Hobie Kayaks....


As you’ll surely figure out, IANAK (I am not a kayaker…)

I run a small sailboat shop in Portland, Oregon, and am looking for community feelings about the Hobie Kayak line.

In the sailing world, there are boats that we dare not speak of, and yet the general public doesn’t care and uses tons of 'em.

What is the vibe about Hobie Kayaks, (I did a forum search and came up dry).

Good stuff, not good stuff. Laughing stock of kayaking, etc etc.

Curious for all the wrong reasons…


Sigh … another sailing shop gone dark
You might call Hobie and listen to what they have to say. Then Cobra, O.C. , W.S etc…

Then try out some of the boats and see what YOU think. All have their followings and all have good and bad points.

For what its worth, the original Hobie ( Kayak) was designed by a guy I used to work for and he is an avid sailer / racer. Probably why the boats are a little more rounded.

just trying to make sure it isn’t the worst kept secret in paddling.

In my case, it’s hobie or nothing, to be honest. There are piles of kayak shops in town, and I simply have the opportunity to pick up hobie if I find it worthwhile.

certainly, ever boat, like any other boat, has different tradeoffs, I know that.

If the boat has a decent rep (it’s hard to deduce from google, hence I’m posting here) then I’ll certainly evaluate it fully, just want to know whether to take that step with Hobie Kayaks at all.

I don’t know of many Hobie paddlers here
You may have better luck at http://www.sit-on-topkayaking.com/index.html

Fair winds and following seas

My first kayak was Hobie Odyssey
It’s a 14’ sit on top Tandem, I still think it’s probably the best SOT tandem. I still keep around to take guests paddling out on the ocean. The Heritage tandem may be better but they are not marketed very well and very hard to get a hold off. The Hobie boats are very well made, comfortable, and the Odyssey paddled fast for a sit on top tandem. Hobie boats are popular here in Southern California but of course there is probably some local influence here. You see lots of Hobies fishing off of Lajolla and paddling Mission Bay and San Diego Bay.

Hobie thoughts…

They are an open boat (sit on top) I don’t know how they would do in colder water but they do sell their share in Florida. They have a peddle drive system that would make a purist cringe but work well for the fisherman and the total workout bunch. They are a quality product and they have a loyal following.

Think catamarans… not real sailboats but they sure sold a lot of them…

my drop in the ocean of opinion
I once saw a fat slob on a hobbie with pedal drive system, cigarette in one hand and a beer in another…he flew by some triathletes in composite sea kayaks. It reminded me of rebumbent bicycles not being allowed to race with traditional bicycles…anyway something to think about…no why I paddle:

excercise- i’m a hiker/backpacker and do little hikes weekly, so i paddle to get upper arm, i guess you could also paddle and use the pedeal drive system, but to me it seems the hobie’s draw is the pedal drive and that leads to mostly leg work, great if you want to hold a fishing pole in your hands (or a beer and cigarette)

Greenland skills- cant really explain it, at first it was the challenge of rolling, got a roll down and then wanted another one and another one, dont have that many but want to be able to roll fom any position and in any situation…maybe you can roll a hobie? but what is the point…

gliding- its a childish glee thing I get in kayaks, paddle stroke and glide. I guess you could push the pedal and glide but if i’m pushing the pedal it will probably be on a mountain bike.

Hobie makes good stuff, sailed their cats growing up too, then discovered windsurfing/board sailing and never looked at a sailboat again.

Hobie Kayaks
My wife and I owned two Hobie Mirage Sport boats as our first kayaks.

For casual sight seeing, manatee petting, fishing, etc, I can’t imagine a better setup.

Very stable, almost effortless to cruise at 3-3.5 mph. 4 mph is easily doable, and you CAN get it up to 5 with a LOT of effort.

On one paddle, we had a guy in a racing style kayak blow by us, towing a canoe with his wife and child in it. This gave us some perspective on the speed of the short (9’6") Sport kayaks.

Hobie now has a 16’ kayak with the Mirage pedal drive system which should be faster.

I’ll say that the Mirage drive is by FAR the most efficient pedal drive system I’ve ever tried, compared to the Nauticraft pedal/toothed belt/propellor system and rental-type pedal/paddleboats.

If your willing to keep the pace down to a speed that’s comfortable for you, you could go a VERY long distance with the Mirage drive and not wear yourself out at all.

As to quality, we had one rudder break ,which was (grudgingly) covered under warranty.

No other problems with the kayaks.

In our area of Florida, the chief hurdle Hobie has to overcome is the less than sparkling personality of their principal dealer.

We also owned two of their catamarans (Wave and 17 Sport) before going to monohull sailboats.

We have “evolved” to sit-inside kayaks ( wife really didn’t like rigging the sailboats) and don’t sail any more


Hobie Mirage Adventurer
Is a new boat by Hobie. 16’ touring SOT.

I’ve never been a fan of Hobie kayaks, however, this new boat looks great. Pleanty of storage, good hatches, and the peddle system. Comes with a paddle and seat. This thing looks like it would be faster than any other kayak – if one were to paddle and peddle at the same time.

Hobie Kayaks Hobie Problems

– Last Updated: Feb-10-06 2:13 PM EST –

Go here

(Link shown here was incorrect.....)

It's a forum on Hobie's homepage. Read post after post after post about problems with hull cracks, leakage, and problems with the peddling systems.

They do seem to be standing behind their products and they are honest enough to "air their dirty laundry," but still, there seem to be a ton of problems with the peddle kayaks.

(edit... the link above is not the one I intended to sent. See the proper link a few post below )

Peddle Kayaks Small Proportion

– Last Updated: Feb-10-06 1:30 PM EST –

I have only seen one of the peddle kayaks on the water.

The normal paddled Hobie models are used by rental stores around here in high volume. Check with the outfits on Avenida De La Playa in Lajolla and Carlsbad Paddlsports in Oceanside about reliability. My Hobie is stored out of doors protected from UV light, by heavy duty UV proof tarps; it's probably about 7 years old now and is still in really good shape, no problems at all. I know three other people who own Oddysey Tandems and they all love their boats. They are all rec paddlers who fish or like to paddle on the bays.

The link provided by Jeffh139 above is just a FAQ page which shows Hobie is interested in customer service. I don't think it says anything about the quality of the boats. If you want to hear about customer service complaints ask people about Wilderness Systems boats ... you will get an earfull.

Corrected link to Hobie Problems

– Last Updated: Feb-10-06 3:07 PM EST –


The first link I gave was a FAQ link. This one addresses most of their problems.

Also, I'm not suggesting that Hobie makes a bad product. It just seems that their peddle kayaks are still " a product in the works."

Went for a test drive yesterday.
A week ago i had seen a Hobie Mirage Adventure at C.C.K. (California canoe & kayak). The Adventure is Hobie’s touring SOT with the pedal drive system. It’s 16’ and 27" wide.

I had never seen this boat before. It looked good. Let me say that I’m not a big fan of Hobies. But this boat had/has plenty of storage: 3 large hatches and a well, plus cup and rod holders. So i had to take it for a drive, wanted to see if i could pedal and paddle it at the same time.

Results: The pedal system works good. It’s fast, medium stability, turns well with the rudder system. However, without the rudder engaged it is very squirally – had to constanly use corrective paddle strokes. Conclusion: it’s a little dificult to pedal and paddle at the same time. Can be done though with the rudder engaed. The boat is heavy 67lbs (their specs), and pricey for a SOT. Overall it would be a great boat for calm lakes and rivers, but i personally wouldn’t want be out in the rough stuff with it.

good info, thanks everyone :slight_smile:
You guys cam through big time for me. I appreciate all your help.

I’m going to move ahead with the Hobie evalution then, I don’t know enough to know better, and this has encouraged me to learn more :slight_smile:



Get the Hobies! from a serious paddler
Curious George, I do not work for Hobie, but many of you will think I do by the time you are done reading this.

I am a rep for a major sailboat company. The boats I sell are not the boats I race. However, they are great-selling boats because they are designed to appeal to the masses.

I paddle kayaks very hard and have won a couple races. The kayaks I choose to paddle are not the kayaks I would choose to sell if I ran a shop. I would choose kayaks that appeal to the masses. Unfortunately the short rotomolded entry-level kayak can be purchased in too many places and the margins are too low. Those cheap plastic boats are now just a commodity. So I would look for an entry-level kayak that is unique. The Hobies fit the bill. Their margins are quite good too.

Many of my sailboat dealers carry Hobie kayaks and their rotomo-molded beach cats. The Hobie pedal kayaks sell like candy. Some of my dealers sell out every year. Next year they double their order and sell out again. Those pedal kayaks are easy money because: Hobie’s marketing is reallly strong, Hobie’s name is really strong, the pedal kayaks are unique - nothing competes against them, the pedal kayaks are great for fishing because your hands are free to cast. Same benefit can be used to sell to photographers, birdwatchers or nosepickers!

The fishing market is easy. Hobie makes models specifically for fishing. They have rod holders, fish wells, beer holders, and camo color schemes. They even have one in safety orange in case you are going hunting with Dick Cheney! Take a couple of these to your local sportsmen show and you will sell a bunch right there at show and many later as spring gets closer. I know a dealer who just did about 10 Hobie kayaks and 3 of their roto-cats between two small local boatshows.

By the way, Hobie has a video of Greg Barton and Oscar Chalupsky in a tandem kayak getting pulled backwards by a guy in a pedal kayak. Not sure if this was a set-up, but it is great marketing! They are about to come out with a longer narrower model with more powerful fins. It really is a very effective way of propelling a boat. I hate to admit it as much as the next paddler on this site, but they have something really good.

The Hobies are a great line for a sailboat shop. Its not just the Hobie name, but other demographic reasons its a good fit. I say you are lucky if Hobie wants you to take on their line. If you can get them you should.

I would be happy to discuss in more detail if you want to email me. Also curious about which sailboats you sell.

Don’t know if I’d want to go hunting
with Dick Cheney. But that’s a whole 'nother thread.

My 2 cents again: Hobies are great for flat water, and the pedal drive works great. But they are heavy, pricey (for a SOT), and probably not good for rough water. The hulls are flat and the center of gravity is high.

Hobie Mirage Sport
As I posted above, my wife and I owned two of these for a couple of years.

They were stored in an enclosed cargo trailer, and (usually) hosed off when we brought them home.

They were used exclusively on salt water.

As for the stability, I would have to say that the only way you are going to capsize on of these 28" wide boats is on purpose! They are THAT stable!

On rough water, you will get wet from spray over the bow, and the flat bottom hull does “spank” the water.

With the extra width, and sitting as high off the water as you do on one of these, paddling is just a shallow water option, not their forte.

Other than the one broken rudder, we never had any other sort of problem with either kayak.

One of my co-workers bought them from me, and between himself and the grand kids, have them out several times a week with no problems to report.

They are NOT something a rabid SINK boater would love, but for the unique gadget folks, they are GREAT!


My 2 cents
I looked at hobie kayaks when i was thinking of sots. but the price was to high for me. they looked like decents kayaks. but there are lots of good sots around for much less money.

got my hobie out of the mangroves
after it had been blown in after hurricane georges in '98. they are tough, hold up great, and the pedal system still worked after being stuck in the mud and goo for a year. a dry ride in chop and fast for a sot pedaled or paddled. it’s one hell of a piece of plastic to survive that kind of abuse, and that was an older mirage model. a little pricey full retail but should last forever; and no, I don’t work for Hobie.