A unique pedal powered kayak from hobie
After years of perfecting my skills at fishing from a kayak, I've taken up photography, inspired by the wonderful wildlife and scenery I come across as I'm paddling along the rivers.
Luckily, one of my best friends is a photographer and he's promised to teach me the tricks of the trade if I'll instruct him in the art of kayak fishing. Consequently, I decided that a twin-seater tandem kayak suited us perfectly and opted for the Hobie Mirage Oasis.
A pedal kayak bypasses the awkwardness of using paddles. For two people to successfully propel a kayak with paddles, they need plenty of practice for their strokes to become synchronised and with our busy schedules, we just didn't have enough time.
Another great advantage of a pedal kayak is that when moving between locations, your hands are free to take photographs, or keep an eye open for those fish. Without the Hobie Mirage, I don't think our joint project would ever have got started.
As an experienced kayak fisherman, I wanted to spend my money wisely on a product that would provide me with years of good service. Hobie have been manufacturing kayaks in America for more that thirty years.
Their reputation and expertise in creating high quality products has established them as world leaders in this field. They have an extensive catalogue of kayaks that will suit every requirement and budget. The Hobie Mirage is at the top of their range and as such would be unsuitable for a beginner, but for someone like myself, the expense has been a sound investment.
A tandem kayak adds a sociable atmosphere to any fishing trip and the Mirage has been ideal for the fish and photograph excursions my friend and I have so far enjoyed. Using pedals instead of paddles compensated for his lack of kayak experience and has left us both free to use a camera as we travel.
The Hobie Mirage Oasis was launched in 2013 and underwent a minor, superficial upgrade two years later. A kayak of superior quality and craftsmanship, I firmly believe that it remains unchallenged as the leading vessel of its type in the market.
The hull of the Mirage is fabricated from polyethylene, which creates a hard, durable shell that is tough enough to remain unscathed when in collision with rocks and performs well in the harshest of water and weather conditions.
A typical "sit on top" kayak, the long, narrow Mirage Oasis measures 14ft 6ins in length and is 2ft 9ins wide and weighs 127lbs (57.61kg). A pedal kayak usually has a spacious interior and the Mirage is no exception. At 6ft 2ins, my photographer friend certainly appreciated the generous 47ins leg room, which helps prevent feeling cramped and stiff while on long expeditions.
With a holding capacity of up to 550lbs, it easily accommodated both of us plus a great deal of fishing tackle and photographic equipment.
For the fashion conscious, the Mirage comes in a range of seven colours. I chose papaya orange for high visibility. The other colours are ivory dune, slate, Caribbean blue, seagrass, golden papaya and red hibiscus.
I am impressed with the Mirage's many features that are specifically designed to ensure ease of use and the comfort of the occupants on every trip. The MirageDrive 180, Hobie's superior foot pedal system for use by both passengers, propels the kayak with ease leaving hands free for other tasks.
Smooth running and efficient, we both reckoned it was as easy as riding a bike. In calm water we quickly built up much faster speeds than when using paddles and the action also caused less disturbance in the water which didn't scare away the fish or wildlife quite so much.
Towards the end of our first trip, the weather deteriorated but I found that getting back to base via the pedal system was far less exhausting than when using paddles. Incidentally, the paddles are stored safe and sound along each side of the kayak. Landing on a sandy riverbank was easier with the system removed.
We were both able to take turns at steering the kayak without the inconvenience of changing seats. In addition I thought it was just as easy to send the kayak into reverse as moving forward.
Hobie certainly had our comfort in mind when they designed the Mirage's seats. Complete with three adjustable height positions and a recline mode, they are thickly padded throughout. We found them extremely comfortable and after sitting for a few hours, the additional inflatable lumbar supports were much appreciated.
This was really helpful in rougher conditions as it aided the kayak's progress against strong currents. It comes with easy to grip T-shaped handles that enabled us to twist the rudder on and off without any difficulty.
My friend was initially concerned for the safety of his expensive photographic equipment, but the Mirage's waterproof storage compartments soon reassured him. Altogether there are three storage facilities including a large cargo area on deck. Bungee cords are supplied to keep items secured.
These attach to the seats and are available as extras to provide even more storage for refreshments.
These are positioned on both sides of the seats for flexible access and to distribute fishing lines without entangling.
This is available as an optional extra. I have to admit that I haven't yet purchased one, but when I do, it will give my Mirage the option of using wind power in addition to pedals and paddles.
When my friend and I decided on a joint venture to combine our hobbies of fishing and photography, the Mirage Oasis was the obvious choice. It may be expensive, but as a regular kayak user, the outstanding quality of the Mirage is a sound investment for long term enjoyment that more casual users might not find so appealing. The MirageDrive 180 pedal system has proven to be the perfect method of propelling the kayak.
Efficient and easy to operate, it has not only compensated for my friend's inexperience, but has also given us both the freedom to use cameras while in motion. Discovering the Hobie tandem kayak has transformed my fishing trips. It has enabled me to enjoy companionship and given me the freedom to record the stunning scenery of the rivers and lakes in a way that using paddles never can.