Kim Kardashian, Grumpy Cat and Donald Trump get a lot of attention on social media. Add Hobie’s new MirageDrive Eclipse standup paddleboard to the list. When videos of the pedal-powered SUP hit the World Wide Web, readers went wild. “Does it work?” “Is it easy?” “Will it fish?” were some of the questions posted by prospective pedalers. The answers: yes, yes and yes.
I first pedaled the new Eclipse at Outdoor Retailer's Demo Day last summer. After zooming around the lake I couldn’t wait to get the board on the fishing grounds.
The Eclipse combines a sporty standup paddleboard with a modified MirageDrive pedal system and aluminum handlebars for a stable ride that goes fast.
The epoxy board is light and stiff. A modified race hull with a sharp entry and wide stern moves effortlessly through the water. At 12 feet long and 35 inches wide with MirageDrive fins and waist-high handlebars, the board is rock solid.
It’s stable enough to fish 360 degrees and carry a day’s worth of gear. To turn the board into a fishing vessel, I attached a tackle crate with the stern bungees. It would be easy to add rod holders and even electronics to the handlebars, but this board is best for quick trips and easy fishing.
The MirageDrive fins fit under foot pedals in the deck. Work the pedals like a StairMaster and the board zooms ahead. Squeeze hand controls on the handlebar to turn the collapsible rudder below. Set- up takes 30 seconds: drop the MirageDrive in the well, lower the pedals, stick the handlebars in a basemount and connect two cables from the rudder.
Pedaling was simple, but I wouldn’t call it easy. Working the pedals at a good clip gave me a buns-of-steel workout, while slowing down was easier on the gluteus maximus.
The best feature of the MirageDrive Eclipse is fun. Pedaling the board is a blast, and it gets a lot of attention from bystanders. As a fishing platform, it is fast and stable, perfect for making quick trips in sheltered waters. The biggest surprise is the combination of speed and stability. Usually the two qualities are mutually exclusive, but with the Eclipse, SUP anglers can have their cake and pedal it too.