How do you compare (speed, distance possible, coasting, comfort, etc.)?Chad
Hi Chad and welcome! This depends on what model you're looking at. I like to go fast and have got the new Adventure past 7MPH with the stock fins and 7.8 (GPS) with the optional Turbofins, and I'm a pretty old, out of shape guy. The Adventure will cruise at 4.5 to 5 pretty easily, so you can travel a respectable distance compared to most conventional kayaks. When traveling against tide or wind, this makes a huge difference! Avid fishermen like the Outback and Adventure. Smaller adults and kids like the easy loading and manuverability of the Sport. We have a Tandem also and the wife likes that arrangement. You can also take it out as a single. The Classic was my first and great for just kayaking (not fishing or sailing).
I find them to be quite comfortable and stable. I've never been a kayaker -- used to bicycle, but found hassling the cars a real negative. What initially attracted me to the Hobie Mirage pedaling drive. There's not anything else like it. I tried a couple of conventional pedaling rigs and found the Hobie to be in an entirely different realm! I've been hooked ever since.
A lot of Hobie fans like the hands free propulsion and silent operation. If you like photography, you can sneak up on wildlife and keep your target in the viewfinder while approaching. Fishing in a current, you can hold your position with both hands free to fish. Well, you get the idea.
I view kayaking as great exercise. Being able to pedal and paddle gives a nice workout to arms and legs. You can even get a sail kit! The Hobies are a little pricier than many kayaks, but they more than make up for it in versatility and quality. Hobie has sold tens of thousands of these, yet you don't find many for sale used.
Go take one for a test drive and see what you think.