Get ready for some fun with Dphams and RexDelRey, Hobie Tandem Island Adventurers and prostaffers with our ACK Houston store. Ya..these guys have a good time. Enjoy!
Itching to Give the Hobie Mirage Tandem Island Kayak a Try
ACK Houston’s prostaffers, RexDelRey and Dphams, had been planning a trip to hit the rigs on their Hobie Mirage Tandem Island Kayak for a while. It was a week earlier than they had originally planned, but Daniel called Rex on his drive home to Conroe, Texas asking if Rex would be interested in hitting the surf the following day. Rex had just talked himself out fishing the marshes in Galveston so he could get some rest… but he couldn’t resist.
On the Water
The conditions were not ideal, but the pair decided to go ahead and launch so RexDelRey could get a feel of the ride and plan how to shoot their next trip. It was quite an adventure with swells around 4 to 6 ft with some reaching 8 to 10 ft as they got near the end of the Surfside/Quintana jetties. They made it out to the first buoy and saw a big storm approaching and decided to head back in. They went full sail back in and rode the swells in… hauling! They caught a big one and almost turned sideways – but thanks to Dphams quick reaction, he immediately pulled the sails and slowed them down. It was a great time. You’ll definitely be catching more collaborations with RexDelRey in Dphams in the future. Next time, they say they’ll be “catching us some fish, boi!”
My 2007 Hobie Adventure Mirage recently died from a hull crack where the mirage drive plugs in. It leaked a lot of water as the pedal stress opened up the crack with every push. It was already out of warranty by a year but Hobie was kind enough to sell me a replacement hull at a nice discount. The old hull still looked good for paddling as the crack was easy to seal but I wanted to make the rudder useable with foot controls. (Note: All Hobie’s with Mirage Drives use a hand-controlled rudder.)
An Internet search led to purchase of a pair of Smarttrack Toe Pilot Foot Controls sold by Austin Canoe and Kayak. I mounted them as shown in the Picture 1. Pretty straightforward, but the leg length adjusters need to be able to slide back so I mounted them at a slight downward angle towards the bow. The front mounted directly to the hull but for the rear I made a small bracket out of aluminum as shown in Picture 2.
Cabling the rudder was somewhat tricky. The foot controls come with a nice long stainless steel cable that will reach the rudder without any splices, but getting it back there required a few extra parts. I bought some cable housing to fit the 1/16” diameter cable (which is much larger than bicycle cable). Turns out the ultralight airplane community uses this stuff on their throttle systems, so I ordered the cable housing, ferrules, rubber boots, feed-throughs, and clamps from Green Sky Adventures in Hawthorne, FL for about $50.
I used the cable housing to go from the foot controls to the feed-throughs, which were in different locations for the left and right sides. I picked places to enter the hull so the cables had a straight shot toward the back of the hull. I also put a rubber boot over the feed-through assembly as shown in Picture 3.
Inside the hull, I removed the old rudder control, cut the cables, and pulled them out the back. I then lengthened the stock poly tubes that run from the rudder toward the bow. This is easy, just use some 3/8” tubing to splice on another foot or so of ¼” tubing. I then put some tape on the end of the cables and pushed them through the poly until they came out the back. Sounds weird pushing instead of pulling but it worked fine (I did it twice). You need to have all the cable-housing fittings in place before running the cable back to the rudder; otherwise you will end up doing it twice. Next, I attached the poly tubing with cable to a couple of choice places inside the hull just to keep them out of trouble. The stainless steel cables then attached to the rudder just like old ones.
I patched up all the holes and went down to the beach to try her out. The controls worked great! In fact, the Hobie rudder is more responsive than the one on my OK Prowler and only required minor adjustments with my toes to turn the boat. My only complaint is that the foot controls make the hull too narrow about halfway up your calf. I think I will mount some pressure pads on the aft end of the foot controls. On a wider-hulled boat, it might not be an issue.
If anyone wants more details, I can post the part #s for the cable housing supplies. Also, I have leftover cable housing for two or three more boats if anyone wants it — leave a comment. I’m curious how well this stuff holds up in the sun and salt water and will post an update after a few more outings.
I headed out to the check-in for the American Swimming Association’s 3rd Annual Dam 5K race that started at 7:45am on Saturday. I convinced my boyfriend to come along with me, so I loaded a Hobie Revolution and Hobie Sport into my truck, grabbed a couple of breakfast tacos and we were on our way to Lake Travis. We got there and unloaded the kayaks, checked in, and after a quick paddlers safety briefing, we were ready to launch! We didn’t have enough paddlers to assign every swimmer their own kayak, so we spread out and kept our eyes peeled for stressed swimmers and motorboats. Thankfully, most of the swimmers kept their line pretty well and none of them had to stop. I have to say how impressed I was that all the swimmers finished the race on their own accord, with the fastest swimmer coming in at 1 hour and 43 seconds. This was my first time as a safety paddler for a swimming race, but I have already volunteered for upcoming races. The swimmers and organizers were very thankful to the paddlers and showed their appreciation with yummy cinnamon rolls and t-shirts. It was a lot of fun to break into this community and provide a great service for these athletes. People were so impressed by the Hobie Mirage kayaks that we had a small demo after the races were over so swimmers and paddlers alike could experience first hand the awesomeness of the Mirage kayaks. Overall, it was a great experience and I’m looking forward to the next one!