The Hobie i11s: Nimble, Lightweight, Unique, Fun

The Hobie Mirage i11s debuted at Outdoor Retailer. It is open, appealing, and likely the lightest weight pedal drive in the company's lineup.
The Hobie Mirage i11s debuted at Outdoor Retailer. It is open, appealing, and likely the lightest weight pedal drive in the company’s lineup.

The Hobie i11s: Nimble, Lightweight, Unique, Fun
By Paul Lebowitz

Hobie Cat added another kicked-up kayak to the line, debuting the Mirage i11s at the Outdoor Retailer trade show On the Water Demo. It’s like nothing else in their extensive fleet, incredibly open, a dose of sweet simplicity outfitted with the Vantage Seating System and (of course) a MirageDrive with GlideTechnology.

Company representatives are keeping quiet (it’s policy) until September 1, but Kayak Fish staff (and everyone else) were welcome to hop on for a spin. Several i11s demos were constantly busy, buzzing quickly around the lake. Yes, it feels fast. Stable too. The seating position is high and commanding – it felt taller than any other MirageDrive ride. Standing was no difficulty. There was plenty of room on the stern for an H-Crate or other gear stowage.

Oh, did we mention the weight? There isn’t much. I’ll guess 50 pounds. I asked to fly it home as checked luggage – it comes with a travel bag. No dice.

The Vantage Seating System appears modified from the original in order to interface with the inflatable hull. That is rigid, obviously made with drop-stitch throughout just like the company’s highly regarded inflatable SUPs. In fact, it seems like a Sportsman outfitted with a pedal drive. Fishing one would be like a trip back in time to the days watermen headed out on longboards on no-surf days. Only this time with MirageDrive motivation, a hand-controlled rudder and a cushy seat. Nice.