We try the mirage eclipse - it's like walking on water

The Mirage Eclipse - a nifty new watersport feels like walking on water.
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The Mirage Eclipse - a nifty new watersport feels like walking on water.

While it may sound like the name of a majestical Las Vegas resort, the Mirage Eclipse is the latest invention from watercraft experts Hobie. The company has taken the common paddle board as we know it and transformed it into something of a bicycle-stair-climbing floatation device. Stephen Heard hit the water and the infamous weed bed at Auckland's Lake Pupuke. 

THE BASICS 

Ever wanted to execute the motion of walking on water? The Mirage Eclipse allows you to do just that. Unlike a paddle board the vessel boasts two oversized peddles that sit on the upper surface - a positive deterrent for the ever-popular headstand yoga pose. The peddles come connected to fins on the undercarriage that work much like that of a fish to propel you in the water.

For extra stability the platform comes armed with a set of handlebars like those found on a bicycle, without the moveable axis. Instead, two hand levers are used for steering and can be found in the place that you'd usually associate with brakes. Squeeze right, go right. Squeeze left, go left. And so on.

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GIVING IT A BASH

Like standing on any floating object on a body of water, balance is the immediate obstacle. Though, thanks to its wider girth and handlebars the Mirage actually offers a pretty stable ride. Hobie ambassador and former Olympian Dan Slater even states that it's great for larger people who may not feel comfortable on a paddle board.

After getting the hang of standing on two feet, the motion could be likened to using a stair climber at the gym - you'll soon feel a light burn from your calves to quads. The greater your speed, the greater your stability, the greater your heart rate. A firm grip on the steering console will result in an uneasy ride and may lead to the ultimate kind of water sport faux pas: capsize. In this instance landing in the drink was luckily avoided but the choice of dismount into thick lake weed and slime was anything but graceful.

WHY YOU SHOULD TRY IT

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While paddle boarding is recognised as being great for the core, the Mirage is your answer to leg day on the water. Personal trainer Heath October says because of the musculature within the lower body "exercise with an incline is better bang for your buck and challenging the muscles will result in more calories being burnt in a shorter period of time compared to just running."

Depending on your circumstances, the vessel could be as a cardio tool or more like something to find peace on the water. Either way, climbing stairs will eventually be a walk in the park.

RISK RATING 

The most obvious risk of using the Mirage is an unfortunate consequence like drowning. No matter your confidence level, you should always keep your smarts around water, be sensible and wear a lifejacket at all times. And unless you have umpteen first prize medals from the Big Wave Invitational, it's recommended you stay clear of surf barrels and white water.

 - Sunday Star Times

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