Hobie Mirage Eclipse Review
The Hobie Mirage Eclipse - Pedalboard
One of the most exciting products to hit our shores this summer has been the new Hobie Mirage Eclipse. Due to the incredible buzz surrounding this latest Hobie innovation and worldwide demand exceeding supply, our first delivery of boards were all immediately sent out to waiting customers with none left for us to try! However Canoe Shops Group have now received a second delivery and we were able to finally get to play with the latest Hobie watercraft.
The Eclipse is based around a sleek stable paddle board hull, into which Hobie have fitted their tried and tested Mirage Drive. For those of you not familiar with the Hobie Kayak brand, they have been producing high quality kayaks with a unique pedal drive system for many years now. The latest Mirage Drive kayak range spans fast touring boats, tandems and even dedicated fishing craft and has been incredibly successful introducing thousands of newcomers and enthusiasts alike to a new way of self propelled fun on the water.
Out of the box the Eclipse arrived fully assembled and exactly how you would transport it to the water. Once at the beach it was a simple matter of carrying the board down to the waters edge then nipping back to the car for the drive, handlebars and flip up rudder. Hobie also supply a custom bag for the Eclipse as well as a specially designed trolley if you have a little way to walk to the waterside in or you live near the beach. It really is a one minute job to set up the board – first the handlebars are clipped into the deck and the rudder lines pushed together. Then all that remains is to fix the flip rudder into the back slot, slide the board into the water (the rudder flips up in the shallows) and drop in the drive system which clips in securely with a satisfying ‘clunk’. In our opinion a very useful accessory would be a leash attached to the board and drive, which just gives you that extra piece of mind. The handlebars can be adjusted up and down for height.
Standing on the board the first thing that strikes you is how stable the hull is. It hardly moved when we jumped on and the feeling of stability remained for the whole test. The board we tested was 35” wide and 12’ long and designed to take a rider up to 125kg. There is also a 10’6” version for lighter riders. The deck pad is very thick, comfortable and importantly extremely grippy. There is very little learning curve – just stand on the two pedal pads, grab the handle bars and start moving your legs! Its almost exactly like a gym step machine but with a much better view! The Eclipse is steered using the two ‘brake levers’ on the handle bar connected to the rudder using cables. It was so intuitive and manoeuvrable that any rider could be whizzing around under full control within a few minutes – just remember they aren’t brakes!
Once we had mastered the basics it was time to head out along the coast for some sea trials. Even with fairly gentle peddling the Eclipse moves faster than the average sit-on-top kayak. With more vigorous leg movement the Hobie will outpace even faster sea kayaks and soon my colleague was struggling to keep up in a conventional 13ft touring kayak. Both of us noted that it was very easy to maintain a faster pace on the Hobie than either a standard SUP or a kayak. You really don’t notice the effort but when back on the beach we both felt our legs had had a fair amount of exercise. There is far less effort being put into staying upright than on a standard paddleboard and that effort can be directed into forward motion. The handlebars feel very natural to hold if you are used to cycling and the general feeling is as smooth as being on a piece of gym equipment – but one with an ever changing view. Hobie have been in the watercraft game for a long time and it shows. The hull is shaped so that water sheds easily over the bow when slicing into waves and the flat rear section gives a secure stable feeling when turning.
The overall feeling of ease and stability means that even in October we were perfectly happy to jump aboard the Hobie wearing shorts and a rash vest (plus a PFD of course!) safe in the knowledge that we weren’t going in the drink. For those using the Eclipse on flat water, rivers and lakes it would be perfectly feasible to wear normal sports clothing with a cag for wind protection on colder days. Any equipment needed for the days paddle can be safely secured in a drybag clipped under the bungee on the rear deck and thanks to the huge stability of the platform it is very easy to access this whilst out on the water. In addition a Hobie drinks bottle holder is available which fits on the handlebars for hydration on the move.
All too soon it was time to spin the board around and head back. On a sandy beach it would be fine to just gently nose the Eclipse into the shore with the fins splayed out against the hull ( one pedal pushed down, one up) and just walk off onto dry land but with Brighton shingle we found slipping the drive unit out before stepping off in calf high water was the easiest way to avoid being caught in any small waves at the last minute. Perhaps it might be worth having a spare SUP paddle clipped under the rear bungee for helping with the last few feet – in fact the Eclipse can be paddled as a (very stable) normal paddle board anyway with the handlebar removed and the rudder fixed in the central position to act as a skeg, easily done with the small locking nut.
Then it was a simple matter to lift the board out of the water, disconnect the handlebars and carry it up the beach before dropping it on the car roof with the accessories going in the boot. Normally at this point after a kayak or SUP session it would be time for the normal car park changing dance but as we were both completely dry all that remained was to stroll over to the beach cafe for some well earned post exercise refreshments.
Rob - Brighton Canoes
For The Canoe Shops Group Ltd.
- The revolutionary Hobie Mirage Drive Pedal System
- Fully adjustable handle bars with fingertip steering
- Tie downs at the stern for gear storage
- Easy and Quick to transport and assemble
- Stable and Lightweight ACX composite hull
- No prior SUP'ing experience required
- Drive system and handle bars can be removed to use as a normal SUP
We stock and sell products from the leading manufacturers from around the world.
Mirage Eclipse 10.5
Fitted Hull Weight: 19.6kg
Fully Rigged Weight: 24.5kg
Mirage Eclipse 12
Fitted Hull Weight: 21.7kg
Fully Rigged Weight: 26.7kg