The “Mano” is the most performance oriented and aggressive shape in the Jimmy Lewis catalog. After all “Mano” is the Hawaiian name for shark. Last month we extensively tested the Mano 9’9’’.The producer claims that the boards in this line “Feel and ride like a short board, but surprisingly stable on the paddle out”. Before substantiating this claim, let’s take a look at the shape and construction features.
The outline is characterized by a narrow and pointy nose and a squash tail. The maximum width is 29’’ so as a 9’9’’ the board is quite narrow. The rails are pretty rounded, just a bit more defined towards the tail. The Scoop Rocker line features plenty of Nose and Tail Rocker. The bottom is pretty flat with a slight V in the tail section. The Mano features a Thruster setup. In all, the combination between the Mano’s outline and Scoop Rocker line is harmonious and aggressive at the same time.
- Construction and features
The PVC Sandwich Construction (Styro core with a layer of PVC, Divincell, top and bottom) ensures excellent impact resistance, durability and lightness. With a weight (measured) of 20 Lb (9,1 Kg.) the Jimmy Lewis Mano 9’9’’ is very light.
As the other SUBs in the JL catalog, the Mano features an excellent (and nice looking) Urethane paints and graphics, a very grippy and soft deckpad with kicktail, G10 Fins (three, in this case) with high density PVC foam reinforced fin boxes, built-in handle and the great self regulating Teflon air vent..
Stability is very good, good and average respectively for light, medium weight and heavy paddlers. As a matter of fact, heavy beginners paddlers can feel the board quite tippy but let’s not forget that this is a board targeted to intermediate to experienced paddle surfers only. And speaking of actually riding waves with the Mano, let’s start by saying that tall and heavier (skilled, indeed) paddlers that keep a wider stance with the back foot closer to the kicktail will get used to this SUB in no time. After the take off, short and light paddlers will have to move further towards the tail, the smaller the wave the closer to the kicktail, in order to take full advantage of the great turning ability of this board. Not surprisingly, we found out that this is an SUB that performs far better when ridden off the tail! Another important element to point out is that playing with the central fin position affected the Mano’s turning ability even more than expected. Setting it to the centre of the fin box ensured the better overall performance in a wide range of conditions but with small to medium waves moving it further ahead, two thirds or even all the way to the front of the fin box, improved dramatically the turning ability of the Mano. As for moving the fin towards the tail (two thirds of the fin box) that resulted in a substantial improvement of riding performance with bigger and clean swells. So, finding the sweet standing spot and moving the fin depending on the conditions will make you exploit the full potential of this board even if you are a light and short SUPper. Speaking of the surfing bias of this board, it is indeed shortboard-like. With the Mano the paddler can carve more or less tight turns but always smoothly and in a very controlled fashion. In that respect, during our tests the board outperformed even smaller SUBs, in the 9’3’’ – 9’6’’ range. In addition, the Mano wasn’t prone to nose-sinking and that in turn allowed for late, critical drops. Finally, the Mano surprised us with its acceleration and speed in the section and exhibited a great wave catching ability. Again, the board’s length played an important role here. Lastly, just paddling with the Mano was rewarding by itself even in choppy water.
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- Conclusions and verdict
The Jimmy Lewis Mano 9’9’’ is an almost flawless board for heavy, intermediate and experienced paddle surfers alike, except for a slight lack of stability compared to other boards in the same class. While this shape really shined in medium size clean swells, it still performed well in mushy and windy conditions. Again, finding the sweet standing spot on the board and playing with the central fin position were two important factors performance-wise especially for light to medium weight paddlers. From a quality standpoint, the excellent construction quality serves a structural role in making the board more rigid and durable.
On the whole, the Jimmy Lewis Mano 9’9’’ performance, construction quality and accessories are all up to the high standards that we’d expect from our experience with the other JL boards we’ve tested so far. If you are a heavy, experienced and aggressive SUP surfer, this shape leaves very little to be desired, to such an extent, in fact, that the Mano 9’9’’ is now our reference SUP surfing dedicated shape in its class.
Awesome performance (shortboard like) for heavy paddle surfers, very good to good stability and performance for light to medium weight padlers, top notch construction quality, lightness, Teflon Air Vent, excelletn G-10 Fins
A bit less stable than other SUBs in the 10' class
Visit the Producer's website at the following address www.jimmylewis.com