Stick Review: East Coast Dyes Mirage
Two things recently reminded me that I should write a review of the East Coast Dyes Mirage - an Inside Lacrosse post which reviewed the StringKing Mark 2V and a video from Greg Kenneally at ECD on box-pinching a Mirage using the LaxRoom box head pinch rig. Why did the Mark 2V review remind me? Because I play in the same old-man league as Tom Huppmann (@24sevenlax), one of the reviewers and I loved his line:
“When the temperatures are between 65 and 80 degrees and the games are less than fifteen minutes away, and my wife gives me the green light, I demand my sticks to perform in the 35 and older league. I can’t be bothered wondering if my head will hold up to the demands of the Masters team I play for; I’ve got my hamstrings to worry about.”
Unfortunately, last Friday night when the 2017 MMLL season kicked-off it was NOT in the 65 to 80 degree temperature range preferred by old-man lacrosse players everywhere (it was 25 degrees w/ 20 mph winds). Not to worry, the Mirage held up well in those frigid temps, as did my hamstrings. Greg’s box pinch video also reminded me of the Mirage because I only lasted two weeks before I put a box pinch on mine. In my opinion every head needs a box pinch but that’s a story for another time.
Wimmer and ECD
I was pretty excited last September when I got an email from Matt Sauri, head honcho of Wimmer Solutions – the team I have played with in Hawaii the last two years, announcing a partnership with the guys at East Coast Dyes that would give each of our offensive players a head and some mesh to use for the approaching Hawaii Lacrosse Tournament. East Coast Dyes was launching the Mirage and it was going to be officially released for purchase the weekend of the tournament. We’d be some of the first players getting to field test the production version.
A few weeks after that initial announcement to the Wimmer crew and a few emails about pocket preferences accompanied with requests not to post photos until the tournament, a shiny, newly strung ECD Mirage showed up at my door. Not only did ECD do a great job of stringing up the head to my preference but they color coordinated the entire team’s heads and strung to everyone’s pocket preference. See the Stringability section for a shot of all the Wimmer Mirages.
The ECD Mirage unboxed (factory shape), Source: @MegaMenLax
One of the first details I noticed on the head was the ECD crab logo etched into the throat. I could not resist and took a blue, fine-point Sharpie to it. I think it pops. Beyond the Maryland blue crab my first impressions were that the Hero mesh strung a nice deep pocket in this head and that the head felt pretty light. I don’t have a scale and I don’t care about such things but I have heard it is one of the lighter heads on the market. The other two things I noticed out of the box were the stiffness and the somewhat matte finish of the plastic. Most of the head has a textured matte finish; the only smooth portion of the head is the interior sidewalls.
The scoop is wide and angled such that a fairly significant portion of it is in contact with the ground when scooping loose balls. The scoop also flexes ever so slightly upon contact with the ground to further aid in grabbing that ball and channeling it into the pocket. No complaints. There are six large rectangular holes spaced across the top of the scoop giving stringers a lot of options for top strings. The holes have space for triangle top strings or other methods that call for multiple strings passing through a single hole. Sometimes when you put a box pinch in a head the scoop can get a little pointed if you are not careful and don’t do something to counteract that tendency. When I pinched the Mirage this did not happen and I did not attempt anything to prevent it either. I love the way the pinch took in the Mirage and several months later it has held the shape well (no rebound).
ECD Mirage Montage, Source: @MegaMenLax
The face shape is classic for modern lacrosse heads, narrow with an aggressive flare; a throat area slightly wider than the ball that stays constant width as you move up the head until it starts to flare out two-thirds of the way up the head. See below for a great shot of the face shape on the custom dyed and strung head that Matt Sauri rocked for the tournament. Note the large sized holes in the scoop - as mentioned; wonderful for stringing.
Wimmer Mirage custom dyed and strung for Matt Sauri (factory shape), Source: @ECDLax
The Mirage rates as a highly stringable head; it was manufactured by a company with roots in stick stringing. If it was not well designed from a stringers perspective I would be shocked. There are 19 holes from top to bottom along the sidewall and all are oval shaped and large enough to get a sidewall string through twice. The only knock from a stringers perspective would be for traditional lovers - I think the bottom string holes where the leathers terminate could be larger to better accommodate the thickness of leathers. Large sidewall holes, well spaced, nice shape, large holes in the scoop - the Mirage hits on all fronts. You want stringing options? Just look at all those pocket styles strung up below - high, mid, low, shifty pockets, baggy pockets, box pockets, pockets, pockets, pockets.
ECD is proud to sponsor both Wimmer Solutions teams in Hawaii with Mirage heads and HeroMesh, Source: @ECDLax
The offset’s natural curvature puts the sweet spot right around a point below where the two struts meet on the bottom rail (the V). In my pocket this has settled into a terrific mid-pocket setup. A talented stringer could put any pocket into the head but I believe this head is optimized for a mid-pocket.
For stringers, by stringers - that’s the Mirage tag line and it lives up to the hype. ECD applied knowledge gained from years of stringing and utilized 3D printing to prototype and fine tune the final design. Each string hole, angle, and curve was designed to build a perfect pocket.
Overall the Mirage is a head designed for today’s offensive lacrosse player and all the stringers out there. Light, stiff, and with well designed curves and holes the head lends itself well to a variety of pocket styles but is best with a mid to mid-low pocket. I would not recommend it as a regular face off head (I’ve been asked) but it would serve a defensive player well. At $90 unstrung, this head is fairly priced, a deal even, given how some elite heads on the market are priced; make no mistake, this is an elite head. Great first offering from ECD.
Scott Prestridge interviewed by Brian Schaaf, Source: ECD YouTube screenshot
Wimmer Solutions Highlight Videos
Another bonus of the ECD partnership was Brian Schaaf (@ECDBrian32) and Josh Rottman (@EmptyDuckDigital) attending the tournament with the Wimmer squad and filming a lot of the action on and off the field. They put together a few great videos summarizing the weekend. Some of the embeds below will not play here, you’ll have to click and click again to watch them on YouTube. They are worth it.
Wimmer Solutions - Care Creates Community
Josh Rachman covered it during team dinner at the tournament:
Being part of the Wimmer Solutions family is an opportunity and a privilege. If any one of you thinks you are here just because you are an excellent lacrosse player you are certainly mistaken. We come together for a lot more than lacrosse. We share values of friendship, commitment, and the belief that we play the game for causes bigger than ourselves. This is a special thing and no one should ever take it for granted.
Care creates community.
Wimmer Solutions - 2016 Hawaii Tournament Elite Highlights
Just some lacrosse action. Watch below.