It's hard to get more basic than paddling and fishing—two of humankind's earliest ways of interacting with Mother Nature. The Hobie Quest 13 combines these two ancient arts in this purpose-built boat that incorporates the features fishermen need: Covered bow and stern stowage compartments, ample space for coolers, tackle boxes or camping gear, plus molded-in rod holders. A large rear cargo area provides storage for extra tackle, crate systems, or a Hobie Livewell. Plus, the Quest 13 can be fitted with Hobie's optional Twist and Stow rudder system, simplifying boat handling and allowing you to quietly stalk choice spots.
The Quest 13 kayak, produced by Hobie, is a solo paddle kayak with a sleek and swift hull. It has the ability for light touring but is more for the serious angler. The 13’ length along with the fully rigged weight of approx. 70 lbs. make this kayak easy to carry and maneuver by anyone. The hull features a large below deck stowage, ample space for tackle boxes or camping gear and built in molded rod holders for your trolling pleasure. Another large, bungee-secured stern cargo area accommodates everything from additional tackle to live bait and the optional Twist and Stow rudder with foot control will help keep you moving in the right direction. We highly recommend the Quest 13 as an all-around light touring boat or heavy use angler platform.
Bought the Quest a number of years ago after spending 2 weeks if testing 8 or 9 different kayaks. It has been a big part of my life since. Very comfortable and stable on the water, while being able to keep up with the pack regardless of what they are paddling. Build quality was also best of the boats U tried. Going a couple miles offshore to fish was easy. Enjoyed so much that I bought the revolution which is basically the same hull with the mirage drive, but more fun to fish in the currents offshore.
Now I live off the grid on a small island in Panama and paddle the Quest about 3 miles across dolphin bay every morning, and pedal the revolution when I am fishing. Actually I don't get to pedal much as the Revolution is the choice of most of our visitors, but having those 2 boats on our dock is a dream come true
The boat is stable, tracks well and has ample room for lots of stuff. The paddle holders are uber convenient, and the rod holders are a nice addition for those of us who fish. I thoroughly enjoy my time in this kayak, and while I have not faced truly big waves, she weathered 2-3 foot swells in Sound quite nicely.
If it's a solid open water boat you are looking for, the Quest 13 would serve you well. I am upgrading my son to a Quest 11 next year, that's how much I like mine.
I like the way the kayak "feels" on the water and it paddles well. The Quest 13 lacks the glide of my WS Tarpon 140, so I gave it a "9".
The Quest 13 tracks reasonably well but does require concentration to stay online. I intentionally did not get the rudder (At the suggestion of the dealer) to learn the proper handling and paddling skills first. Good Choice !
Finally, I really purchased the Quest at a good price and after selling my Wilderness on Craig's I would tell my friends to buy a Quest. I did water test both the 11 & 13 and both were great. My size dictated the 13 made more sense. I remain a loyal Hobie fan !!! Good design, good price, great dealers...
Quality: everything seems well made and holds together well. One of the nice thing about Hobies is the availability of spare parts, I go to my local Hobie Dealer and can replace things as needed. My old inner cargo nets were sun worn and needed replacing, they had them in stock and it was easy to replace. My local shop gave me an older style 8" hatch and I mounted in the stern where the Hobie logo is. Now I have an extra hatch for what ever. For fishing this has a huge rear area that will hold two milk crates with room to spare. My Kayak came with the rudder system and I find with the rudder she tracks well, with out it she tends not to. This boat was designed for fishing so the hull tends to be flat. I have gone over every Elkhorn Slough outside of Santa Cruz, CA and never ran aground in 4 inches of water. They claim you can stand in this but I have never tried that. It is very easy to get in and out of.
I give her a 9, the only draw back, it came with pre-molded hand grip in the hull, which I found uncomfortable and not very usable for any great distance, have since added a set of the normal handles on and that fixed the problem, and I understand they now come that way. I have used it a lot, and can say it is a good purchase and if you look at used Hobie prices they hold their value as well.
As far as the basics this kayak has you pretty much covered, a top notch quality hull with a flat finish on top and smooth on the bottom, and the following goodies:
I bought mine with the Fisherman kit, which came with a few extras;
Why a 8 out of 10 rating? The boat itself was a little wetter than I anticipated, sure if I was lighter it would probably be fine, but with a 350lb capacity I expected a little drier, not a biggie tho I can use scupper plugs, however if I could have demo'd it first I might have gone with a drier option. The tracking isn't great, I knew that when I bought it, it's not an issue when slow paddling, but if your trying to carry some speed and cover some distance it's a PITA, I will be putting the rudder on soon. The accessories, getting the buggy back on after a day on the water can be a pita, the seat could be a little higher, and the rod leash could be better.
The part I really like about the issues is they can all be corrected and I can make this work, I'll be paddling this for many years to come.
My only beef is the footwell stays wet, but you can ride your feet higher on the footrests to compensate.
Tracking: I've heard rumors of this boat not tracking well. I purchased the yak with the rudder system and have had no issues with its ability to track. Furthermore, with the rudder system, I was surprised with its ability to maintain a straight line.
Hatches: The front hatch, despite its likeness to a toilet bowl, is awesome. It is easily accessed and can fit a cow striper in the hull with no problem. The 8" hatch in the cockpit is nice, but I do agree with the previous review in the fact that it needs a bag system to get the maximum utilization.
Rod Holders: The cockpit offers up a flat section (just above the cup holder) between the leg rests that can be used for a front position rod holder (Scotty). The two molded in rod holders behind the seat are fairly shallow and would trust them in rough water. Two PVC pipes will do the trick to ensure you don't lose any gear.
Performance: I have no problem getting the boat up to 5mph with a little extra effort. Speed is sufficient. The hull slaps a little in rough water, but it really doesn't pose any problems. Stability of the boat is great.
Miscellaneous: The side compartments, with the mesh cover, are a great idea. I used it to store various tools, such as; lip gripper, pliers, knife, etc. This is a great idea and wish it was utilized in other yaks. The weight of the yak is tolerable for loading and unloading the yak off the roof of my truck. It's not Pungo light, but it’s certainly not Fish N dive heavy.
All in all, I love this boat. There is a sense of safety due to its stability and the comfort is unmatched as compared to other boats I have demo'd. I have fished long hours without the slightest soreness in the back or legs caused by poor layout. Fishing from this yak is easy and provides great storage capabilities. A little pricey, but I'd buy it again if I had to do it all over again.
My next trip with the Quest was out in the ocean off the coast of Mendocino. It took some effort getting through the surf, but with persistence I made it with only moderate heavy breathing. Once out in the ocean I again noticed my yak didn't track. Again I thought it was the wind but started having some doubts. I spent most of my paddling time concentrating on going in a straight line. If you like spinning around in random circles gawking at mother natures amazing beauty then by this kayak without a rudder. You will absolutely love it!
At one point I swapped yaks with my buddy. He has a Tarpon 120. It tracked very well without a rudder. I found his Tarpon way uncomfortable, but trackable. So I got back into mine and new I needed a rudder.
So now I have a rudder on my Quest and I absolutely love this kayak. I have rated it an 8 out of ten because I am pissed off about not getting a rudder when I bought the boat. That was just stupid and the sales people didn't educate me to this. Perhaps they did not know since it is so new to the kayak market.
That being said, this kayak is great. If you want a pretty fast yak that is probably the most comfortable SOT today, buy a Quest. The rudder system kicks ass and is very user friendly and intuitive. The adjustable foot rests are one of the points that sold me on this model. They are adjustable enough for me to get a tight, yet controlled fit... I feel as if I am in a Porsche 911.
The hatches are big and friendly. I ended up with some water inside, so I configured another secret bungee system and this seemed to help. The 8" nut hatch needs a bag inside so items stay easily accessed. What I really love is the HUGE tank well on the back. Room for two air tanks, or abalone gear, or milk crates, or bait boxes, or whatever. The more stuff I can get onto my yak the happier I am!
I paid about $1200 for the yak, seat, paddle, rudder, anchor, some extra straps, and of course... Uncle Sam.
If you did not read this whole review, DO NOT BUY THE QUEST WITHOUT A RUDDER!!!