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PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2005 3:28 pm 
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Location: Los Angeles, CA
I'm a casual shore/boat fisherman and occassional recreational kayaker, who is strongly considering combining the two hobbies via the purchase of a Mirage drive Hobie. I'm a bit torn between the Outback and Sport model, and am seeking a little friendly advice to help me decide.

At the moment, I'm currently leaning toward the Sport model, as I think I'd prefer the maneuverability of a smaller kayak. I definitely favor the idea of loading a 9'7" 45 lb kayak onto the roof rack of my Chevy Blazer, vs a 12'1" 60 lb model!

I'm a healthy 41 year old male, 6'0" tall, and currently about 225 lb. (Having lost 21 lb in the past two months, I expect to drop another 10-20 soon with the help of more kayaking!) At this size and weight, am I starting to push the upper limits of the Mirage Sport? I expect that 90% of my water time will be spent in the quiet coves/bays of Big Bear Lake, braving the choppy stuff only long enough to travel to adjacent coves. I doubt that I would ever venture into the ocean or any truly rough water, but I do want something that will be a reasonably stable fishing platform in calm water.

My instincts tell me that the larger Outback may be a better choice for someone of my size/weight. Still, I don't want loading my kayak onto my car to be an epic struggle, particularly since I will frequently be doing it alone.

Opinions?

Thanks,
-Larry


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2005 1:25 pm 
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Location: Tallahassee, FL
Larry,
You have hit on the classic question--size and weight of the Sport vs. the relative "roominess" of the Outback. Since I now have both the Outback and Sport (having bought my wife the Sport just last weekend for her birthday), I can give you somewhat of an educated opinion (I have to confess that I had her Sport out twice on the 4th fishing, and she has yet to use it--mybad!)

Anyway, my general conclusion is that if you are over 6 feet and weigh much more than about 200 lbs, you had best go with the Outback. I am about 5'11", weight about 175, inseam length of 30", and I had to adjust the throw of the Mirage Drive to its max forward postion in the Sport, whereas in the Outback I only needed to put it at one notch ahead of the center position (7 adjustment positions total). In the Outback my weight and gear put the boat right on its sponsons, but in the Sport with about 25 lbs less gear (since my crate would not fit), I had about 3 inches of water above the sponsons and thus much less freeboard (i.e., a wetter ride) than in the Outback. That, of course, will be a problem for those of us who like to lug a lot of gear--you really do not have enough room behind the seat in the Sport for both an ice chest AND a full-sized Wal-Mart type crate. Also there is no handy-dandy "tray" (with bungee) just ahead of the seat in the Sport for your tackle box--I had to stick mine in my ice chest.

You have to remember that Hobie had to knock 11 inches off the bow, 14 inches off the stern, and reduce the cockpit length by 5 inches in order to get that great reduced size and weight of the Sport. However, I actually felt like I was in more of a child's boat (which was one of the motivating factors in designing the Sport in the first place!) than in a regular kayak. The new owner of my local dealership, the Wilderness Way here in TallyTown, told me just last weekend that she had a guy come in who had just purchased a new Sport, and was back inside of a week wanting to swap up for an Outback because the Sport was just too small for him. She was able to accommodate him and she now has an almost-new Sport for a great price! Nuff said...

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2005 3:44 pm 
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Hey, thanks so much for the detailed, thoughtful reply. I was hoping that somebody here had both boats, and could make a truly informed comparison. Although your advice is not what I wanted to hear, it confirms what I really expected all along. It sounds like your size/weight is enough to max out the Sport, and I've got around 50 lbs on you...I'd better opt for the Outback.

I'm kind of a minimalist fisherman and don't expect to carry a whole lot of gear, but I've also never fished from a kayak and therefore don't yet have a good idea of what I'll need/want in the way of tackle and equipment. It's better to keep my options open with the bigger, more capable boat.

Apart from the additional expense (no big deal, really) the downsides of the Outback for me are the storage space and car loading/unloading aspects of a bigger kayak. I suppose I can come to terms with both. Having never put anything heavier than snow skis on my roof rack, I really have no idea how difficult loading one of these things onto an SUV is. I suspect I can manage it though.


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 Post subject: The Wilderness Way
PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2005 4:06 pm 
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Location: Tallahassee, Florida
I am from Tallahassee as well and purchased the Outback just about a month ago from Andy at the Wilderness Way. It really is a great dealership and I heard their trips are great. I should be going on one soon


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2005 9:47 pm 
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Location: Sandy Eggo
BLL... I own an Outback and haul it around on top of a Ford Expedition. I always load and unload it by myself. The key to managing that feat is the Yakima rack system I use that has what they call "Hully Rollers" mounted on the rear cross bar. (Thule and others may have similar products.) With the bow of the kayak situated about six feet behind the truck and at the vehicle's centerline, I just lift the stern of the kayak up on to the rear of the roof. Next I pick up the bow of the kayak and push. It rolls right up there onto the forward saddles that are mounted on the forward bar. I considered making the task easier by filling the hull with party balloon helium but I'm concerned the gas escaping around the hatch gaskets would be annoying if not downright embarassing. :wink:


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 Post subject: good advice!
PostPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2005 8:58 am 
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BLL:

Apalach was spot on with the advice on sport vs outback. We have one of both and would confirm that the sport is simply too small for bigger people.

Also having one of both to compare loading, the sport is easier but not enough to be the tipping point in a purchase decision. Adding a second carry handle as per the modifications discussed here has greatly improved my ability to lift and invert the boat over my head. Of course I empty storage areas and strip the boat of drive and seat before I put it up on top. At 5'11" I can put the boat on the rack on our F250 4x4, but not an inch more!

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2005 10:48 am 
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Noalias and Keith, thanks for the additional info, it's a big help. I'm now convinced I'll be able to load with little trouble, so I went ahead and ordered an Outback. While I'm waiting for it, I'll hunt down some sort of carrier system that will work well with my Chevy factory rack. Most of the stuff out there seems to be specific to one or the other aftermarket system.

I like the helium idea. Hydrogen might work even better, but oh...the humanities!


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 09, 2005 7:03 pm 
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Hey BLL,
I had the same problem with the Outback weight. Eventually solved it by putting together a kayak trailer that works well for both my Hobies. However, another solution that I really like is the side loader, originally by Talon, but now also offered by Thule. Thule calls theirs the Hullavator. Check it out.

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Thule model:

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 Post subject: Re: The Wilderness Way
PostPosted: Sat Jul 09, 2005 7:20 pm 
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5kfull wrote:
I am from Tallahassee as well and purchased the Outback just about a month ago from Andy at the Wilderness Way. It really is a great dealership and I heard their trips are great. I should be going on one soon


Hey 5k,
Great to hear from another Tally Outbacker and welcome to the Forum! I bought both my Hobies from Andy at the Wilderness Way as well. As a former commercial grouper fisherman and sailing instructor (!), Andy was able to answer pretty much all my Hobie-type questions. My wife and I both had signed on to their 9 mile Wacissa float trip scheduled for today, but Dennis and some prior commitments caused us to have to bow out.

The Wacissa would complete the big three N. Florida Big Bend kayak float trips for me, since I have already done the Wakulla and the St. Marks with Wilderness Way, Andy, and Turtle Bob before. Really outstanding trips and highly recommended--don't miss them! Not many places left where you can do a near-wilderness kayak/canoe trip almost from your back doorstep...

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2005 8:10 am 
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Location: Farmington, CT
BLL:
The advice on the OB versus Sport is right on. My little lady and I got a Sport and an OB a month ago. Glad we were able to try them first. Sport too small for my220# and the OB too big for her 105# (tippy ride).

As for loading...we use the Yakima rack with pads on a Toyota 4runner. After the first two outings, I got the Yakima loading bar (forgot what Yakima calls it). It is a bar that slides into one end of the rack...pull it out for loading. Simply put one end of the yak on the Bar (stern end because of the rudder) and then lift up the bow and place it on the rack. Go to the stern and move that end over. Slide the OB or Sport to where you want it on the racks (topside down). This is very easy and one person can handle it.

By the way...I just caught my first striped bass from the Yak...Long island sound. Also, lost my second...straightened out the hook. A great way to fish.


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 Post subject: Get the Outback
PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2005 4:48 pm 
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Location: High Point, NC
A 12' kayak is not a big or long boat. Not really. You'd be surprised at how nible it is and on the waters you mention, a 12 footer just gives you so much more room, so much more weight capacity and better tracking.

I've heard people talk about how you have to weigh a certain amount or the Outback will be "tippy." This doesn't really hold water (no pun intended) as the hull design and boat width determine if it's "tippy" or not. Yes if you're very light the boat will ride higher and might feel "tippier" but it's not actually going to be as easy to tip as the smaller boat riding lower in the water.

The more weight you put in any boat, the less freeboard you're going to have. The Outback will float a little higher for the same payload as the Sport so you'll have more freeboard, run a little faster and draw a little less water. I would think anybody over about 150lbs would be better off with the Outback.

I know many people love their Sport models, but if I were you, I'd go ahead and get the Outback and just figure out a way of loading it that makes that part of the process easier on you. Roller wheels, side load, etc., But get the boat that will serve you best. You'll spend more time kayaking than you will loading and unloading.


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 Post subject: Re: Get the Outback
PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2005 8:25 pm 
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Tom Kirkman wrote:
but if I were you, I'd go ahead and get the Outback and just figure out a way of loading it that makes that part of the process easier on you. Roller wheels, side load, etc., But get the boat that will serve you best. You'll spend more time kayaking than you will loading and unloading.

I've already done just that...my Outback arrived last week, and I'll be hauling it up to my Big Bear Lake cabin Friday night. I'm greatly looking forward to trying the Hobie out, it sure is nicer than the Keowee I've been paddling around. It's a lot of money for a kayak, but hey...you only live once. I greatly appreciate the advice of everybody on the forum, and I'm sure I've made the right choice.

Forecast is for 22mph winds this weekend, so it may be a little too windy to try out the sailkit. On the other hand....I could just wear my swimsuit, in case I get dumped. :-)


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2005 5:41 am 
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If you haven't been in the boat, yet, you'll find that at first it seems a little tippy. The initial stability isn't very good - but's not a bad thing. The secondary stability is great! As you lean the boat you'll find it sort of "locks up" and would be quite difficult to flip (you can do it, but you'll really have to lean hard and wide).

I've seen people mention the lack of initial stability of the Outback as if it's a bad thing. Actually, it's not. Boats that are terribly stable tend to try and conform to the water's surface. So any swells, wakes or waves make them tip and lean as they try to remain flat on the water's surface. They're also hard to lean into a turn. But a boat like the Outback that has that initiall tippiness, won't be bothered nearly as much by waves, swells, etc., and can be leaned hard into a turn, enabling you to carve a sharper radius. Combine that lean with the rudder and you'll be amazed at how sharply and surely you can turn your Outback.

..........


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2005 6:46 pm 
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BTW, a hearty welcome to all the new folks on the Forum. Pretty well covers the waterfront from my home town of LA (e.g., Big Bear Lake--know it well) to my current abode in Tallahassee! Great to see all you guys and your most interesting posts.
Dick

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 27, 2010 3:35 am 
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What a great discussion forum.....Hello from a soon to be Hobie customer from Melbourne, Aus. I'm 5'7" and 155 pounds, so is the OB the answer or the Sport. My fishing will be fresh, still water lakes and salt water estuaries so seldom ever open sea. I am torn between the seemingly convenient size of the sport compared to the size advantages of the Outback. In Melbourne, the price difference is $200 in favour of the sport, so not an issue. My SUV's roof racks will house either. Help!!


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