Rumors were circling about big news from Hobie all summer, but the cat got out of the bag at Paddlesports Retailer trade show in Madison, Wisconsin. We had to wait until the last week of August to get our hands on the new Hobie Mirage Compass, a completely fresh boat from the oldest name in pedal power.
Pedal Forward in the Hobie Mirage Compass
With a wide range of models and sizes available to anglers, Hobie’s gurus designed the Mirage Compass to be a boat for everyone. The convenient 12-foot water line, 34-inch beam and 68-pound weight make the Compass a perfect fit for any waterway and any lifestyle. A sub-$2,000 price tag makes the Compass perfect fit for any budget, too.
We knew all this before arriving at Paddlesports Retailer’s on-the-water demo. We didn’t know how the Compass would perform.
The New Compass Offers Stability and Speed
Hobie mixed design features from their most popular boats. The Compass has an aggressive, pointed bow to cut through waves and cleave the water. At just one inch wider than the Outback, the boat maneuvers like the original favorite. The stern is wide like a Pro Angler and a pontooned hull increase stability for a rock solid fishing platform.
Pedalling the boat in the small pond at the demo day we were impressed with the speed and handling. Standing and sitting were no problem. The Hobie Mirage Compass uses a simplified version of the Vantage CT seat that includes the same comfortable mesh material with a few less adjustment points. Like the Vantage CT, the Compass seat can be removed from the kayak to make a beach chair. Speed, handling and comfort are on par with any Hobie.
Back to Basics With the Hobie Glide Drive
So, where did they make cuts? The replaced the bow hatch with a gear well and mesh cover, which many anglers, especially standup fishermen, find more convenient for gear you need to access quickly.
The seat doesn’t have as many adjustment points, but it is just as comfortable. They still included a huge center hatch in the deck with a gear caddy for dry storage. And two molded in rod holders behind the seat make the boat ready to fish off the shelf.
One of the biggest savings came in the rudder. The Hobie Mirage Compass rudder is hidden below the stern, like the Pro Angler, keeping it out of the way of fishing lines. The system is simplified which saved time and money at the factory.
The big difference, instead of Hobie’s new MirageDrive 180 with reverse, Hobie includes the proven Glide drive with the Compass. Even without a reverse gear, the Glide drive pushes the Compass at a respectable speed and provides plenty of control.
Hobie’s Compass is an All-Around Bargain
After pedalling the Compass all over the demo day pond and pushing all the levers and buttons, we couldn’t find anything missing from the newest vessel in Hobie’s fleet, except about a thousand dollars missing from the price.
Video Review of the Hobie Mirage Compass Kayak:
The new Hobie Mirage Compass is a completely fresh boat from the oldest name in pedal power. | Feature photo: Ric Burnley