Hobie had a rather large presence at the show. And I just don't mean their booth size. They actually had 3 new items that I think would be of interest to many, all of which will become available this Fall.
The first is the Mirage Pro Angler 17T. This 17 foot kayak is a BEAST. I've never seen so much plastic. Intended for 2 adult anglers, it features two Hobie MirageDrive foot paddles, one for each angler. Like most Hobie kayaks, it comes standard with a lot of great features enabling one to customize it in many ways using the patent pending H rail mounting system. With a weight of 185 pounds and a capacity of 900, it's a lot of boat. You could fit an entire kindergarten class inside and their lunch boxes. MSRP $5299.
The second new items are actually the launch of their Triple Air Chamber inflatable SUP series. The Day Trip is 8 feet long and intended to be a "fun" board. Kind of a jack of all trades, you can do anything from fishing to yoga on it. The Sportsman is 10'9" long and is more so intended for serious outdoor pursuits, I mean heck, it comes in camo!
Joking aside, I was really impressed with the Sportsman, for an inflatable SUP it was super rigid and provided a nice wide platform (both boards are 38" across) with plenty of bungee cords and attachment points to tie things down. Each board also comes with a backpack, pump, 3-piece paddle, and repair kit. The Day Trip has an MSRP of $1299 and the Sportsman $1399.
As a Native Slayer 12 owner, I just had to check out the new Slayer Propel 10. It's just like my Slayer, but 2 feet shorter (a little taken off the front and the back) and a little bit lighter. Add in the foot pedal Propel system and the super comfy First Class seat and you've got a clear winner. The shorter kayak means it easily fits in the back of a pickup truck, which makes getting to and from the water even easier. I really like this boat a lot. Kinda making me second guess my current choice of Slayer. It will hit the market in October 2014 at an MSRP of $2299.
The Old Town Predator XL was the talk of the ICAST show. It not only won Best Boat, but it won Best In Show. There's a lot going on with the Predator XL. It's big, so there's a lot of deck space, storage, and room for modifications, but the main takaway is the modular console in the middle. You can basically buy the boat unpowered and use the console for storage or to store a battery for electronics, or go all out and purchase a console which make the Predator XL hands-free Minn-Kota powered. It's basically a small trolling motor type of prop that drops right down through the center of the boat. Pretty rad, and I'm probably not doing it justice. The Old Town Predator XL will hit the market in November with MSRPs of $1599 (standard) or $2699 (with Minn-Kota).
I have a fiberglass stakeout pole that I use in tandem with an pretty standard anchor trolley. It works fine, but can be a little clumsy to operate. I happened to run into Tim from Flexstick while he was doing a demo of his product, and found it rather interesting. The Flexstick Anchor is a flexible fiberglass rod that kind of looks like a long ski pole. It mounts directly on to your kayak via a bracket that fits most rail systems.
Basically, while paddling, the anchor rests in a position parallel to your kayak, and to deploy, you simply unlock it with one hand and drop it down. The Flexstick pivots on a ratchet and stays put once locked. It keeps you secure in one spot regardless of water bottom, and I think would be ideal for shallow water applications. The Flexstick Anchor retails for $249 and is available now.
THE BEST OF THE REST
Here are some other quick watercraft hits via pictures...because I really could go on and on...
|ENGEL USA has created a hybrid molded composite SUP that will retail for $1699...|
|...a unique feature...a molded in well that accommodates Engel coolers |
(or anything else you might want to keep dry).
|The CruiserBoard is a made in the USA kayak / paddleboard hybrid|
|The major selling point is the seat (that mounts via rail system). |
It can be used unfolded as a chair, or in the folded position as a back support
(think to lean back on) while paddling.
It retails for $2590 and comes with the paddle.
|BOTE was one of the busiest booths at the show. |
The 12' Rackham is the next evolution in fishing craft.
It has a 400 lb capacity and will retail for $2100.
|The Rackham's recessed standing platform keeps your stuff high and dry, |
features the new Paddle Sheath paddle storage system, and is both Tackle Rack
and Power Pole Micro compatible. Yowza!
|I've had a yak-crush on the FeelFree Lures for about a year. |
They really look like great fishing kayaks. The Lure comes in 3 sizes; 10', 11.5' and 13.5'
and has a (relatively) very friendly retail of $999 - $1599.
|Diablo was there holding court. I didn't see anything new, I might have missed it. |
They were constantly busy, so since I wasn't a retail account, I really didn't want to intrude.
They are really nice in person, a lot more kayaky (is that a word?) than I expected.
|Last but not least, I had to stop by and check out the NuCanoes. |
These boats are the ideal blank canvas for any angler.
This one happens to be rigged up with the stand up bar which would be awesome for fly fishing.
The gentleman I spoke to at the booth actually was a fly fishing guide from Sarasota who
uses NuCanoes with his customers...who love them. And it's funny, everyone always says these boats
are huge...they look petite compared to that 17' Hobie!!!
As you've probably noticed, I've embedded links to each of the manufacturer websites, so if you're looking for more information on any of these boats, please click through and pay them a visit!
I apologize if I missed, or failed to write up your favorite kayak manufacturer so don't take it personally. There were many more there, I just didn't have time to see everyone.