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The Eclipse

On Friday I had the opportunity to try out the new Hobie Mirage Eclipse SUP (Stand Up Pedalboard. I heard alot about it and after seeing the videos put out by Hobie I was hoping to get to try one out. I saw the potential for a very cool flyfishing platform, er....I mean a cool watercraft for my wife who loves her SUP.  When I found out our rep was bringing two for the Saturday demo at Wild River Outfitters, I asked if I could borrow it for a while on Friday. I met him after my morning charter and returned to Rudee inlet for a shakedown. Here is a great shot showing theEclipse beside an Outback this eclipse is th 12 foot model it also comes in 10 feet.

After getting comfortable I attached my H-crate, strapped in my favorite flyrod and went on the hunt.

I fished for a few hours and truly enjoyed the standing perspective, but my legs were burning. just as I was going to beach the Eclipse for more photos, I hooked up with a nice bluefish but it bit theough the leader and was gone. So on to the beach for the run down on how the Eclipse works.

THe heart of the Eclipse is it's specially designed Mirage drive. Although the basics are the same as the Mirage drive, the Eclipse drive has some interesting additions. The first is the much larger fins, they are wider than the standard Mirage fins and wrap around a larger shaft. The actually articulate and are more efficient than the original fins. (I am hoping to see these implemented on the standard Mirage drives very soon.) The second difference is the pedals rather than a horizontal motion, it's a vertical motion, much like a stair stepper. So again heavier duty arms are employed. 

The drive fits in a well just like the Hobie kayaks and automatically locks in. The pedals are swung up out of the way to place the drive, and closed back on top of the arms.

Steering is controlled by brake like levers on the handle bars, Squeezing the right trigger turns right and squeezing the left makes you steer left. The height of the bar is also adjustable.

The triggers control the rudder witch is shockcorded so it will retract if you find yourself in the skinny water. Just like the standard Mirage drive if you run aground you can butterly the fins, or simply pull them out of the well until deeper water is reached.

Put this all together with a super cool SUP hull and you have an awesome watercraft. Its very efficient and moves along very well, faster than most folks can paddle an SUP. Its very responsive and seems tippy at first but after a while you get used to it. The key is not to overcontrol it, relax and enjoy th ride. The pedals are designed to allow you to adjust the effort needed by simply moving you feet to the front or the back of the pedal. The closer to the bow the shorter the throw, hence the easier the stroke, move back for more resistance and power. After my shakedown I had to get my wife's opinion of the Eclipse. She brought the boys and after getting used to it she took each of them for a ride. Which is an attestment to the stability of the Eclipse.

Kelly loved th Eclipse and I am sure we will be adding this craft to our livery of Hobies very soon. So if you want to try one out, check out your local dealer. If your in central Virginia, the next opportunity to demo will be at Appomattox River Company's Big Demo Day coming up on June 11 from 9 till 3. Ill be there stop by and say Hello.



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