Best Hobie Sailing Kayaks For 2024

Paddling Buyer’s Guide

Hobie has built a unique lineup of user-friendly catamarans and sailboats since 1950. California entrepreneur Hobie Alter launched the Hobie Sports company with a small catamaran that could be easily sailed by a single person off an ocean beach. From those beginnings the brand’s Hobie Cat became synonymous with a fun and seaworthy sailing vessel.

Over the years the brand added kayaks, with many unique innovations for recreational paddling and kayak fishing. For example, Hobie has integrated their Mirage pedal system into all of their kayaks; they also build exciting solo and tandem sailing kayaks that come fully equipped for pedaling, paddling and sailing, as well as sailing kits to retrofit other kayaks.

This guide provides an overview of Hobie sailing kayaks and Hobie sailing kayak accessories. Kayak sailing is a niche pursuit; but Hobie, in its tradition of making fun and easy watersports equipment, makes it accessible to everyone.

This article will help you decide if a Hobie sailing kayak is right for you.

Top picks: Best Hobie sailing kayaks for 2024

The following Hobie sailing kayaks have received the highest star ratings by reviewers in our Paddling Buyer’s Guide. See and review all Hobie sailing kayaks here.

Shop Hobie sailing kayaks

Are you looking at a Hobie sailing kayak? The links in this section will take you to our comprehensive Paddling Buyer’s Guide, where you can take a closer look at Hobie sailing kayaks and Hobie kayak sailing accessories, including reviews, ratings and where to buy. You can choose to filter between ready-to-sail kayaks and accessories to retrofit your existing kayak with a Hobie kayak sail kit.

Find specs, prices and user reviews for each model or accessory. While you’re there, you can also take a step backwards and consider other brands and models. Simply put, this is the most comprehensive kayak buyer’s guide on the web.

Shopping for a used Hobie sailing kayak?

Have you discovered a Craigslist Hobie sailing kayak deal? Consider yourself lucky! Unlike other types of recreational kayaks, Hobie sailing kayaks are rare and used options can be hard to come by. Buying used is a great way to save cash. Set alerts on websites like Kijiji, Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace.

You can also score good deals on lightly used Hobie sailing kayaks and sailing kits at dealer demo days, kayak trade shows and symposiums. These events often include floor models of Hobie sailing kayaks and sailing kits for sale at discounted prices. It’s also a great way to try the kayak before making a purchase, discuss design aspects with experts, and network with other Hobie owners. Before you make an offer on any used boat, consider the following:

  • Make sure you’re buying the right used kayak for your paddling preferences by researching the particular model in advance to determine whether or not it truly meets your needs. Consider the type of water you’ll be paddling; Hobie sailing kayaks are seaworthy but you’ll still need sheltered places to launch and land. Also bear in mind that if you want to mostly propel your kayak with a paddle, you may wish to consider a more traditional recreational sit-on-top or sit-inside kayak.
  • Take the time for a detailed visual inspection. Give the used Hobie sailing kayak a thorough once-over, looking for obvious damage to the hull (bottom), deck (top) and outfitting (seat, back rest, foot pegs, etc). Scratches aren’t a problem, but watch out for deep gouges that extend more than eighth of an inch (3 mm) into the plastic. Obvious warping in the hull is a problem to avoid, too.
  • Hobie sailing kayaks have many moving parts. First, check the sails and rigging to make sure all parts are included and are in good working condition. Ideally you should set up the sailing rig before committing to a purchase. It’s easy to replace ropes and bungees, but replacement parts for some Hobie sailing kayak hardware can be hard to find and/or require special tools and skills to repair.Hobie sailing kayaks also utilize a pedal-drive propulsion system that involves fairly complicated mechanisms. Make sure the pedals, drive shafts and fins are in good working condition and operate smoothly, with no deformities or corrosion.
  • Try to determine how the kayak was stored. A kayak that was stored outdoors for long periods of time may be subject to fading due to UV radiation (which also weakens the kayak’s structure and can degrade the foot pedal mechanism) and damage due to excessive snow loading or precipitation. Sails are especially subject to UV degradation.
  • For used Hobie kayak sail kits, inspect all parts to make sure they’re in good working condition, paying close attention to fasteners, ropes and the integrity of the mast. Make sure the Hobie kayak sail is compatible with your Hobie kayak.
  • Taking the kayak for an on the water test is the ultimate way to find out if the Hobie sailing kayak works for you, in terms of performance, handling, comfort and fit.
  • Hobie sailing kayaks are niche boats and selection is very limited, especially used. You may have to take a chance on making a purchase (or consider buying a new model) if you want a kayak immediately.

For more tips on what to look for when selecting a used kayak, read our article How To Buy A Used Kayak.

Hobie sailing kayak & sailing kit buying guide

The selection of Hobie sailing kayaks is limited, and the price of the brand’s current Mirage Adventure Island (one-person) and Mirage Tandem Island (two-person) models are quite steep. Your first step before making a purchase is to make sure you’re certain that a Hobie sailing kayak is right for you. True, you can also paddle or pedal a Hobie sailing kayak, but the boat’s greatest attribute is its performance in the wind under sail.

For some buyers, this offers the excitement of sailing with the fringe benefits of a kayak; but if paddling is your main objective, you might be happier (and will certainly save a boatload of money) with something else.

The Hobie Mirage Island sailing kayaks are high-tech and innovative designs. These trimaran sailing kayaks are meant to harness the wind and offer a comfortable kayak sailing experience, with outriggers (called “amas”) for superb stability on the water and rigging borrowed from Hobie’s lineup of high-performance sailboats and catamarans. The 16’7” Mirage Adventure Island seats one person; the 18.5-foot Mirage Tandem Island is designed for two people, but it can be handled by solo sailors as well. The Hobie Mirage Tandem Island and Mirage Adventure Island come equipped with the advanced Mirage Drive 180 pedal drives, allowing you to move forward and reverse, with “kick-up” propulsion fins that aren’t damaged by underwater obstructions. The pedal drive system works well in calm conditions and means you won’t be stranded on the water when the wind dies. Both the solo and tandem kayaks are designed to be used with paddles as well, though performance is limited.

Bear in mind the Hobie Mirage Island kayaks are primarily meant for sailing. If you’re mainly a paddler, you’ll probably be better off with a different kayak. The Tandem Island and Adventure Island are large boats that weigh a hefty 240 pounds and 185 pounds fully-rigged, respectively, making them cumbersome to transport and store. They are crafted from durable rotomolded plastic. Their weight capacity of 600 pounds (Tandem Island) and 400 pounds (Adventure Island) is sufficient for most users. At nearly $8,300 and $5,300, respectively, they are a significant investment.

One option for more casual sailors is to purchase a Hobie kayak sailing kit to retrofit an existing Hobie kayak. The Mirage Sail Kit works exclusively with Hobie Mirage kayaks and Pro Angler models. It installs easily with a two-part, 10-foot aluminum mast and a high-quality Hobie sail and accessories that store in a convenient sail bag.

The Hobie kayak sailing kit combines with the pedal drive system to offer great control and stability on the water, making this a perfect way to learn to sail and have more fun on windy days. The pedal drive frees up your hands for working the rudder and the sail rigging.

Additional Hobie kayak sailing accessories include a sail furler that allows you to make quick adjustments to the size of the sail depending on wind conditions; and the Sidekick Ama Kit (inflatable outriggers) that afford even greater stability.

Kayak sailing is a niche pursuit and you’ll find many passionate enthusiasts with YouTube channels and on Internet forums. Do your research first to determine if this is the right type of kayaking for you. The more time you can spend on the water trying out your options, the better the purchasing decision you will make.

Here are answers to some of the most common online questions about Hobie sailing kayaks and kits.

  • Hobie kayak sail dimensions

    The Hobie Mirage Tandem Island sailing kayak has a sail area of 90 square feet (8.4 square meters). The one-person Hobie Mirage Adventure Island has a sail area of 65 square feet (6 square meters). Meanwhile, the Hobie Mirage sail kit measures a more modest 20.25 square feet (1.88 square meters).

  • Hobie kayak sail mast

    The Hobie Mirage Tandem Island sailing kayak comes with an 18-foot (5.5-metre) mast, while the Mirage Adventure Island has a 16.5-foot (5-meter) mast. The mast doubles as a furler to adjust the amount of sail that’s exposed to the wind. You can also retrofit Hobie Mirage and Pro Angler kayaks with the Hobie sail kit, which comes with a 10-foot, two-piece aluminum mast.

  • Hobie kayak sailing rudder

    Hobie offers a number of rudders, which are hand-operated on its pedal-drive kayaks. For kayak sailing check out the large Twist ‘n Stow rudder, which offers more “bite” on the water for greater control.

    The Twist ‘n Stow is available as an accessory and can be added to models in the Mirage and Pro Angler lines for better sailing performance with the Mirage Sail Kit. The standard rudder on the Hobie Mirage Tandem Island and Mirage Adventure Island are perfectly suited for sailing.

  • How fast can a Hobie kayak sail?

    Sailing speed depends on the strength of the wind, your direction of travel and the design of the kayak hull. A Hobie kayak sails easily at 5 miles per hour (8 km/h) with an experienced crew on board. Bursts of 8 miles per hour (13.5 km/h) or more are possible with the right wind conditions.

Hobie sailing kayak reviews

Paddling Magazine is your best online resource for kayak reviews, including specialty boats like Hobie sailing kayaks and Hobie kayak sailing kits. Here you’ll find great buying advice, including complete specifications, design features and impartial criticism of the strengths and weaknesses of each model.

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