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.