Review: Mirage Tandem Island
  |  First Published: June 2011

The Hobie Mirage Tandem Island is the double version of the Hobie Mirage Adventure Island.

After the roaring success of the single Hobie Adventure Island, Hobie released the long awaited Mirage Tandem Island in Australia a few months ago.

Inspired by Polynesian multihulls this 18’6” trimaran ‘sail-yak’ includes state-of-the-art features and comfort, plus two patented MirageDrives with Turbo Fins. There is plenty of room for the skipper and crew, with total control of the roller furling sail and the large Twist and Stow rudder from either of the high back padded seats.

It’s difficult to know where to start with this craft, as there are so many innovative features.

The hull is a long streamlined double kayak that can be easily paddled or peddled, thanks to the MirageDrive. The MirageDrive pedalling system is a fantastic piece of equipment and can be easily fitted to the kayak. It works by peddling two underwater flippers that propel the Hobie Mirage with surprising speed and ease.

The steering controls are positioned at a comfortable arm’s length, giving precise control of the kick-up rudder. This is the first double kayak that I have seen with dual controls; both paddlers can operate the steering.

There are two recessed rod holders behind the rear paddler, four hatches accessing the massive storage inside the hull, four storage pockets and four handles. Plenty of places to store fishing equipment.

If you needed a little more stability, or storage space, you can clip in an outrigger (Aka & Ama) and an optional tramp kit. The kayak is at ease pedalling with an outrigger, which can lend itself to all sorts of fishing opportunities as the tramp kits hold up to 80kg. If you’re ready to clip the second outrigger on then you should definitely drop the 5.5m high sail in position and let the real fun begin!

The hull is equipped with a fully retractable, recessed kick-up centreboard that allows sailing across and into the wind possible. Other kayaks can be fitted with small sails and get along nicely, but the Hobie Mirage flies! Even with one or two adults or with three children on the tramp kit its performance provided comfort, safety and speed.

Comfort and Sailing

Hobie kayaks provide first class seating. They combine an extremely well-padded seat pad with a self-inflating lumbar support backrest. The shape of the seat pad on the hull ensures a comfortable ride and drain plugs under the seat pad allows water to disappear.

If you are a little nervous or inexperienced at sailing/kayaking then attaching outriggers will give you confidence – this kayak cannot tip over. If you feel like stretching your legs you can stand up or just lay down on the tramp kit. Even with just the hull on the water this kayak is very stable and has a huge load carrying capacity at 272kg.

This is also a great craft to teach someone the skills of sailing. The dual controls for the steering also control the roller furling main sail and rudder uphaul/downhaul. It takes a little co-ordinating of the length of sheets (ropes) between paddlers but it can be sailed from either seat.

Manoeuvrability and Speed

Under sail the Tandem Island is quicker than its single predecessor, and under pedal power it is quicker than most double kayaks on the market. For those learning to sail, it has the advantage that you can pedal a little while tacking (turning up into the wind). With three forms of propulsion at your disposal this craft is not stuck if the wind stops blowing and doesn’t rely on fuel or electric motors.

If you want to turn one of these in a confined area you are best to remove the rudder from the water and use your paddles to turn the kayak.

The Wash-Up

There is not much to dislike about the Tandem Island on the water, my whole family loves it! However, one issue owners need to overcome is handling the size and weight of it to transport and store. If you’re going to do it on your own then you should invest in an accessory, such as a Rack & Roll, Strong Arm Kayak Loader, Thule Goal Post or the Malone Sea Wing and Stinger Combo.

If you have a ute with a bar at the back of the tray then loading a Tandem Island from the back and sliding it up is pretty easy. Some customers have gone to transporting this craft on a small box trailer fully rigged with the outriggers folded in. The Hobie Cart is an accessory that takes the weight of the Tandem Island while you wheel it to the water.

The versatility of the Hobie Mirage Tandem Island is unsurpassed. Nothing else that I have seen gives you the option to paddle, peddle, sail and fish, by yourself or with the whole family!

Want One?

The Hobie Mirage Tandem Island retails for $5800 including two deluxe seats, two fibreglass paddles, two MirageDrives with Turbo Fins, instructional DVD, and more!

For more information go to the Scott Lovig Hobie Australasia website www.hobiecatvictoria.com.au.

This review was conducted by Craig McSween, Level 2 Sea Kayak Instructor with Australian Canoeing. For feedback on this review you can contact me at Adventure Outlet (Kayaking & Outdoor Store) in Southport on (07) 5571 2929 or --e-mail address hidden--


Overall Length5.64m
Width w/Amas Out3.05m
Width w/Amas In1.22m
Mast Height5.49m
Hull Only Weight40.4kg
Fully Rigged Weight87.1kg
Hull Width0.76m
Sail Area 8.4m2
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