When I got on the Hobie Mirage Eclipse 12, it was a pretty straightforward paddleboard made of advanced composite epoxy and a EVA foam deckpad. So I just jumped off the dock onto the deck and started flying around Orlando's Lake Ivanhoe. But when I started unpacking what it has going on, I realized it's one of the craziest watercraft I’ve ever been on.
Hobie calls it Mirage Standup, but to the layperson that means it’s the first leg-powered stand-up board.
This a a seriously fun board with virtually no learning curve, whether you are paddling it or you have the drive in and you’re walking around on the water.
Let's unpack how awesome this board is:
The tracking, first of all was really nice, even though the board seemed to sit high on top of the water a bit. I tried, with great difficulty to rock the board from side to side with enough momentum to flip it. I almost did, but I was literally putting all I had into it. Meaning: this thing is insanely difficult to tip.
Per typical Hobie paddle boards, this bad boy is a really fun flat-water board, which is pretty fantastic for Central Florida. There’s not a lot of rocker (front-to-back curvature), so I would keep it on flat water and stay away from rivers and only beaches with minimal amount of waves.
But besides being a badass Hobie paddleboard, this thing miraculously transforms into a one-part-scooter, one-part-stair-machine.
And the switch is simple!
You just lift up the two middle sections of the EVA foam padding and drop the drive in, which easily clicks into place. Then you put the foam padding back down to realize that those two sections are the pedals that you step on to propel you.
Engaging the drive is as simple as inserting the vertical pole for the handle bars and then connecting two cables (one for each pedal). To do this, you only have to take the two small cables already (discreetly) attached to the board and insert them into the loops of the cables attached to the bottom of the pole. Tough to describe, easy to accomplish.
What is amazing about this is your propulsion from that point on comes strictly from your leg movement. So, no paddle necessary. Yep, you ditch the paddle for the paddleboard. How do you turn? Great question. On the handlebars, there are triggers (similar to brakes on single-speed bicycles) called “fingertip rudder controls” that you pull to direct you a particular way. It is extremely easy.
Which means…you can fly on this thing. All you have to do is pump your legs. When I switched to the drive, it wasn’t too long before I realized I was more than half-way across the lake.
Orlando (and most Central Florida bodies of water) are fairly shallow, so I wanted to test it out in the shallows. On the way back to the dock, I intentionally took the board into the shallows and into the reeds to see how it responded. As with other Mirage drives, you can put the pedals flush with the bottom of the board so you can maneuver in the shallows.
Additionally, the board is 35 inches wide and 12 feet long, appropriate for riders 275 and under. The handlebars adjust from 36” to 43” in height to accommodate children and adults.
Not to mention, there’s a cargo bungee cord included for additional storage (or even to add a pet).
Overall, I really enjoyed the experience riding the Mirage Eclipse 12. A truly fun experience that lends a lot of flexibility, particularly if you have multiple people in your family that enjoy different experiences and particularly if you live in a place that has lots of water like our beloved Central Florida.