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Submitted: 01-31-2008 by OntarioNeil
I purchased my Hobie Quest in mid-summer '07. In my area my options were really limited, and a demo was not possible so it was a bit of a gamble.
One thing to look at when comparing the Quest to other models is what they come with. There were much less inexpensive yaks out their, but by the time you add all the standard gear that comes with the Quest they are comparable in price, the paddle, seat and hatches are included, and the seat is definitely not a cheapie.
As far as the basics this kayak has you pretty much covered, a top notch quality hull with a flat finish on top and smooth on the bottom, and the following goodies:
I'm 5'11" 215lbs and I find with about 30lbs of gear it sits perfect in the water and paddles nice, it's quick with little paddle effort. It's great in chop under 2' and handles boat wake quite well. I got out about a dozen times and have not tipped yet, however one of the first things I did after purchase was take it into the shallows and played around with it to determine it's limits and proper ways to move around in it to ensure stability. I do find I get about 1" of water in the foot wells, so I do use scupper plugs. The only time I got a wet butt was when I sat side saddle for a while without plugs and some of the water drained into the seat area. I have loaded this kayak with ~340lbs and it still paddled well although it did sit a couple inches lower in the water.
- a big, easy-to-access, water tight front hatch - if you're on the water and you want to access the hatch, you'll have to get used to shimmying forward on the yak with your feet dangling over the side, this is the only way to do it with good stability, it's really simple to open with one hand, no straps to wrestle, just a single bungie.
- 8" water tight round hatch - excellent hatch, easy to access while sitting, holds a hobie dry bag or plastic trays or just gives access to hull storage.
- side pockets with mesh retainers - perfect for pliers, lip grabbers or even a spare bottle of water, and even packs of plastic bait, love these things.
- deluxe seat - the seat is really well padded, some say it's much better than the '06 model seat, however I think the older model was a little taller at the back, if you are approaching 6 feet tall, you might find it a little short. Handy pocket in the back, I keep keys and wallet etc. here, it's not waterproof so I keep my wallet and cell in a ziploc.
- drink holder ...will fit some pretty big beverage containers, or a small container in some sort of individual cooler
- an area for rigging stuff between the legs with a tray - plenty of space here for various mounts, and a tray for a small tackle box. Only thing I find with the mount location, if you don't mount to the front it makes for a long reach.
- rod holders - these are kind of loose and shallow, so just make sure you keep your rod leashed. I haven't had a rod pop out yet, but then again I rarely use them for trolling, more as holders. ok for bigger rods
- foot pedals - easy to adjust, can be adapted to control a rudder, if your under 6 feet you'll probably have a couple recesses in front of the pedals to keep stuff, I often have a bottle of water or a small bait container up their.
- behind seat recessed storage area - this area is huge, my 7 year old can sit back their comfortably. You could easily stash a crate and a couple dry bags back their. Combined with the front storage I'm sure you could carry a weekend's worth of necessity type camping gear.
I bought mine with the Fisherman kit, which came with a few extras;
- a tackle bag with 3 x 8" round tackle boxes - this thing is great, I have a tray setup for each type of fishing that I do. The bag came with a leash so I hook it to a seat strap and keep it in a crate behind the seat, works well.
- a paddle leash - this is the coil retracting type, I find it a bit heavy and the spring is too strong, it adds a fair amount of weight to the paddle feel, I'd prefer something lighter and less bulky, I realize loosing a paddle is not much of an option, but the paddle does float, and I can keep a spare pack paddle in the huge hatch.
- a deluxe buggy with inflatable quick connect wheels - this thing is almost awesome, first thing I do is set the yak on the buggy after I unload it off the car, then I gear up and wheel it down to the water and right into the water, then I just lift up on the back and the buggy drops out, it can then be stored either upside down in the rear scuppers or in the hatch. My only peeve is with trying to get the buggy back under the yak when heading in, for some reason I just can't do the reverse. I usually end up tying everything down, partially unloading then tipping the yak to get the buggy back on. Otherwise this buggy makes for really light effort even over sand and rocks.
Why a 8 out of 10 rating? The boat itself was a little wetter than I anticipated, sure if I was lighter it would probably be fine, but with a 350lb capacity I expected a little drier, not a biggie tho I can use scupper plugs, however if I could have demo'd it first I might have gone with a drier option. The tracking isn't great, I knew that when I bought it, it's not an issue when slow paddling, but if your trying to carry some speed and cover some distance it's a PITA, I will be putting the rudder on soon. The accessories, getting the buggy back on after a day on the water can be a pita, the seat could be a little higher, and the rod leash could be better.
The part I really like about the issues is they can all be corrected and I can make this work, I'll be paddling this for many years to come.
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