Hobie Compass First Impressions | Kayak Angler Magazine | Rapid Media
The Hobie Compass Images by Ric Burnley

A great pedal-drive boat with a sub 2k price tag

Rumors were circling about big news from Hobie all summer, but the cat got out of the bag at Paddlesports Retailer tradeshow in Madison Wisconsin. We had to wait until the last week of August to get our hands on the new Compass, a completely fresh boat from the oldest name in pedal power. 

With a wide range of models and sizes available to anglers, Hobie’s gurus designed the Compass to be a boat for everyman. The convenient 12-foot water line, 34-inch beam and 68-pound weight make the Compass a perfect fit for any water way and any lifestyle. A sub-2K price tag makes the Compass perfect fit for any budget, too.

Hobie Compass3
A gear well with mesh covered offers a quick and easy place to throw gear. 

We knew all this before arriving at Paddlesports Retailer’s on the water demo. We didn’t know how the boat would perform. 

Hobie mixed design features from their most popular boats. The Compass has an aggressive, pointed bow to cut through waves and cleave the water. At just one inch wider than the Outback, the boat maneuvers like the original favorite. The stern is wide like a Pro Angler and a pontooned hull increase stability for a rock solid fishing platform. 

Hobie Compass2
The Compass seat is comfortable on and off the boat. 

Pedaling the boat in the small pond at the demo day we were impressed with the speed and handling. Standing and sitting were no problem. The Compass uses a simplified version of the Vantage CT seat that includes the same comfortable mesh material with a few less adjustment points. Like the Vantage CT, the Compass seat can be removed from the kayak to make a beach chair. Speed, handling and comfort are on par with any Hobie. 

So, where did they make cuts? The replaced the bow hatch with a gear well and mesh cover, which many anglers, especially stand-up fishermen, find more convenient for gear you need to access quickly. The seat doesn’t have as many adjustment points, but it is just as comfortable. They still included a huge center hatch in the deck with a gear caddy for dry storage. And two molded in rod holders behind the seat make the boat ready to fish off the shelf. 

Hobie Compass4
Hobie hid the rudder under the stern for improved control.

One of the biggest savings came in the rudder. The Compass rudder is hidden below the stern, like the Pro Angler, keeping it out of the way of fishing lines. The system is simplified which saved time and money at the factory. 

The big difference, instead of Hobie’s new MirageDrive 180 with reverse, Hobie includes the proven Glide drive with the Compass. Even without a reverse gear, the Glide drive pushes the Compass at a respectable speed and provides plenty of control. 

After pedaling the Compass all over the demo day pond and pushing all the levers and buttons, we couldn’t find anything missing from the newest vessel in Hobie’s fleet, except about a thousand dollars missing from the price.

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