Since 1950, the Hobie Cat Company has been building innovative watercraft that have helped many of us access both sun and fun. For 2011, the company has announced two new kayaks that, while not breakthrough innovations like the Hobie Cat, continue the trend of providing easy access to the water.
The first of these new models is the Hobie Odyssey, a 14' tandem kayak. The hull shape is designed to accommodate two paddlers, but it can also be operated by one person sitting in the molded center seat. That center seat could also be used to tote along a non-paddling family member or buddy (human or otherwise).
At 69 pounds, the Odyssey would be an easy carry for two adults. And the 540 pound carrying capacity can also handle a lot of fishing gear—as well as the eventual catch. $849 will get you a base model, or for $1199 you can step up to the deluxe package (which includes seatbacks, two-piece paddles, extra storage options, water bottle, and gear bucket).
The second new tandem is part of Hobie’s line of Pedal Kayaks. Using their patented MirageDrive, the new 14'6" Mirage Oasis offers paddlers the option of pedaling instead. Two sets of fins stick down under the kayak (a pair under each paddler); when the pedals are pushed the fins flip back and forth, much like penguin wings. Using feet for propulsion frees up hands for photography, fishing, birdwatching, lunch—and steering. The rudder is moved via dual control fingertip steering handles, which are accessible from either seat. A single user can paddle or pedal from the rear seat.
The Oasis can also be sailed by adding the optional sail package. And of course traditional paddling can be used either in conjunction with or instead of the pedals. While the MirageDrive adds almost 7 pounds to the all up weight of the Oasis, it also doubles the propulsion options which could be a great help once arms start to fatigue from paddling.
At 75 pounds, the Oasis will be a manageable carry for two people, and its 550-pound carrying capacity leaves plenty of room for fishing gear or a well-stocked cooler. Recommended retail price is $2699.
All Hobie Kayaks are made of recyclable polyethylene and built in the USA. Hobie pushes the “no gas” green element of self-propulsion, and these new Tandems could be either a fun addition to a larger boat or a great way to access the water off beach or dock.
For more information, visit the Hobie Cat website.