By Paul Lebowitz
The day Hobie fans have been waiting for is here! Hobie’s uber-adjustable Vantage seat has made the move from the Pro Angler line to the bulk of the fleet. Pretty much all of it: the Outback (we have an up-close look), both Revolutions, the Sport, the tandems, the Adventure Island (we have a look at the all-new AI too)… They all get the new Vantage CT for 2015.
As expected, the new elevated mesh Vantage seat is trick. Hobie has yet to release all of the details, but plenty of information was visible from the sands of Outdoor Retailer Demo Day. The mesh is high grade, the frame rigid and non-metallic (it won’t corrode), with a BOA system to tighten or loosen it to the user’s taste. Both the front and back seat posts are height adjustable.
In back, there are high, medium and low settings. In front, the height adjustability is infinite within a range of about 3 inches. Recline angle is adjustable too. The feature set on this seat is so rich it is difficult to describe. The Vantage CT pulls out of the boat in seconds, for use as a beach or camp chair.
The introduction of the Vantage CT is huge news that required Hobie to alter the molds of most of their boats. The company didn’t stop there. There’s a new Mirage Drive – it will be standard with all 2015 models, the Mirage Drive with Glide Tech, distinguished by the blue fins. Bluefin fins (get it, tuna fans?). Put simply, Hobie has added roller bearings to the system, which reportedly reduce the effort required to power the drive by roughly ten percent. Think of it as getting eleven pedal pushes for the cost of ten.
There’s more: most of the Mirage line-up is getting a new drainage system under the seat: the Speed Drain. It is based on the Venturi principle. When the boat is in motion, pulling a cord lifts a scupper stopper and flushes the water. We didn’t spot it on the Outback – that boat’s already a rather dry ride.
Last but scarcely least, the 2015 Pro Angler 12 and 14 models boast the beautiful multi-sided H-Rail accessory mounting posts. They also get the new new drop-down skeg introduced on the Pro Angler 17T. It’s sure to help the PA 12 in particular hold its course.
It’s a lot of digest. We’ll have more once Hobie releases full details.