Ric Burnley
Hobie’s Mirage Drive Eclipse makes it easy to get into SUP fishing.

Hobie leads the pedal boat market, but they don’t forget about their paddle fans. The Quest is a favorite for fishermen looking for a light and compact boat that is quick to get on the water. This year, they’ve updated the Quest 11 and 13 to use the new Vantage CT seating system found on their pedal boats. I melt into the Vantage CT seat’s mesh back and pan that combine breathable comfort and form-fitting support. A composite frame keeps the seat light. My lower back loves the lumbar adjustment and forward edge that adjusts up to three inches to relieve stress and fatigue on long trips. The seat back reclines and, like all Vantage seats, it can be removed to make the coolest and most comfortable camp chair. Hobie redesigned the Quest seatwell to accomodate the Vantage CT seat keeping the angler low while still elevated off the deck. I’m glad Hobie’s paddle fans can now get one of the most comfortable frame seats on the water.

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Hobie added the Vantage CT seat to their Quest paddle boats. Now everyone can be comfortable.

Earlier this year, Hobie came out with one of the wildest paddleboard on the market. The new Mirage Eclipse is 10’6″-long and 33.5″ inches with an agressive nose and hull design to make it a speedy and efficient sporty board. The board is also offered in a 12-foot/38-inch wide model that would offer more room for fishing. The Eclipse is built out of an epoxy material so it weighs in at 54 pounds (58 for the 12-footer). Hobie brought their Mirage drive to a paddleboard with an ingenious pedal system that runs two Mirage fins flapping under the board. An aluminum alloy handlebar system makes it easy to stand and balance on the board. Hand levers on the handlebars control a rudder that turns the Mirage Eclipse on a dime. Remove the Mirage Drive and handlebars and the Mirage Eclipse turns into a great standard paddleboard.

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Pedals and a handlebar make this performance SUP easy to use.

So, does it work? We tested the MD Eclipse at Pinewood Reservoir during Outdoor Retailer’s Demo Day. Kicking the pedals moves the board at a surprising speed and direction control is responsive and tight. All parts move easily and the mechanism is tight without any play or lost energy. The pedals are easy to operate and provide a good workout. Adding the handlebar makes the board stable enough for anyone to get on and pedal away. While we were on the beach, we asked Hobie fishing pro Morgan Promnitz about the fishing capabilities. He loves the MD Eclipse for after work fishing sessions because it is quick to assemble and easy to load. The handlebars offer an easy place to add rod holders and he straps an H-Crate on the tail to hold gear. Unlike a traditional SUP, there’s no need to drop the rod to pick up the paddle; a rod holder on the handlebars makes it easy to go from pedalling to fishing.

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Special Mirage Drive blades push the SUP faster than you could paddle.

 

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Ric Burnley
“Thank God my dad wasn’t a podiatrist,” jokes Ric about following in the footsteps of a famous outdoor writer. After graduating from Radford University and serving two years in Russia with the Peace Corps, Ric returned to Virginia Beach and started writing for The Fisherman magazine, where his dad was editor. When the kayak fishing scene exploded, Ric was among the first to get onboard. His 2007 book, The Complete Kayak Fisherman is one of the first tomes to introduce anglers to paddle fishing and hundreds of articles and seminars have brought countless anglers into the fold. When he’s not chasing every fish that swims, Ric teaches English at a school for at-risk teens.

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