What if you didn’t need a paddle, or need to know how to surf, to enjoy a paddleboard? The world’s first leg-powered stand up board is the Hobie Mirage Eclipse. It’s been riding on a huge wave of popularity since it came out in the spring of 2016. You can literally step onto it and go; it’s like walking on water.
You can probably call this watercraft a “pedalboard” because pedaling is what you’ll do to ride it. There are two pedals for your feet. Shift your weight back and forth and the board moves forward. It’s kind of like riding an elliptical or a stair-stepper that moves on water. Beginners find it easier than they expected.
To help your balance and steering, there is an aluminum handlebar with calipers on the grips. Squeeze the right caliper and the board turns right. Press on the left caliper and the board moves left. These calipers move the molded rubber rudder underneath the board. Once you move into shallow water, the rudder kicks up out of the way automatically so you won’t hurt it if you run aground. You can also lock it into place it in order to use the Eclipse as a standard paddleboard.
You can see how easy it is to ride the Mirage Eclipse in this brief video. Anyone can enjoy it. It’s designed to fit both children and adults. It’s simple enough for a beginner, but can still give a workout to an athlete. Plus, while beginners will appreciate calm water, you can turn the Eclipse into a regular stand up board for wave riding. Let’s look at the details of how it’s built and what it can do.
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A closer look at the Hobie Mirage Eclipse 10.5
The Mirage Eclipse suits a wide range of riders in part because the handlebar is adjustable. It can raise and lower between 36 and 43 inches in height. The board itself supports up to 225 pounds of weight and it turns well. If you’re a heavier rider, if you carry gear with you, or if you race, you might opt for the other version of this board, which tracks a little better.
There are actually two models of the Mirage Eclipse, the 10.5 and the 12. The 12 is twelve feet long and it holds up to 275 pounds. The 10.5 is 33.5 inches wide and ten and a half feet long, and it weighs about 5 pounds less than the 48-pound 12-foot model. But the 12-foot model is actually the faster of the two boards.
Both models are made from ACX, Advanced Composite Epoxy. Their design is the results of Hobie’s decades of experience creating watercraft. The Hobie Mirage was inspired by the MirageDrive Kayak with its pedal drive, the Hobie cat (or catamaran) series, and their surfboards, too.
Now the pedal drive makes it possible to take stand up paddle surfing to a new level. You can enjoy the stand up board by yourself, or bring along your dog or some gear. There are bungee tie-downs right behind the standing area.
There’s a lot of room on the deck, and the surface has good traction because of an EVA deckpad. Pull off the handlebar, lock the rudder like a tracking skeg, pull out the pedal drive, and grab your paddle for some traditional-style action on the water. You can also kneel and paddle if you like.
If you’re curious about stand up paddle boarding, here is some background on how this sport came into existence.
History of paddle surfing
You may have seen people paddle boarding, or you may have gone yourself. It’s a sport that developed from surfing in Hawaii. Traditionally, in centuries past, Hawaiian surfers used paddles to control their long boards.
In the 1940s, surf instructors in Hawaii started “Beach Board surfing.” The practice continued up through the next fifty years until it became popular enough to be included in the Buffalo Big Board Contest. Now there’s even a Standup World Series championship for racing boards.
The Hobie Mirage Eclipse turns paddle boards into pedal boards, opening this sport up to new participants that might not be able to enjoy it otherwise.
Accessories for the Hobie Mirage Eclipse
Hobie makes accessories for the Mirage that they sell separately. But before we discuss them, did you know that the Mirage comes in either blue or yellow? You can choose either color.
One very handy thing to have is their cart for transporting the board. If you’re with a friend, it’s not hard to carry the 43-pound pedal board between two people. But if you need to move it alone, the cart is very useful.
Another accessory that makes this fun stand up board even more enjoyable is the cup holder and universal phone mount. You can stay hydrated and have your camera ready for action shots or beautiful landscape views of the coastline.
You can also purchase a protective cover for the board to keep it safe during transport and storage. Or get a H-crate to hold your fishing gear for an early morning on the lake.
Hints for having a good time on the Hobie pedalboard
When you ride the Mirage Eclipse, you can’t go into reverse or hit the brakes even though the calipers for steering might remind you of riding a bike. Instead, when you’re coming toward the beach or the dock, stop pedaling ahead of time to gauge your speed. Leave one pedal up and the other down to keep the fins out of the way if you’re coasting up toward the sand. Don’t worry about the rudder, it kicks up out of the way in shallow water.
When you’re turning, don’t bother to lean, It’s not necessary. You might end up in the water if you try to lean into a turn. If you need to make a quick turn, pedal faster, and the board turns faster.
As people around the world have discovered, the Hobie Mirage Eclipse is the new fun way to enjoy being out on the water. If you love water sports and getting a workout, this is the best of both worlds.