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Monday, 03 January 2011 05:55

Hobie Oasis 2011 Preview

Written by Josh Holmes
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I've been asked to provide my thoughts on the newly styled Mirage Oasis (Hobie's latest tandem recreational/touring kayak) in the shop on a daily basis since it arrived recently, but also via email and PM. So I thought I'd take a brief moment now to describe the latest model, what's new, what difference it makes and what I think of it in general. I'm hoping to make time on the weekend to get it out onto the river and do much the same thing with video as well, so look out for that in coming days.

The 2011 Oasis design shares a lot of characteristics of the previous design, but also incorporates some new features that conspire to give it greater degrees of stability, speed and functionality. There's a lot of changes in the shape of the new hull, some of them obvious some of them not. Most obvious of all is that the bow shape is now more hydrodynamic, with closer resemblance to the nose of Revo. For sure, the new bow shape will make for a drier ride (with less hull-slap splashing) and at times a smoother ride as well. It now also sports a flip-top lid hatch that offers a larger opening for storing larger items. There seems to be just a bit more volume inside as well, so now even better options for tandem kayak camping excursions.

oasis_2011_livewellThere is also a larger, deeper storage well at the stern. Large enough to fit a Hobie live well, for example. Straddling the rear well are 2 molded rod holders that were previously absent in earlier Oasis designs. So the Oasis is now more fishing-ready than it's ever been. Also helping in the fishing department is the inclusion of an extra recessed mech-covered pocket in each seated position. Next to these is an extra drink holder as well.

Perhaps the coolest new feature of the 2011 Oasis (and scheduled for all 2011 tandem models) is the fact that it now has steering in front and rear, whereas before tandem models only had steering controls in the rear position. This is a huge plus. Not only does it mean that whoever sits up front can steer (handy if the rear passenger is fighting the fish of their life), it also means that a single user can use the kayak more effectively. I'm here to tell you that using a 2011 solo when seated in the front seat feels almost exactly like you're pedaling a Revo. Because the front seat is actually much closer to the centre of the kayak, a single user seated up front doesn't upset the balance anywhere near as much as it does when seated in the rear. So the new Oasis is also a much better option for solo use as well.

Closer inspection of the new Oasis reveals foam 'positive buoyancy' inserts installed in several discreet areas inside the hull - so they're now also sink-proof. The mirage wells have also been completely remolded, now much the same as the Tandem Island design. The drive sits deeper into the hull, so the locking arms are lower (less chance of unlocking them inadvertently) and the end points of the mirage well have been molded in a circular shape instead of a flat shape. In my opinion this is a much stronger design (something I'd like to see on all Mirage kayaks) that should completely eliminate any instances of damage in that area.


To sum it up, even though it's the same weight, length and class, the new oasis really is quite different to its predecessor and I think a superior design in every way. When I look at it, I see a Tandem Revolution but really when I think about it, I reckon they should have called it the Tandem Evolution. Yes. I like it. I like it a lot.

To check out more of Josh Holmes articles visit yakass.net

Last modified on Friday, 07 January 2011 15:08

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