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One trend among stand up paddleboards that has really been taking off is the idea of a paddleboard with pedals. If you think it sounds weird, you aren’t alone. Before I tried one for myself, I thought the same thing. However, I quickly learned that pedaling wasn’t as silly as I first thought.
There are multiple benefits to trying out this new sport. Not only is the workout fantastic, so is the ride. When looking at this type of SUP, the most important things to know are what it is, the difference between paddles and pedals, and how to choose.
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What is a Stand Up Paddleboard with Pedals?
Imagine a regular SUP with the addition of two pedals and a mechanism that propels you forward as you step. All this happens at the back of the board while the front is open for storage or a pet. Just don’t make these mistakes as outlined by our fellow animal lover and paddleboarder!
Imagine using an elliptical stair stepper mashup, because that’s what the results will feel like! In fact, the Hobie Mirage Eclipse is one of the best SUPs with pedals on the market. We’ll be reviewing it later in the article. To see for yourself how it works, check out this video:
What are the Differences Between Using Paddles or Pedals?
As I learned, there are a few benefits and drawbacks to each. In the end, the choice really comes down to your comfort level and the kind of workout you want to have. Here are the main differences between paddling and pedaling.
- Pedal boards have a smoother ride. Instead of using your own upper body strength and moving the SUP back and forth, you just have to stand in one place and let your legs do the work. If you want the smoothest ride on a traditional, check out the Atoll 11-foot stand up paddleboard
- Paddling is harder for beginners. Pedal SUPs are a great way to get comfortable on the water. They are easier for new boarders to learn and more stable to learn on. If you suffer from a fear of water, pedaling is a great way to ease into it.
- Pedal Stand Ups offer a more comfortable ride. Not only are they smoother and more stable, the pedal variety is also more comfortable. I had no idea how much of a difference the change in mechanisms would make.
- Traditional paddleboards take more energy. Want to spend a long day on the water but aren’t sure if you have the upper body strength? Try renting a SUP with pedals. They take way less exertion to go the distance.
- Do you want to work on upper body or lower body? If you like to paddleboard for exercise, we recommend one of each for an even workout. Just remember if you want to do yoga you should stick with the board with a paddle.
- Do you have a need for speed? Pedaling will allow you to go much faster in a shorter amount of time than paddling. The fins on the bottom will make sure of that. To find a faster traditional SUP, check out my previous article on which paddleboard fits your style.
How to Choose a Pedaled Paddleboard
Picking out a paddleboard that features pedals is a bit different than a traditional SUP. We have already outlined some of the most important factors in choosing the best regular SUP for your needs. Now, we will talk about the pedaling variety.
When most people consider a purchase of this size, budget comes into play. SUPs with pedals are relatively new, so they are relatively more expensive than the traditional kind. If you are interested in purchasing both or don’t know which to choose, check out the next factor.
You will find some of these stand ups can convert into a traditional paddleboard. By allowing the fins and handlebars to be removed, the manufacturers allow you to get a glimpse into both worlds. However, these are usually the most expensive.
The handlebars are one of the most important parts of your paddleboard. They stabilize you as well as control the direction of your craft. Find handlebars that adjust well to your height and have a good turning radius. You want the smoothest turns for the least amount of effort.
The fins on the bottom are another important aspect of choosing a pedal board. You want to make sure they are built from quality materials that won’t break as soon as they hit a rock. Also, be aware that you need to be careful when pedaling to shore because of these fins.
When considering pedals, think about your storage situation. This variety of SUP is not inflatable, so you will have to think about where to put a 10 or 12-foot board. Luckily, most manufacturers have considered this and you can remove the handlebars.
Our Favorite Stand Ups with Pedals
#1. Hobie Mirage Eclipse 10’ 6” Stand Up Paddleboard
The Hobie Mirage Eclipse 10-foot six-inch stand up paddleboard was one of the first and best on the market. As you can tell by the name, this pedal-driven SUP is 10 feet and 6 inches long. It’s the shortest in the Hobie Mirage Eclipse line and a really sweet paddleboard with pedals.
This Mirage only weighs 54 pounds. That’s quite light for a non-inflatable stand up. Not to mention it can hold up to 225 pounds. The average sized person can fit a cooler, fishing gear, or a pet on the front. The back has a built-in bungee as well.
Even in 4-foot choppy waters, this pedal paddleboard handles like a champ. That’s not a surprise due to the quality of materials and design. Every Hobie Mirage Eclipse is made from advanced composite epoxy. The fins and handlebars even come off for storage.
#2. Hobie Mirage Eclipse 12’ Stand Up Paddleboard
This 12-foot Mirage Eclipse is a lot like the smaller version but with the size to navigate faster with greater stability. The larger version also has more storage space on the back for longer trips. Not to mention the higher weight limit of 275 pounds to accommodate more stuff and larger paddleboarders.
Like the first on our list, this Hobie has steering that can be controlled by your fingertips! Press on the right handlebar to go right and the left to go left. How much easier could it be? Even the handlebars are height adjustable (between 36 and 43 inches) to accommodate different sized riders.
This Hobie Mirage includes a few extras like a carefree kick up rudder and gear tie-downs. Just a few extra items you won’t have to purchase after the fact. In addition, it only weighs a measly 60 pounds when put together.
#3. Hobie Mirage Eclipse 12.0 AST SUP
The final paddleboard that has pedals to make our list is the Hobie Mirage Eclipse 12.0 AST SUP. Although expensive, you will find this 12-foot AST SUP to be well worth it once you get on the water. This Hobie has the same weight limit and other specs as the regular 12-foot SUP.
The drive system on this and every Mirage Eclipse is more than impressive. As you pedal, the two fins under the board move back and forth. These work like flippers and propel you forward faster than any paddle would.
The Hobie Mirage AST SUP even comes with wheels to help you transport it. This might not be necessary for everyone all the time, but it sure helps with longer treks back to the car. Finally, you can expect the same easy storage as with the first two paddleboards reviewed.
What do you think?
Have one? Any advice on paddleboards with pedals that you’d like to share?
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