Wow -- all this attention and I was out of town! I'm just another forum member and huge Hobie fan who has been around for awhile. I got to demonstrate a Hobie "Mirage" (Classic) in 2000 after trying a couple of other pedaling boats and was blown away by the Mirage Drive. I'm still fascinated by it! For some reason, I can remember many of Hobie's evolutionary changes (but not by wife's birthday) so have been able to help out with some of the old stuff that isn't around any more.
Having used these boats for all these years, I've managed to break, ruin or wear out a lot of parts and have received generous help and tips from other forum members -- these things tend to broaden one's experience and it's a pleasure to share this information when possible as a way to pay it back. One member in particular, Apalach, really set the bar with his helpful comments, innovative techniques, and style of illustrating everything with a camera. With the cooperation of his local dealer, he used to do these killer reviews on new products and set a great example for sharing this information with other members. We don't hear much from him these days, but we have more recent members who have become tremendous resources!
Emulating Apalach, I've been lucky enough to work with a couple of the local dealers here in a similar fashion -- it's been totally fun to try out all their new "toys" in exchange for housing some of the local demo fleet.
They don't get mentioned by name so as to not show favoritism, but IMO, they exemplify some of the many excellent dealers who have contributed in different ways to the forum and in going the extra mile for their customers!
PS. I suggested the Batman role to my good friend Ben after it became obvious that he needed a job and I just couldn't commit the time. No doubt he'll do a passable job, if not brilliant.