July 9, 2007 Hobie is a name that's been associated with innovation in aquatic sports since Hobie Alter started creating boards for the fledgling sport of surfing in his father's garage more than half a century ago - and this latest creation is no exception. A true "best of both worlds" invention, this unique cross between a pedal powered kayak and a trimaran adds an entirely new dimension to sailing. The Hobie Mirage Adventure Island is a 16-foot, single-person "Sail/yak" that combines the Hobie MirageDrive pedal-propulsion system with a 5.38 square meter sail and two amas (outriggers) that provide stability on the water and fold back into the hull for docking and beaching.

The newest edition to the Hobie line-up has a mast height of 15'2" (4.62m), weighs 115lbs (52.16kg) when fully rigged and can carry 350lbs (159kg). With the amas extended the craft is 112" (2.84m) wide, reducing to 42" when folded.

The Hobie MirageDrive system employed in the company's range of kayaks is a pedal/flipper mechanism that swings laterally underneath the hull like a penguin's fins to produce forward drive. Steering is via a hand-controlled rudder that can be retracted to the horizontal when not in use.

The company has a long and interesting history that began when Hobie Alter started making surfboards in the 1950's. The opening of Southern California's first surf shop followed soon after and experimentation with new materials for surfboards (balsa wood was replaced by polyurethane foam) extended to experimentation with new craft in the late 60's, eventually leading to today's range of innovative kayaks tailored for touring and fishing.

Gizmag spotted the Hobie Mirage Adventure Island at the Melbourne Boat Show on the weekend where they were available through Hobiecat Australasia for around AUD$4000 (US$3430).

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