Submitted: 07-09-2010 by dregsfan
I had long wanted a Hobie Mirage kayak. I've owned four kayaks previously; an 11' rec boat and 3 sea kayaks from 16 to 17 feet in length. When I decided to buy a Mirage, I knew that either the Revolution or Adventure were the models I wanted, as they were the most like a sea kayak.
If finances would have allowed, I would have purchased the $3,400 Adventure Island; the trimaran sailing version of the Adventure. The Outback looked like a nice boat for fishing but at 33" wide is a tank. I wanted something to get me from point A to point B with as little effort as possible. I just so happened to choose an Adventure.
It has a sleeker shape than the Revo and I'm 6'3", so the extra length is useful. I immediately ordered the Hobie sail kit, turbo fins and sailing rudder. These all give any Hobie Mirage boat the ability to fish, pedal, paddle or sail. The Adventure is the best most versatile kayak on the market! I really can't say enough about Hobie's patented Mirage drive system. For the technical details, see Hobie's web site.
With the Mirage drive you use very little effort to get up to and maintain cruising speed. I can only compare it to walking, but you aren't supporting your weight. You can adjust the pitch on the turbo fins, just as an outboard motor would use different pitch props. I had mine about ten turns down from the maximum setting.
I've taken the Adventure out twice so far. On 7 and 10 mile group lake trips. Both groups averaged 2.6 mph on the GPS and it was as easy as a leisurely bike ride around your neighborhood. I had short bursts of over 5 mph, and I think I could have maintained 4 mph on my own.
Storage is adequate, but you should expect that in a 16 foot SOT. The Twist & Stow rudder system looks a little over-complicated compared to a sea kayak rudder, but it seemed to work OK, even with the extra weight of the larger sailing rudder.
The boat is heavy, but no heavier than poly sea kayaks of the same length. My only complaint is the seat. My rear was hurtin’ on the first trip. I added a 3/4" closed-cell foam pad on the bottom cushion the second time out. Problem solved. I still rate it a 10, just because the Mirage drive more than makes up for this shortcoming. I hope to take it out with the Hobie sail kit sometime soon. I'll write up another review of the Adventure as a sailing kayak.