Hobie Revolution 13
Here at CSG we are firm believers in practicing what we preach, that’s why we carry out our own tests and reviews of the products we sell. We aim to make our reviews both comprehensive and impartial to tell the full, honest story to our potential readers.
However, I now have to apologise for the biased nature of this particular review. I personally own a Hobie Revolution and have paddled it religiously for the past 5 years so I’ll be honest – this review is biased, I swear by my Rev.
That being said, please read on and I will try to explain in this review why I personally own a Hobie Revolution, and what ticks the boxes for me as the end user.
Later on in this review I will talk about the merits of kayak fishing from a Hobie Revolution, but for now, let’s look at it from a non-angling perspective.
Most people have heard of Hobie as a brand and may be familiar with their range of sailing catamarans. Hobie Cat have also been making kayaks for many years now, but they pioneered the ‘Hobie Mirage Drive’ (pedal system) over 10 years ago. Other manufacturers have been desperately trying to copy the concept ever since.
To really appreciate how efficient the Mirage Drive system really is, it is very much a case of ‘seeing is believing’.
The concept is based on a how a penguin’s wings work to propel its body through the water.
The Mirage Drive system consists of two blades attached to a drive mechanism, the peddles protrude up through the hull of the kayak. The fins are constructed using a rubber blade with a rigid (stainless bar) leading edge, that causes the fins to flap from side to side when you peddle, thus driving the craft forward through the water.
Now, I understood how this concept worked before I actually used a Hobie and while I thought it was a good idea I never really believed that it would be that effective....
I would say to anyone who is as sceptical or just generally interested in finding out how effective the drive system is to try one. Take out a demo, borrow one for an hour and you’ll be blown away by how efficient and effective the drive system actually is – I was.
The Revolution is 13ft long and I’ve raced alongside strong, competent kayakers in 16ft sea-kayaks and have left them behind. Not only is the acceleration impressive, but you can easily maintain a cruising speed and cover distance with ease.
The video below shows the Hobie Revolution accelerating and leaving behind one of the fastest 15ft Sit On Tops.
The best thing about the Revolution 13 is that it’s great to paddle as well as pedal, not all Hobies have an efficient hull shape like the Revolution. I got into this from a kayaking background and I still like to grab a paddle and leave the drive system at home, and the Revolution works well for this. It will also handle rougher water and is probably the most versatile hull shape within the Hobie range.
Hobie Rev for fishing:
I personally come from a kayaking and shore fishing background with 20 years experience of both, so for me kayak fishing is the dream hobby. I still surf kayaks and paddle seakayaks and while I’m still a passionate shore angler, shore fishing in the UK isn’t what it once was.
I find that I spend most of my time kayak fishing, although I like to paddle a variety of kayaks including Ocean Kayak and other brands which I enjoy all very much, the Hobie Revolution is still my personal weapon of choice.
I kayak fish 12 months of the year and sometimes in challenging conditions, from summer & autumn lure fishing for Bass, to cold winter nights sat in the deep water pits in estuaries fishing baits on the bottom for Ray and Cod. In my opinion the Hobie Rev is suitable for all aspects of kayak fishing.
My favourite time of year for kayak fishing is summer/autumn; Lure fishing the Devon and Cornish coastlines of an evening or first light. The Hobie Revolution is lethal for lure fishing as you have your hands free to cast and work the lure whilst on the move. No paddle kayak can give you the ability to manoeuvre your kayak around reefs and gulley’s whilst you maintain total control of your fishing rod and lure.
If I’m peddling along parallel to a reef and I like the look of a gulley, I’ll cast a plug/lure in whilst on the move or holding station against the current.
Hobies also give you a huge advantage when lure fishing for species such as Bass in shallower water by allowing you to troll a lure over ground you’re kayak has not just passed over.
I’ll explain...... I approach a reef or feature at an angle, cast whilst on the move over my shoulder and then hit the rudder control with my left hand and steer away from where the lure landed whilst still letting line out.
I then flip the bale arm over and engage the reel and continue to steer the kayak close to the edge of the reef. This gives me the ability to work the lure through a fair distance of water that my kayak has not just passed over (spooks fish).
Try it – you’ll catch more bass.
The Hobies aren’t just great for Lure fishing, they’re great when fishing on the drift too. They allow you to point your bow into the direction the current/wind and by peddling gently you can slow down your drift to whatever speed is required to maximise your chances.
This works a treat when drifting sand bars for Plaice or Floundering in estuaries. It works so well for me when drift fishing that ‘I’ve never used the drogue I bought’.
Being able to peddle whilst fishing has advantages when bottom fishing too. We normally spend our winters fishing the bottom with big baits for Cod and Ray in the shelter of the deep water estuaries such as the Tamar, the Fowey and the Fal.
I like to sit at anchor and down-tide two rods normally baited with lug, squid and crab cocktails, but sometimes on the bigger tides, anchoring the kayak just isn’t safe.
Our most productive sessions have been in the dark on the bigger spring tides, with currents of 3-4 knots, and with other boat activity near-by making anchoring too risky.
We’ve found that pointing the bow into the current and peddling briskly will hold you still in these conditions and an 8-10oz led will get your bait to the bottom.
These Cod were caught on a cold December night in the River Tamar, where we felt anchoring would have been dangerous and the Hobie Kayaks really proved their worth.
So, 10 reasons why I love my Hobie Rev:
1 - Hands free kayaking means I can work a lure whilst on the move = lethal for Bassing.
2 – I can cast a lure or retrieve whilst on the move.
3 – I can change speed and direction whilst still maintaining control of my rod.
4 – I can hold my position whilst fishing in current without anchoring.
5 – I can control the speed of my drift when fishing for flat-fish.
6 - I can rig up or bait up whilst making my way out to the mark.
7 – I can paddle or peddle – whatever I fancy doing that day = double fitness.
8 - Its fast, reasonably stable and light enough for a one person lift.
9 – It has an efficient hull shape that paddles and peddles like a proper kayak should.
10 – It’s Yellow
Why did I choose a Revolution 13 over other Hobies?
The first Hobie I actually owned was an Outback, and it was fine; a super stable fishing platform.
I soon changed it for a Revolution 13 though, as I wanted a little more speed and the Outback felt just too big for my build (I’m 12 stone and 5’9’’). With a guy my size on-board the Outback simply felt too big and cumbersome.
The Outback is more suited to a larger person or someone who is after maximum stability. I like the Revolution 13 as it has an efficient hull shape that paddles great too.
Most Outback owners would agree that it peddles great, but can be hard work when paddling due to the hull shape and width.
I considered the Hobie Adventure which is the 16ft model, but I had to be practical about how easy it would be for me to load on a van roofrack on my own. This is why I went for the Revolution 13 – personal preferences of course.
‘Olduffer’ owns a Hobie Outback and for him it’s perfect, but he’s 15 stone + and after something more stable. See here for Olduffers Outback Review.
You may also be interested in the Revolution 11 if you’re looking for a lighter kayak that is easier to store and transport, although slightly slower with less distance capabilities. Review coming soon.
Hobies have quite a high pricetag, but I believe that ‘you get what you pay for’; and for me and the amount of enjoyment and use I’ve had out of my Rev; it’s a bargain.
All Hobie Kayaks are extremely well equipped and very feature rich. Here’s some of what you get as standard with the Revolution 13:
Large Bow Hatch – easily fits over-night equipment, battery for fish-finder & my C-Tug trolley.
Storage - 2 x Round hatches, one in the stern and one centre with tackle box. I’ve got to be honest here, I don’t really use the rear round hatch, but the centre hatch with tackle box is fantastic. It holds enough spare weights, terminal tackle and a couple of lures. The hatches are of a solid construction and open/close with a ‘twist and stow’ mechanism.
Rod Holders - 2 x Flush mount rear Rod Holders
Over-stern rudder- Peddling alone does not allow you to steer like when just using a kayak paddle, so a rudder is essential and comes as standard on all Hobie kayaks. The rudder is controlled fully from where you sit, with a lowering and uphaul chord either side of the cockpit area – really easy to use. To the left of your left thigh is the steering lever which is very responsive and exactly in the right place so that you can control your steering whilst still peddling at full speed. The turning circle is very impressive and you can even buy a larger rudder blade if required for an even tighter turning circle.
Paddle Park – The Hobie drive system ‘does not go backwards’. You can place your paddle safely and easily within reach on either the left or right hand side paddle parks. Use your paddle when in shallow water, launching, landing or going backwards.
Paddle - A 2 piece glass shaft paddle comes with the kayak.
Seat - undoubtedly the best seat in the industry. This seat is unreal – it has plugs that twist and expand into lugs in the kayak securing the seat and stopping it sliding. It is super robust and the most comfortable seat I’ve ever used on a kayak. It even has a lumbar pad that fills with air through an automatic valve for extra padding.
Sail mast - All Hobies can be sailed, and you can buy a down-wind sail kit that is simple and easy to rig. The kayaks come with a purpose built sail-mast holder.
Fitting a fishfinder/GPS???
The Rev is much barrower than Outback and the drive system means you have limited space for fitting a fishfinder.
I solved this by mounting a 10mm thick plastic platform in front of the drive system.
I then ran all the cabling to the battery and transducer through the mast holder (as I have no intention sailing my Rev) and sealed the mast holder.
This works for me, as I am only 5’9’’ tall so I worked out that I could do this and still fully extend the peddles. N.B – A taller person might kick the screen so please be careful and plan thoroughly before mounting anything.
We sell a number of ‘Ram’ mounts that can be used for fitting fish finders. If you want any help or advice, please email me at email@example.com
The Erk (a.k.a SWYAKER)
For The Canoe Shops (Group) Ltd.
Hobie Revolution 13:
- Large Covered Bow Hatch
- Lowrance Ready
- Rear Cargo Area with Bungee®Tie Downs
- Sail Mount
- Twist and Stow Rudder
- Two 8” Twist and Seal Hatches with Gear Bucket
- Two Mesh-Covered Stowage Pockets
- Two Molded-In Rod Holders
- Two-Piece Paddle with On-Hull Storage
- Vantage CT Seating
Length: 4.09 m / 13' 5"
Width: 0.72 m / 28.5"
Height: 0.38 m / 15"
Capacity: 159 kg / 350 lbs
Fitted Hull Weight: 31.52 kg / 69.5 lbs
Fully Rigged Weight: 37.56 kg / 82.8 lbs