Here ya go folks, for all those Hobie yak aficionados out there, pics of the new Outback and some of the great new design features that we have been asking for. Hope the guys at KFS (KayakFishingStuff.com) don't get mad at me, but here are some of Joey's pics of the new Hobie models from the recent show that have yet to appear on Hobie's own Web site. KFS is also a huge mail order dealer for Hobie kayaks, and can deliver to a locale near you for a very reasonable fee (shameless plug from someone not in any way connected to KFS!).
http://kfs.infopop.cc/groupee/forums/a/ ... 5571063061
Anyway, check these out. Here is the new Outback's front hatch that sure will improve storage in that baby. Looks like it will be well-sealed with a nice runoff groove all round to cut down on leakage problems.
Here is Joey's pic of the cockpit on the new Outback. Note the new port-side, non-molded-in handle that will be a big help in heaving it around and in loading. Note also the nice large, round hatch forward of the seat similar to what is currently on the Sport. However, I will miss the bungeed flat storage area for my tackle box ahead of the seat. Seems like that could be an add-on project however for some of us. Looks like there are also two new flush mount rod-holders complete with molded rubber cap to keep water out, in place of the previous molded-in, open rod-holders (only one cover visible in this pic though at lower right). Note also the midships, mesh-covered storage compartment, something that has become standard on some of the other new models like the Adventure (or at least the mesh storage pockets on these are now standard). There is also supposed to be a new Mirage drive with longer flippers, and although the one in this pic looks a little different, I can't really tell if it is a new design or not.
Finally, here is the new rotatable, fold-up rudder assembly. It seems to have a much larger surface area to improve normal handling, but should in addition be a big help when sailing, especially close-hauled. Looks like another really ingenious invention from the Hobie engineers (was this also one of your babies, Greg??).
As a minor critique, the way the swivel portion sticks out from the stern still bothers me, since it looks as if one still can't rest the stern on the ground while loading onto a roof rack loading bar, or possibly even onto my trailer crossbar. The drain plug on the new boats appears to be in nearly the same place on the stern as before, so it still may be difficult to drain the boat without possibly putting the rudder swivel in contact with the ground. You can see the drain plug in this pic at upper left. This having been said, it might be a bit easier to use the drain plug now, because the drain plug is located just below deck level. This means that if you put your boat on its beam ends, and then elevated the bow a foot or two by hand, and twisted it slightly, you just might "encourage" most of the water inside the hull to exit.