I bought a new Outback in 2007, and shortly after an Outfitter for when the wife wants to tag along. She is afraid of the water but feels very comfortable in the Outfitter because of its stability. The mirage drive and rudder eliminate the usual tandem conflicts and make for an enjoyable day.
I do a lot of fishing and photography in my Outback, and have accumulated a lot of accessories, including the live well and depth finder / fish locator, and most recently a GoPro HD video camera mounted to the bow. The inside has always been dry as a bone and I have had high confidence when placing my DSLR through the hatch by the seat.
I took it out just above Salmon Falls Bridge (divides the American River from Folsom Lake) with some buddies who wanted to paddle upstream. One of them was going to try and paddle into the first set of rapids and I wanted to memorialize it on film.
About 100 yards from launch I opened the hatch to get my DSLR out and there was 1/2" to 3/4" of water inside. I had the camera in a dry bag so no harm done but the water concerned me. I figured I had left the drain open and peddled on. A few miles upriver a buddy checked the drain plug and it was in place. I took the pictures and we returned to our launch point. The last 1/4 mile the Outback was actually starting to list if I leaned. When I landed one of my buddies tried to pull me further onto the ramp, but couldn't because there was so much water in the hull. We opened the rear hatch and opened the drain valve and emptied a good 5-10 gallons of water back into the river.
When I got home, before I took it off my kayak trailer I put some water into the hull and almost immediately saw water running out from where the peddles install. I took the peddles out and could see a 3/4" crack on the vertical surface in the peddle well closest to the seat. The peddle frame sits just below it. It is not a spot exposed either to damage from outside or inside, probably one of the most sheltered spots on the boat. I would have bet one of the strongest but apparently not.
I am posting here hoping to find a remedy from Hobie. I bought my Hobbies largely based on their reputation for customer service and superior product. I have my fingers crossed and am hoping to see a reply from a Hobie rep here.
I have several domains, one is kayak related (Mystic Kayak where these pictures are hosted) and documents trips my buddies and I take to Northern California lakes.. You can see both the crack and the serial number in the attached pictures. I had to adjust the color hue to make the serial number visible.