Hobie Tandem Island: The Features that Set It Apart from Its Competitors

hobie tandem island
Hobie tandem island via Hobie

You have always been a fan of the water and always enjoy the chance to borrow a kayak and tool around for a few hours. You also love to fish, and ultimately, you would like to be able to get yourself a kayak that also allows for fishing. Have you heard of the Hobie Tandem Island? This great kayak is strong enough for reeling in big fish, but there’s another side to it: It’s a sailboat too. If you are looking to invest in your hobby and make it a regular event, check out the review below for more details on this exciting alternative.

What Type of Product Is the Hobie Tandem Island?

The Hobie Tandem Island, a part of the Mirage line of products, is a kayak combined with a sailboat. It allows two people to catch the wind and venture off to engage in a multitude of activities, including fishing. The Tandem Island is the perfect melding of sailboat and kayak to create a craft that can glide across the water via paddles or pedals (more on that feature below) or you and your crewmate can relax and let the wind carry you around while you take in some new sites along the banks of your favorite body of water.

What Are the Main Components of the Tandem Island?

The Hobie Tandem is a kayak that can be transformed into a sailboat. The way this is accomplished is through the installation of a sturdy mast, plus ama and aka supports, which keep the kayak level even in poor weather conditions. The sail can be folded down quickly and stowed in a bag. The use of the sail does not decrease smooth riding conditions but can reduce stability and control in windy conditions on rough seas.

The Tandem comes with paddles for quick steering maneuvers that can’t otherwise be accomplished by the dual rudder system. If you are on the hunt for fish and happen to find a school to follow, the Tandem will be easy enough to maneuver and comfortable enough to follow the fish wherever they may wind up going.

The Tandem is also filled with storage opportunities to keep your stuff stowed away safely and perfectly dry for the duration of your trip.

Three other features of the Hobie Tandem that are worth mentioning specifically are:

1.  Hobie Kayak Vantage Seating System

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The Vantage seating system was created with your comfort in mind. Being out on the water for an extended period of time can be hard on your body. The more comfortable you are, the more you’ll be able to stay out and enjoy yourself. That’s where the Vantage seat comes in. It has four points of adjustability at the back, bottom, lumbar support and height.

2. Hobie MirageDrive 180

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One of the most exciting breakthroughs pioneered by Hobie is its patented Hobie Mirage Drive 180. If you haven’t seen it in action, you should visit their website and watch the demonstration. The MirageDrive strives to get you where you want to go in the water faster and more accurately than regular paddling alone. Instead of utilizing your arms, shoulders and upper back, all you do is pedal. Being able to use just your legs allows your arms to remain free for fishing.

3. Optional Equipment

While the components listed above all come standard on the Hobie Tandem Island, the following are some extra elements you can add on to boost your boating experience.

  • Livewell: If you are looking to take your angling to the next level, then you may want to consider adding one of the Livewell fresh bait tanks to take along with you. The tanks, offered in 8-gallon size, come with a rechargeable battery to keep the water aerated and bait fish alive. Depending on what your needs are, there are three versions available: Livewell, Livewell V2 and the Livewell XL.
  • Electric Motor: To ensure you’ll make it back to shore even in the harshest conditions, or maybe you want to expand your roving area, adding an electric motor to the Tandem Island may be something to consider. Choose from a few versions of the Hobie Evolve Electric Motor.
  • Aka Trampolines: Storage on the Tandem Island is ample; however, it may not always be the most convenient. If you want to add surface area for storage, reduce the amount of spray that is kicked up and help you shift your weight better in harsher conditions, you may want to consider adding a trampoline to the tandem. Trampolines can also hold children enabling you to make the Tandem Island a family craft.
  • Beach Dolly: The Tandem is not the lightest craft to put to the water’s edge. Hobie has you covered with a fold-and-stow beach dolly that weighs less than 5 pounds. The dolly makes it simple to tote your Tandem from the car, across the beach or grass, and finally down to the water.
Tandem Components and Additional Features

How Easy Is the Tandem Island To Handle?

Easy steering options, deployment and retraction of the sail along with the opportunity to pedal versus paddle makes the Tandem Island one of the most comprehensive and versatile kayaks in existence. Standard features such as dual control rudder make steering the Tandem Island easier. Furling controls help to deploy or bring in the sail from the cockpit at any time. Ratcheting controls allow for adequate storage of items in times of rough water.


How Difficult Is Setup and Takedown of the Tandem Island?

Your Tandem Island comes with all the components necessary to make it an excellent sea-going vessel. However, setting up those components won’t always be easy. While Hobie does a great job getting the elements to work together to transform the kayak into a sailboat, the vessel as a whole can be heavy, cumbersome to maneuver and set up and take down can be tricky. Hobie does its best to aid you in this with easy to use directions, marked slots for essential items and even convenient carrying handles.

Ease of Setting UpEase of Use

How Long Will the Tandem Last?

This question can only be answered by how well the craft is cared for in and out of the water. The craftsmanship and materials used in making the Tandem are durable enough to withstand decades of use. However, if the customer doesn’t follow Hobie’s recommendations for care and use, it could degrade quickly and break.


Dependent upon care and use

Hobie Tandem Island Specifications

Length18 feet 6 inches
Width30 inches
Capacity15.5 inches
Fitted Hull Weight17 inches
Fully Rigged Weight4 feet
Hull Construction10 feet
Capacity600 pounds
Fitted Hull Weight130 pounds
Fully Rigged Weight240 pounds
Mast Length18 feet
Sail Area90 feet
Hull ConstructionRotomolded Polyethylene
Paddles IncludedYes (two)

How the Hobie Tandem Island Compares To Other Kayak Sailboats

The Hobie Tandem Island is a unique product. So much so that we were only able to find one other watercraft that was anything like it. What we found though were conversion kits to turn existing kayaks into sailboats. We’ve included a review of one such kit below. We also found that there was no shortage of inflatable kayaks, which we didn’t feel were worth comparing to the Hobie Tandem as they are not in the same category of performance and construction.

1. Triak

Length18 feet 2 inches
Width24 inches
Width (assembled)8 feet 6 inches
Capacity440 pounds
Hull Weight68 pounds
All-up Weight110 pounds
Mast Weight12 feet
Main Sail Area41 square feet
Spinnaker Area49.5 square feet
Hull ConstructionFiberglass with honeycomb core
Paddles IncludedYes (one)


  • Ultra lightweight material and construction make it easily transportable for one person;
  • easy setup and breakdown;
  • sail rigging can be raised and lowered fairly easily


  • Only one person can use at a time; no room for extras;
  • not too much storage;
  • not crafted for long-term use as a fishing vessel
Construction QualityEase of UseEase of Setting UpWarranty

2. Any-Kayak Upwind Sail Rig With Hydro-Dynamic Stabilizers

Company: Sailboats to Go

Product description: If you have ever wanted to convert your kayak into a sailboat without causing damage to the hull, the Any-Kayak Upwind Sail Rig may be what you’re looking for. The mast and all stabilizing rigging connect to your vessel via straps and clips (provided). The kit includes two leeboards to help with upwind navigation, a 45-square foot sail (nylon) and hydrodynamic stabilizer floats.


  • Cheaper alternative, especially if you own a sea-ready kayak;
  • various optional upgrades available to add more sail, stabilizers, etc. to meet your needs;
  • won’t damage the kayak;
  • lightweight system


  • Stability may be an issue; not for use in a high-wind or choppy water environment;
  • may not be sturdy;
  • straps or clips may break and fall off
Construction QualityEase of UseEase of Setting Up

Pros and Cons of the Hobie Tandem Island

When compared to the Triak, the Tandem Island has more space, storage and room for a second crewmate. Since the Tandem Island is such a unique product, comparing it to others is difficult. We did not include information about inflatable kayaks because they are definitely not as well-constructed as the Tandem.


  • Heavy-duty construction means longer-lasting material unlike inflatable models
  • Two-person crew allows you to take a partner along, unlike the Triak which is made for solo riders
  • Pedal instead of paddle with the Hobie Mirage Drive freeing your arms up for fishing
  • Vantage seats are comfortable for long trips unlike the standard seats on other kayaks
  • Ample storage
  • Two-year limited warranty for manufacturing defects
  • High weight capacity (600 pounds) which allows for 200 pounds more than the Triak


  • Expensive compared to a sail conversion kit or the Triak
  • It is relatively heavy compared to the Triak


Whether you’re a pro in the kayak department or just trying to find something you could really develop a passion for, the Hobie Tandem Island is a great product. The craftsmanship, components and innovative elements (the pedaling is a nifty standard feature) make the craft one that can perform for years to come. It gives you a ton of options as far as what kind of vessel you want it to be. It can be a casual-use craft or a fast-paced fishing vessel. You can add some trampolines and take the family out for a beautiful, relaxing float down the river or grab a fishing buddy and hunt down marlin as they migrate. The choice is yours because, with a product like the Hobie Tandem Island, you have virtually limitless options. The expense of the Tandem Island is high, but the fact it is so well-made and it is a rarity, makes it worth the investment in the long run. If you already own a kayak, buying a sail conversion kit may be the best way for you to have the best of both worlds on a budget. However, if you are looking at purchasing a vessel and a sail, the Tandem Island is a product that is worth the higher expense.

Last update on 2024-07-13 at 03:35 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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