Over the past few seasons Big Winds has been introducing many of our customers to the joy of surfing with a paddle in hand and we’ve had a huge, immediate success with the Naish Mana series. The Mana’s are Naish’s best selling SUP boards in their surf line and for good reason: they are easy to surf and super fun! I personally started my SUP surf progression on the Mana 9’5 during the winter of 2010-11. This particular size worked great for my novice days of progressing in the surf and my wife found it enjoyable for just cruising around on the Columbia River (a one board solution for the both of us to enjoy!). As we all progress with our paddling skills so do the SUP boards and for 2014, Naish has given the Mana an updated shape and great new look.
We have now had the opportunity to test the new 2014 Mana 9’5″, 8’10”, and 8’5″ on the Oregon Coast over the past three months and love them! The first time I took the 9’5″ GT out, I immediately took notice of how it turns on the wave with little or no effort. Naish has taken 27 liters of volume out of the 9’5″, dropping it from 190L to 163L. With reduced volume, increased tail rocker and a V bottom shape, the turning and carving becomes much more dynamic and rail-to-rail transition effortless. Although the Mana is a more performance oriented board now than it ever has been, it still retains its ability to allow beginners to have fun due to the wider outline. At 32″ wide the 9’5″ Mana is an inch wider for 2014. This added width equals added stability and can help get the paddler out through mushy whitewater with unbelievable ease.
Naish replaced the 2012 9′ Mana with the 2013 8’10”. For 2014, the 8’10” is bumped out a half inch, gets a slightly pointier nose, and exaggerated tail rocker. The biggest waves I’ve ever ridden have been on the 2014 Naish Mana 8’10” GS in December on the Oregon coast, a day I will never forget! If I had to choose just one board, this would be the one for everyday conditions. It’s long enough to catch the slow building waves, but short enough to rip once on them. I don’t consider myself a lightweight by any means (165 lbs), but this board is designed for the lighter weight riders, having only 133L of volume. The GS construction is reasonably light too, only two pounds heavier than the GT wood construction. Not bad for a $500 cost savings!
We had been anticipating the release of the 8’5″ Mana after hearing about it in Maui at the Naish dealer meeting in July, and have now had the opportunity to surf it on several occasions. The 8’5″ GT is under 20 lbs and loves to crank out turns with its light swing weight. It has a generous width of 30.5″, making it very stable and comfortable in less than ideal conditions. The stability was particularly noticeable near the tail, making it easy to step back to get over the whitewater or make a quick pivot turn to catch the oncoming wave. With the 6.5″ center fin, the board tracks great and stays locked to the water in bumpy conditions.
All 2014 Naish Mana’s have a three fin, thruster configuration. The GT models have a really nice US 6.5″ wood center fin, whereas the GS models can vary: Mana 10’http://www.bigwinds.com/sup/category/63/product/2857 and 9.5″ GS comes with a stock 9.0″ AST fin, whereas the 8’10” has the 6.5″ AST fin. One thing I did was upgrade the outside FCS side fins from the stock molded composite fins to a lighter weight, performance fin set with a more responsive flex pattern. The FCS PC-5 fins work great for a guy my size, and PC-7 for the heavier guys. We have a great selection of aftermarket fins to choose from here at Big Winds, and if you have questions on which might work best for you, give us a call or stay tuned for upcoming blogs discussions on fin selection.