 is a recent addition to the fleet and has clearly been designed for serious anglers. I'm hesitant to refer to this craft as a kayak and instead prefer to call it a fishing platform. This thing has loads of features, many of them highly useful for tournament fishing applications. Indeed - the PA is quickly earning a reputation as the Hobie fishing kayak of choice for tournament use and for several reasons. First and foremost, this craft has storage nailed, in every department. Fish storage, tackle storage, rod storage and gear storage - the PA accommodates it all (it can carry up to pre-rigged 8 rods... 6 of them horizontally) and offers loads if usable deck space, so installation of optional extras is a breeze.
The PA is also incredibly stable and is partly why I like to refer to it as a platform - that stability makes the boat feel like a platform, allowing the user to stand up without fear of tipping it over. It is easily stable enough to stand up and sight cast, which can be both tactically advantageous and also refreshing as well. After all, it's good to be able to stand up and stretch the legs now and then. That's not to say that the seat isn't comfortable though - it's a throne by fishing kayak standards.
Despite it's width and mass, the PA is surprisingly hydrodynamic, with a bow shape not unlike that of an aircraft carrier. For this reason it does push through choppy water surprisingly well and this, coupled with it's stability make it a pretty comfortable ride, even when the water gets a bit sloppy. It does have a lot of freeboard, however, and can be heavily affected by the wind. Because of this, the PA isn't really a good choice for fishing out wide in open ocean. Like the Outback, it is more restricted to calmer days and or shorter distances when fishing at sea.
Perhaps the most obvious downside to the PA is it's bulk and weight. Whilst it isn't impossible to car-top this boat, it isn't exactly easy either. If you absolutely positively have to have a PA, then you might want to think about the newer, lighter and more compact 12' model.
The Pro Angler 12 is much the same thing as its bigger brother and offers similar attributes, though it is 2' shorter and around 5kg lighter. Obviously this makes it a bit easier to manage off the water, from hauling up beaches and boat ramps to car-topping. Make no mistake about it though - the PA12 is still fairly heavy by kayak standards. There are car-topping solutions, however.
Rack & Roll offer what they call an RRLEG heavy-load support bar recommended for usage with their loading systems and Rhino offer a near-identical product that has a support pole included by default (SLH stock both). There are also rear-loading options that work well with Pro Angler models. Below you can watch Scott Lovig demonstrating how to load a Pro Angler using his suction cup car-top loading system.
- Buyers Guide for Hobie Kayaks
- Tandem paddle kayaks
- Solo pedal kayaks
- Tandem pedal kayaks
- Trimaran kayaks
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