I really haven't taken a kayak through the surf to the ocean but would like to do more of that. We get a lot of nice fish here within kayak range of the beach and I want to do more of it. I wonder how the outback would do getting off and on the beach compared to the Revo.
I am the Organizer for the Kayak Fishing Club of the Palm Beaches and I use the Hobie Outback for most of my fishing and I go out in the Atlantic Ocean. I studied the Hobie Mirage Drive kayaks and decided that I wanted the Revolution a number of years ago and started to save up to buy one when a good and pretty new used Outback appeared for sale at a good price, so I got the late 2006 model Outback. I learned it's idiosyncrasies and really liked it for fishing and after using it for a number of years, in March of 2012, I traded it in for the new 2012 Outback. I believe that both the Outback and the Revolution would have the same problems going in and out of the surf, but the Revolution, being longer and thinner, may handle more like my older model Outback.
The problem with the Outback is the front vertical part of the bow. It is just the opposite of how a surf board works and that vertical part digs into the water and can make coming in through the surf really hazardous unless you can get a lot of weight back in the kayak so that the bow is lifted high off the water. If you are not EXACTLY
straight on while going out
through the surf it will turn you and, as I and others have found out, can flip you over. I did not have the problem as much in the older hull design, but the new one is much more problematic.
The older model was a bit 'tippy' but had great secondary stability. I could not turn around to see behind me though (I have some arthritis) and the new one is much more stable and I can turn my body and even stand up in it and do things I could not do in the older one. The new hull design is flatter on the water than the old one and that presents new challenges. First, it is so much less 'tippy' with the sides now coming down all the way to the water (the old one has a round bottom all the way front to back and the sides did not touch the water until it tipped a bit (and I weighed 190). In the new one, there is almost no sideways resistance except at the rudder and 12 feet forward, at the vertical part of the bow and that creates a new set of problems, including the inability to run any distance "hands free". I could not understand people who complained that their Outbacks were not hands free (you have to keep your left hand on the steering all the time or you are zig-zaging all over the place) until I got my 2012 model. Now I know. I got the big rudder and it helps some, but tracking is still not very good (understatement). I am trying to invent and make something to help with that now (anybody got a good band saw in my area?). This also makes the new Outback more 'touchy' (and even dangerous) in the surf than the older model, plus it's turning radius is about double that of the older one.
So I can compare the newer Outbacks with the older models and can tell you that there are a lot of things I do not
like about the newer models. Bear in mind that there is no such thing as a perfect kayak; they all have good and bad so you have to discover the trade-offs to see what you really want. I am determined to get my 2012 Outback in condition to like it as much as I liked the older model and am working on it. The Outback is not a fast kayak, but it is still really good for fishing.