...They question the "further and faster" claim about Hobies and the mirage drive. ... I harbor the belief that a good sea kayak paddler can actually go faster and further than an Adventure-mode pedaler...
I have to agree. But I think if the Mirage drive system would be put into a true lightweight, and sleek kayak, it would probably come out on top.
Most people kayaking a good sea kayak, aren't paddling heavy, wide flat bottomed boats like the Adventure. The mirage drive is great in the wind because you never pull your drive out of the water (unlike a paddle which comes out regularly) but in calm water, I find that paddling a good kayak is probably faster.
In my experience, the biggest benefit to the mirage drive is the lack of skill involved in using it. Good paddlers are fast only when they are able to maintain good form. Mirage drive users never lose their form.
Finally, I think the Mirage drive system has good torque, over horsepower. It can pull heavy weight very well. A paddler (in a sleek kayak) produces more horsepower than torque, better at maintaining high speed easily, but tougher to get heavy weight moving.
Just my two cents.