JIMMY LEWIS TEST
The weather was anything but inviting. Thunderstorm in the morning with heavy rain and the wind picked up more and more. From 11 a.m. onshore wind forces of 4-6 Bft were announced in Hvide Sande, the small fishing village and surfing area in Denmark. Not really the conditions that really drive you onto the water.
“Stay at home and come back on Wednesday” advised Mirko, a friend who was on holiday in Hvide Sande. But today was the only opportunity to test a few Jimmy Lewis SUPs in the waves. So Mirko's advice was ignored, Neo, paddle and leash thrown into Julia's transporter and off we went to Hvide Sande.
After a few minutes we drove through the first thunderstorm cell. Lightning flashed and the heavy rain briefly flooded the highway. Doubts spread as to whether the surf trip was really a good idea. But during the trip the weather slowly got better and at some point the sun even broke through here and there. Only the wind remained constant.
Arriving in Hvide Sande, we first took a look behind the dunes at the water. Despite the strong wind, no surfable waves could be identified. But experience has shown that waves take time. So it was time to wait.
Meanwhile Mirko also arrived, an hour later Jan from Haiku Sports arrived with his Jimmy Lewis transporter and the eagerly awaited boards. Jan is general importer for Jimmy Lewis for the whole of Europe and we met him at Boot in January and were able to admire his equipment there. Besides Jimmy Lewis he has a few other brands up his sleeve, but today we were primarily interested in the boards from Hawaii. From the large selection that Jan offered us, we decided on the "World Wide" in 8'9" x 31 with 140 liters and a "Striker" in 9'5" x 31 with 147 liters. Both completely different board concepts.
THE TESTED JIMMY LEWIS BOARDS
The Jimmy Lewis Striker is more of a wave-oriented all-round board with a longboard shape and relatively flat outline. But the board also cuts a fine figure in flat water. You don't notice the small volume at all.
Whereas the World Wide is more of a performance-oriented waveboard. Extreme rocker line, heavily pinned nose and a swallowtail that takes a lot of volume out of the rear. All this makes the board extremely sensitive and more suitable for larger waves. Both boards featured a thruster fin setup and a deck pad that went from nose to tail across the entire deck. The World Wide features a five fin setup.
As the conditions became more and more violent and the waves had now reached a stately, surfable size, we didn't want to dwell on theory for long. My first choice was the Jimmy Lewis Striker, which I had heard good things about.
When carrying it over the dunes, the pleasantly low weight was immediately noticeable. This is due to the original sandwich construction. Jimmy Lewis uses a construction made of glass fiber mat, PVC foam and again glass fiber mat in the production of the boards. This combination is incredibly impact resistant and stable, using a much lighter EPS foam core. As someone who has built sandwich boards myself, I know that the PVC layer makes all the difference. My boards had bamboo panels instead of PVC, which weren't nearly as strong. Even lighter was the Jimmy Lewis World Wide, which in the carbon version was really a touch of nothing.
When we finally got to the water, the North Sea was already foaming with anger. The waves had meanwhile reached a height of a good meter, which would be generally pleasing. If it weren't for the wind that kept whipping up the North Sea. It was foreseeable that within 1.5 - 2 hours the conditions would become unsurfable. So don't hesitate and get on the water.
THE WAVE STRIKER
The white water and the headwind made paddling out while standing almost impossible. So we had to kneel for the first few meters until we were through the white water. It was only possible to paddle standing over the waves from the point where the waves had not yet broken. And this is exactly where the striker surprised me, which translated means striker, appropriate to the weather, for the first time. Despite the relatively small volume, the board was pleasantly stable on the water in the shaky conditions. You immediately felt comfortable and didn't have to spend a long time trying out where you positioned yourself on the board. It was also much more stable across the wave than expected and the Striker seemed immediately familiar. While I was letting the first characterless wobbling waves pass under the board, I looked out for the first nice wave of the day. I was wondering if I could handle the flat rocker line in the waves. I actually prefer a pinned nose and a lot of rocker. But here, too, the Striker surprised me. The board coped perfectly with the rough conditions. Actually even much better than the Paddler.
At first I had too much weight on the back foot when paddling, which felt a bit like an applied handbrake. But by the second wave I had adjusted to the striker and enjoyed the ride for much longer. Paddling the wave was no longer a problem and turning it in was easy. Due to the squash tail, the board offers a lot of stability, but remains very agile without being nervous. With each wave, the Striker felt more familiar and I had to throw my initial skepticism overboard.
UNDER THE STRIKER'S SPELL
Behind the offshore sandbank, the waves lost pressure significantly and flattened out, only to build up again shortly afterwards.
On the full deck pad, however, it was easy to run forward to generate a little more speed. In the cross step I danced back again and pushed the board forward, back into the wave. The horses were slowly getting away with me and I really wanted to see what else the board could do. After a few exits and washing machines, which I don't want to hide here, I had the best wave of the day. Well selected, playfully paddled in and immediately turned the board to the right into the wave. Surprised at how easy it was, I flipped the board back and to the left, ran forward and back again. The wave seemed endless. I ran forward again onto the front third of the board and turned 180 degrees to enjoy the rest of the ride backwards. Then Poseidon pulled the plug and I finished the wave with a perfectly formed ass bomb before the wave crashed over me. The Striker had me under its spell.
It was time for a change. Mirko had meanwhile tried his hand at the World Wide and I thought I could read a mixture of anticipation for the Striker and skepticism about the current board in his facial expression. I could tell he was clearly struggling with the board, but also saw some good rides.
We swapped boards and he gave me the tip: "Stand further forward on the board" while the next waves separated us. In the meantime, Julia, our third member, caught every wave she wanted on Mirko's Sunova Speed.
The World Wide, as the name suggests, is designed to perform well in waves in most conditions around the world. Well, with the conditions we were faced with that day, one probably wouldn't bother to even consider SUP surfing anywhere else.
On my knees I tried to familiarize myself with the World Wide. Conditions have meanwhile improved significantly, the secondary swell from the side has become stronger, the waves bigger and more unsorted. Nevertheless, the World Wide conveyed security immediately. The pinned and significantly upturned nose made it easy to get over the wave. Even when I stood on the board, I had a good feeling. I positioned one foot in front of the handle, the other slightly behind. This made it easy to balance the board. Across the waves it was a lot more nervous than the Striker and it was harder for me to catch the waves. A lot of waves went under me at first, or I got stuck on top of the lip.
ADVERTISEMENT: NEVER LOSE YOUR SUNGLASSES AGAIN?
Of course, that was partly due to the tougher conditions, but I think the fault was also with the paddler. After getting the waves easily on the Striker, I had to really work my way up the waves on the World Wide at first. Overall, the World Wide reacted much more sensitively. A little too far back and the board immediately tipped away. In the wave you also had to be much further ahead, as Mirko had already given me as a tip.
You could clearly see that the World Wide wants to catch every wave, but all in all the World Wide needed cleaner waves. It didn't get along so well with the unsorted buffing water. Nevertheless, I got one or the other slide, but I was also much more often in the water. The board flipped instantly at the slightest edge pressure. However, once the wave died down and you had a little too much weight on your back foot, it was like someone pulled the plug. The board doesn't like that at all. If the conditions were better, I would have had even more fun on the World Wide. Slightly steeper and sorted waves and the board would probably have a safe place in my favorites list.
FIRST THE BREAK, THEN THE SPEED
Now it was time for a break and I grabbed a taxi on the World Wide, a wave that brought me almost to the beach. After a few failed attempts, I found my ride. Mirko and Julia were already waiting on the beach, visibly exhausted but with big grins.
As the last board, Mirko's much-praised Sunova Speed should now believe it. To make it short, the Speed has significantly more volume than the other two boards and therefore lay naturally like a door on the water. But I can't say much more about the board, because during our break the conditions got so bad that it just wasn't fun anymore. Paddling out became an ordeal even on your knees. Like Poseidon himself holding the board by the center fin and laughing his ass off at the guy tugging at his paddle like his life depended on it. A few waves were still in there, but the sea pounded angrily on us and we left the playing field to the few remaining kiters.
I HAVE NEW BOARD PREFERENCES
The conclusion of the day: What a privilege that we can just go to the North Sea for two hours to test a few boards. I need to reconsider my board preferences after falling madly in love with the Striker. What a board! Gone are the days when the nose of a board couldn't be sharp enough for me. Such a Noserider is definitely missing in my collection and then it may well be the Striker in the exact execution. I don't know of any other boards that are so light and yet stable. The almost 2000 euros are definitely money well invested in a great shape of outstanding quality. As a carbon variant, it costs 300 euros more and saves a good two kilos in weight. Most Jimmy Lewis boards are in this price range.
I would like to whip the World Wide through nicer waves again. The characterless babble of that day doesn't like it that much. But that's true of most boards. I wouldn't have even dared to hope to be able to stand on a 140 liter board in the conditions. And this extremely light carbon version is pure board porn.
In general, I have to say that I had few problems adjusting to new boards in the difficult conditions. This is certainly also due to Jimmy Lewis' exceptional shaper skills.
Hopefully I'll be able to try the Sunova Speed again soon, because it was already the most stable board of all. Unfortunately, the test was no longer meaningful. I hope Mirko entrusts me with the board again in less extreme conditions.
WOULD YOU LIKE TO GET STARTED WITH SUP SURFING?
From now on I will pay more and more attention to the conditions on the North Sea and finally go SUP surfing more often again. The SUP Surf Preparation courses are also starting again, which are intended to prepare SUPsurf novices for the wave. These courses take place in shallow water.
As soon as the conditions look promising, I also offer SUP surfing courses in small groups on Rømø. Stay tuned for more…
MORE ON JIMMY LEWIS:
Jimmy has been a shaper for more than 50 years and is known for his timeless shapes and designs. He develops the boards for eternity and by that we don't just mean the stable sandwich construction. Unlike other brands, he doesn't change his models every year, but keeps the boards in his range if they are good. In addition to SUPs, he also develops and builds surfboards, windsurfboards, kiteboards and foilboards.
In Europe, the boards fromHaiku Sportsimported. The list of SUP and surf shops that stock Jimmy Lewis is constantly growing.