By Paul Lebowitz
The Outback is Hobie’s all-time best-selling fishing kayak, one that’s been in the line a good long time. Hank Parker, hello, Hobie’s first big move into the world of fishing.
It’s a favorite of many Hobie anglers, but hadn’t been significantly updated. Until now. It appears to be the same reliable hull; all the changes are above the water line. Let’s get to it.
Our tour starts with the new Vantage CT seat. Important note relating to all the Hobie boats getting the new throne: in the low position, it’s at the same height as the prior strap-in versions. The marginal sacrifice of stability that comes with the high seat position is strictly optional.
The 2015 Outback has a new cockpit, yet it retains the signature Outback look. The gunwale trays are still there, but the deck has been raised to create a drier ride (no more Mirage well puddle) and flattened. The boat comes with a round hatch, but there’s plenty of room for one of Hobie’s rectangular models.
A close look reveals the scalloped foot rests are now limited to the gunwales. Two new mesh map pockets have sprouted, as have twin rigid soft-grip side handles.
As for the rails, they appear to have been modestly revised to accommodate the accessory H-Bar stand-up bar.
Of course the Lowrance Ready System is included. And in an unexpected plus, Hobie has upgraded its paddles across the fleet. The new ones have stiffer, more efficient fiberglass reinforced nylon blades.
Is this a whole new Outback? That’s up to the beholder. The changes above the waterline are significant. Standing will be much easier. The hull, the business end, is vintage Outback.