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Old 05-03-2010, 09:50 AM
Squidly-Diddly Squidly-Diddly is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2007
Rep: 304 Posts: 1,183
Location: SF bay
got to compare Hobie VS Native(propeller) kayaks

This was the Native I tested, a stable fishing/dive kayak.

Also two Hobie Mirage drives, a 12ft plastic and 12 foot inflatable.

I think the Hobie has more power, but both were more sluggish than I expected after hearing all the glowing reports how the Hobie was so much better than paddling. Both felt like I was peddling through soup instead of water. A paddle is still better for quick response and paddling a sit-in kayak still seemed to use less energy and was far more elegant. The peddle drives aren't even close to a sliding seat rowing shell.

Of course, all peddle kayaks I tested were the fairly stubby type.

This was at last weekend's "PaddleFest" in Fremont, CA. Great event and a Must Attend for anyone toying with buying a kayak or canoe or paddleboard. For $10 you get to try out over 100 different boats in an all day event. The next one is in Sacramento, CA in June, with "dozens of boats".

PDF and paddles of all sorts provided, lots of manufacture's reps on hand to get your boat adjusted if needed. No waiting otherwise, just grab a boat and launch, paddle as long as you want, grab another boat. All this was from a nice sandy beach in a nice park, so you could walk barefoot no worries.

Last edited by Squidly-Diddly : 05-03-2010 at 09:53 AM. Reason: correction
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Old 05-04-2010, 08:32 AM
portacruise portacruise is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2009
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Location: USA
Thanks for the useful review, Squid. Curious if you noted the weight and space requirement comparison of the prop vs. fin drive on the two types. Seems like the inflatable Hobie would have done better compared to the solid Hobie with its lighter weight. I guess these products are meant for the general market so the stability factor is more important than speed, defaulting to slower and heavier blunt hulls.

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Old 05-04-2010, 11:00 AM
Chris Ostlind Chris Ostlind is offline
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Nailed it, Porta and a very good take on the "feel" of the wider machines with pedal drives, Squid. They tend to push around a lot of water.

Having done a few Mirage drive designs for my portfolio, my biggest interest was decidedly pointed to better performance from the hull of the boat. I typically pull stability from a set of smallish, aft placed amas, but there is one that is all monohull with twin Mirage drives that can really push that hull quite quickly while remaining stable.

Hope that doesn't sound like an advertisement. I'm just trying to illustrate some of the potential in the pedal drive system.

I happen to like the real performance that they can generate while enjoying a hands free operating scheme.
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Old 05-04-2010, 11:36 AM
Squidly-Diddly Squidly-Diddly is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2007
Rep: 304 Posts: 1,183
Location: SF bay
Space/Weight seems close to equal, with slight edge to Hobie

as far as space and keeping out of the way. The Native prop flips up and forward for beaching, the Hobie fins flatten to the hull with pedal in the fore&aft position(pedals together is fins both down). The big sales points for Native is that it goes in reverse, for the Hobie that it beaches easily.

As far as inflatiable VS hard Hobies, the inflatable seems a little quicker off the line, and in quick sharp turns, due to lighter weight and flatter hull.

All three pedals boats were extremely stable, and had a somewhat TOO recumbent seating position that would take so getting use to, and I use a recumbent exercise bike regularly and prefer it to upright(never rode a recumbent) thus I would try a raised seat as an after market mod for comfort on longer calm water voyages.

Me, personally? I'm toying with replacing a standard rudder with an elongated Fish Tail drive which would be driven by Foot Slides rather than bike pedals or levers. This would be on a larger SOT like Prowler 15, as the sit-ins don't have the knee-room needed.

I'd also be interested in a rudder for a solo, or larger, canoe. The only problem with a canoe is it catches a lot of wind and takes everything you got to make it head where you want it to go. Otherwise the canoe seems like a more efficient, cleaner, hull than SOTs with their various full length keels, scupper-holes, etc.

I couldn't get the Paddle-Board going, I was only able to get up on my knees before I felt sure I was going to fall over, but I'd had a few drinks and I'm over 250lbs. Smaller folks seemed to have no problem. The one person I saw fall in from standing was a med-large 190lb? young man.
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