... I've owned my TI since May and I LOVE it. Fantastic experience. Having it has really piqued my interest for a more high performance version of this boat...
I went through a bit of the same thing as you, leelanauX. I looked at what was available, I think the Weta is COOL, but at the end of the day, I narrowed down what I liked about the Adventure Island (I realize that you are talking about the Tandem Island, but obviously they are similar)
What I liked:
--SIMPLICITY!! - One hand to steer, one hand on the sail. Perfect
--Made by Hobie - Some people downplay this, but simply put, no one in the industry takes care of their customers like Hobie.
--Durable, beach-able. - I used the AI for exploration. I stopped at all kinds of beaches, and islands, and other amazing places. The Rotomolded hull material is heavy, but it allows you to sneak up to rocky shorelines, and not worry in the least.
What I didn't like:
-- Lower Speeds, lower performance - I wanted to go faster. I wanted something that really reacted to the wind, and was more playful. I also wanted the ability to tip. So that my skills could improve, and I wasn't simply relying on the design of the boat to keep me upright.
So I bought a Bravo. Admittedly, I was strongly considering a Wave or a Getaway, but the Bravo was found used for a price that I couldn't miss out on. It's GREAT. You can still sail up to just about anywhere because you haven't got a dagger board. You definitely get extra performance. I would still like to move to a Wave because I have a growing family, and the Bravo is a bit tight for extra people, but the point is, the next step up in performance is right there in the Hobie lineup.
A Wave can be solo'd or taken out with others. Its easily as fast as the Weta, but is much simpler to set up and sail. It's WAY cheaper.
You don't have to fly a hull, you can be just as relaxed as you would be on a Weta, but if you do decide to fly a hull, you'll find that it's very controllable, and quite fun.
Maybe it's an interim solution for you, but for the price, it definitely gets you the extra performance. It's as simple to sail as a TI, (one hand on the tiller, one hand on the sail) and it's a Hobie, so you know you've got a quality boat that will be backed up by a great dealer network, and an even better manufacturer.
Plus, you can do this!
Now... in regards to that Triak. WHY!!! Why would the marketing department do something so stupid. It seems like they have a decent product there, why not sell it on it's own merits. It's got features that the Hobie doesn't have, like a lighter hull, a potentially drier seat (although I doubt you'd stay as dry as they imply on anything that close to the water) but why they would go and try to give false information, I have NO idea. It makes you question everything that they claim about their own boat, and for anyone going to a dealer to discuss the AI with the Triak in mind, the dealer is going to blow each of those claims out of the water. Their marketing actually hurts them to anyone who checks out both boats. Dumb dumb dumb!!