When you need a spoon and a fork, grab a spork. If you like tigers as much as you like lions, then a liger is your favorite animal. Hungry for tangerine and pomelo? Peel into a tangelo. And if you can’t decide between a SUP and kayak, or canoe and kayak, check out a hybrid paddlecraft.

Can’t Choose Between SUP, Canoe or Kayak? Try a Hybrid

Mixing the best features of a canoe or SUP with a kayak has produced some interesting offspring. After all, the sit-on-top kayak started as a hybrid of a sea kayak and a surfboard. Recently, hybrids have been a big hit with the inshore crowd and boat builders have responded with innovative designs that combine the best of both worlds.

man fishing out of the Old Town NEXT canoe kayak hybrid
Looks like a canoe, paddles like a kayak; Old Town’s NEXT offers the best of both platforms. | Feature photo: Old Town Canoes and Kayaks

Canoe-Kayak Hybrids

Canoeists and kayakers never seem to see eye-to-eye, but combine the open cockpit of a canoe with the maneuverability of a double-blade paddle and you get Old Town’s NEXT. Craig Hefner, owner of Yellow Dog Kayak Accessories, has been using the NEXT since it was released in 2014. “It’s light and easy to car-top or carry,” he points out, “perfect for quick trips or portaging.” The NEXT is constructed of three-ply polyethylene material that is lighter than a traditional kayak’s rotomolded skin. The canoe’s open cockpit also cuts weight and increases storage space. “My kids love it,” Hefner adds, explaining that the boat is easier to paddle and move around in.

David Hadden, brand director at Old Town, agrees that ease of operation and user-friendly design make NEXT a perfect mix for anglers looking for a canoe and a kayak. He says the boat has been particularly popular with hard-to-reach kayak fishing demographics. “Older paddlers, fly fishermen and traditional canoeists tend to gravitate to the NEXT,” Hadden explains.

Old Town Canoes and Kayaks


The NEXT represents the future of paddling, with over a century of expertise poured into one truly amazing watercraft. Built for one, designed for all, it provides a fun, unique solo experience for the NEXT generation of paddlers.

SUP-Kayak Hybrids

Another popular crossbreed is a mix between a kayak and a standup paddleboard. Since anglers first took up the paddle, they’ve asked for stand-up stability and kayak agility. One of the most recent answers to that question comes from Hobie Fishing’s i11s inflatable fishing platform. [Editor’s note: Hobie’s i11s has since been followed by hybrid models like the Mirage iTrek 11 and the Mirage Lynx.] Built on the Sportsman inflatable SUP chassis, the i11s adds a Vantage seat, MirageDrive and rigging for rod holders and tackle storage.

Man fishing at night from the Hobie i11s SUP kayak hybrid
Hobie’s i11s combines the stability of a SUP with the speed of MirageDrive. | Photo: Hobie Fishing

Director of fishing development, Morgan Promnitz, says the i11s is a perfect mix of stability and maneuverability. “The i11s retains the simplicity of a fishing SUP, deflates and folds away for transport and storage and offers the performance of a MirageDrive kayak,” Promnitz points out. He adds that the Vantage frame seat allows the angler to get low and drive into heavy wind and chop.

Both Hadden and Promnitz recommend a hybrid as a complement to an angler’s kayak quiver. “Just like surfing,” Promnitz explains, “I have a big wave board and small wave board.” He recommends a hybrid SUP for quick trips before work. Hadden also uses his NEXT for hunting. “I have plenty of room for decoys and blind materials.”


Mirage iTrek 11

The do-all, inflatable pedal kayak. Built for all day cruising, quick fishing excursions, and weekend adventures , the Mirage iTrek 11 inflatable pedal kayak is the ideal choice for all your water activities. Its high-performance, PVC hull boasts the speed, stability, and tracking of a rigid kayak in a lightweight package. Easily stash it away in its roller travel bag, minimal storage space required.
  • Powered by the MirageDrive GT with Kick-Up Fins
  • Aluminum Frame Seating with Breathable Mesh
  • Detachable Rudder System for Right & Left Handed Steering
  • EVA Standing Pads
  • Seat Mounted Cup Holders

The future is bright for hybrids, with Kaku Kayak introducing the Wahoo and Diablo tweaking their popular stand-up kayaks. Promnitz says the i11s has found fans on backwater and in boardrooms. Hadden even hints at more hybrids to come from the Johnson Outdoors family. “I’ve been hunting in a prototype all fall,” he says, “the best is yet to come.”

Related Articles

Below you will find in-depth reviews from Kayak Angler contributors on the best hybrid paddlecraft available today.

Cover of the Fall 2016 issue of Kayak Angler MagazineThis article was first published in the Fall 2016 issue of Kayak Angler Magazine. Subscribe to Kayak Angler Magazine’s print and digital editions, or browse the archives.

Looks like a canoe, paddles like a kayak; Old Town’s NEXT offers the best of both platforms. | Feature photo: Old Town Canoes and Kayaks



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