I have been looking for a report like this for some time Thanks ,but can anyone tell me what an Adventure is like to Paddle as far as speed goes comparing it with say the average sea kayak. Regards Choke
The keel on a Mirage Drive kayak is rounded, to allow the rudder to be able to turn the boat. If you compare Hobie's similar mirage drive, and paddle kayaks, you'll notice that the similar designs on the top side, differ in that the keel is much more pronounced on the paddle only kayaks.
So the real question about how an Adventure is to paddle, might matter less when you own one. You CAN paddle the Adventure, it does a fine job, but you need to keep the rudder down if you want the directional stability of a typical 16 foot kayak.
Having said that, when you put the turbo fins in, the Adventure turns into a higher performance kayak. I've routinely kept pace with sleek, fiberglass kayaks which are much narrower, and lighter than the Adventure, but you'll need to use the Mirage Drive system to do so.
Basically, if you have a Mirage Drive kayak, you're going to use the pedals 95% of the time. The boat is designed for that. It's not a 50/50 proposition, where you say, maybe today I'll paddle, but tomorrow I'll pedal. The boat's performance is far greater with the pedals in.
You can save a lot of money if you want a kayak that paddles better than an Adventure, but having said that, I vastly prefer the mirage drive to a paddle kayak. Performance, stability, and versatility of the Mirage Drive system, make for a better kayak in my opinion.
Now if you want to spend some time paddling around for fun. The kayak is fine for that, you'll enjoy yourself. You'll just lose speed, and have to concentrate on smooth and accurate paddle strokes to move in a straight line. Paddling form matters on the Adventure because the boat isn't going to correct your incorrect movements. It will rotate just a little with every incorrect paddle movement.
I've paddled a couple of kilometers (just over a mile, maybe a mile and a half) over a lake with lots of reeds. There was just too much vegetation to use the mirage drive, and I was never sure where the lake would become too shallow. It worked fine. But probably the best way to describe it, was that it was like dropping a Volkswagen engine in a Porsche. Works fine, nobody would complain if they had to use it that way, but when you're used to the Porsche, you wonder why anybody would want to drive the VW.
Hope that helps. (sorry it's so wordy)