Mirage Kayaks: Expedition Sea Kayaks Made in Australia

Here’s our interview with Mirage Kayaks – Makers of high quality expedition sea kayaks. Designed and made in Australia.

How did Mirage Kayaks start?

Mirage Sea Kayaks was started back in 1988, by kayaker Paul Hewitson. He is a master craftsman and hand carved the first 4/5 kayaks that were in his range.

His early models were: Mirage 17  – Mirage 19 and the Mirage 7.3m double.

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The brand was sold exclusively at ‘Canoe Specialists’. This was the business that evolved to become Sydney Harbour Kayaks – the business that I purchased 13 years ago.

This history was the reason why I purchased Mirage from Paul 7 years ago.

We now have a very complete range of kayaks:

3 Traditional Sea Kayaks – Mirage 520 (5.2m), 532 (5.3m) and the 582 (5.8m)

2 Open Deck Sea Kayaks – Mirage 583 (5.8m) and 533 (5.3m)

2 Double Sea Kayaks – Mirage 730 (7.3m) and the Mirage 600 (6m)

The M583 ‘freeride’ sea kayak in action.

What’s a kayak for you?

Kayaking and the business of kayaking are my life and deep passion. I love building our business and the products that we offer and I love being a driver of the Industry. I still get out on the water a few time each week and personally guide my own tours.

I am responsible for the following:

Sydney Harbour Kayaks – Tours, Lessons, Sales and Rental

Murray River Adventures – Kayak Eco Tours

Mirage Sea Kayaks – High-end Composite Sea Kayaks

My team also manage a couple of marathon paddle sports races:

Massive Murray Paddle – 52 year old event that is paddled over 5 days for 404km

Black Swan Creek Marathon – 46km Creek Race

Andrew McAuley’s sea kayak

What distinguishes Mirage Kayaks from other kayaking businesses?

Our diversity across all areas of the industry.

What’s your biggest challenge right now?

The overall weather has been crazy, this has dropped general tour and rental numbers a little. There are also several other new tour operators that have set up close to us.

What’s the most popular kayak that you sell?

It is evenly split between the Mirage 532 and the 582 – both traditional expedition sea kayaks, however we still see strong numbers with the 583 open deck ‘freeride sea kayak’
Mirage 582

Are you still improving your kayaks? if yes, how?

Every day we work on new composite architecture, new accessories and new models. As I have a large rental fleet of 100 sea kayaks, we have the ability to really test out new builds, in a high volume (and abusive) situation with many thousands of customers.

Which of your models would you recommend to a beginner paddler?

The best would be the Mirage 532, it is beautifully balanced and simple to paddle, however an experienced paddler can feel comfortable in this kayak in some big seas and open water.
Mirage 532: great for beginners

Which model is more suited to an advanced paddler?

This would be our 582, it has a very long and deep history in full expedition sea kayaking and large open ocean crossings.

This sea kayak has made more trips from the Australian mainland over to Tasmania, more than any other kayak combined. People love the overall handling of this kayak as well as the responsive rudder system and large loads that it can manage, still tracking beautifully.

Mirage 582

Do you have something new coming out for 2020?

We just launched the Mirage 533 Open deck – a very cool open deck, based on the hull of our 532. It is very nibble and with its tight hull rocker, it is amazing in the surf and can easily cut back on waves and surfs very smoothly.

During 2020, we will upgrade a couple of older models with more modern features and the molding to accommodate more of our IRT processes (Infused Resin Transfer)

We are also looking for a few International distributors to allow us to reach further in to a few more overseas markets.

Andrew McAuley.

Tell us something people might be surprised to learn about Mirage kayaks.

We have made a lot of fully customised sea kayaks, however our most famous build was to manufacture the sea kayak for Andrew McAuley.

Andrew set off 13 years ago to sea kayak from Tasmania to NewZealand, he tracked perfectly straight for over 60 days (he was never more then 1km off course) Unfortunately within 60km of land, he got into trouble and was separated from his kayak.

Andrew was tragically never to be seen again. His legacy really drives our company and our continued direction into expedition sea kayaking.

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