i am interested in purchasing 2 hobie outbacks for open water use. i have used an outback for a demonstration test drive in flat water and found it to be great fun and stable. i am wondering how suitable and safe they are for rougher water, chop and wind. in other words, are they as safe as a traditional sit in ocean kayak?
Safe? Depends on your definition of safe. I've pedaled my Outback across Mobile Bay at the opening where current runs swift and waves are always confused. Most experienced kayakers are reluctant to do the crossing in their regular sit-in kayaks. In the summer, I find surfing in the Outback is a great change of pace. Oh yes, you can get out in the waves, pedal like a maniac, and end up doing 8-10 mph riding down waves. The short length and the responsive rudder of the Outback makes wave riding much more comfortable and in my opinion, safer than in a regular kayak.
I've been in choppy water with kayakers who have to put on their spray skirt to avoid getting soaked, and there I am in the Hobie, sitting high and dry. You'll learn you can lean the Outback certain ways to limit waves splashing on you. But you know what? In the heat of summer, once you get a taste of it, you'll be looking for those rough sea conditions just so you can go out and get soaked in some great riding choppy waves. It is a blast!