It was an odyssey getting my LightCorp Mantra and it was quite different to what I expected… NELO has made some changed in the production to get the build quality back to a level they are known for. When the Mantra arrived it was nice to see that it was built like a tank, stiff standing area and extremely stiff rails made up for a quality product you’d expect.
In terms of weight, all the material built into this board made up for “not so light” 12kg without fin, railsaver etc… Initial impressions: Glide… just perfect, even better than my Signature 2.0 24,75 but comparable to the 23,85 Signature, I could test in turkey this spring. There was only one big problem with the Mantra: I don’t have the skills to paddle such a board outside the mostly flat conditions I’m having on my local spot.
Turns are way harder to manage, compared to the Signature and therefore I asked Gerd Weisner if it’s possible to trade it to a LightCorp GT I could also test at sports camps in turkey.
The GT is totally different to the Signature & Mantra and doesn’t share the effortless glide sensation but it has a wide tail, low rocker and relatively sharp rails. Therefore primary stability is comparable to an SIC RS 23″ but due the lower weight and even wider tail it’s a great board for sprinting.
While I’m still having troubles hitting topspeeds above 13kph with the Signature, the Mantra made it easy to hit even 14kph without loosing control. Once a sidewave hits the board, I’m lost with my current skills.
The GT is a flatdeck board and therefore shares the same advantages and disadvantages most of these Boards. I had the Opportunity to paddle a 2020 Fanatic Blitz 25,5 and while this board was about as fast as the 2019 SIC RS 24,5, it felt way stiffer when paddling upwind. In Turkey the GT reminded me at the RS in terms of flex, but I had one more complaint… even the standing area flexed a lot. While some paddlers do find that quite pleasing, I want my boards to feel as rigid as possible, otherwise I also could get an inflatable. The Fanatic Blitz was by far the best experience in terms of Stiffness and also extremely light for such a big boys board. I can highly recommend putting that board on your list if you’re searching for a versatile and stiff flat deck board!
So why choose a Signature GT?
I asked Gerd if it would be possible to get a GT with additional stringers in the Deck area to make it as stiff as possible. He told me that this will increase the boards weight to more than 10kg, which is still way less than most other Boards of this size.
Why not… I’m not able to manage potentially faster boards than the Signature and a flatdeck Board should be in every collection 😀
Hopefully I can do some tests in near future and see if it will be only a training board, or in the best case a nice addition for conditions, or disciplines where the Signature does’t feel like a perfect solution for me. In the world of Hydrodynamics every design has it’s pros and cons and the rounded bottom contours of the Mantra and the Signature serve for a greatly reduced wetted surface area and therefore sensational glide. A narrow tail is easier to sink in downwind situations and you don’t have to move around that much to turn a board. On the other hand it requires an ultra clean paddling technique to keep a board leveled, when you want to hit higher topspeeds.
As stated many times before… not a board makes you fast, the paddler is the motor and so I’m planning to step my game up a bit. With my focus on classic weight training, I could gain some muscles, but in the same time I enjoyed life with lots of good food and drinks. At the last race at lake Wolfgangsee, I was shocked that my cardiovascular system wasn’t able to perform as I’ve expected.
Consequence – I’ll have to focus on my SUP training much more to get better in my main sport.
What’s up with the JANTEX Ypsilon review? – I’ll do a short review after I paddled lots of km with that piece of gear. I also did a order on the Quickblade T2 as I learned that I don’t have that permanent tennis elbow problem when I’m using my UV88. I’m always experimenting with my paddling technique and with a proper clean pull I’m able to hit good average speeds with the UV88. At slower boards I felt that an even smaller blade would be a nice addition for long paddle sessions. And of course… many of you asked me what I think about that paddle, but I couldn’t give you the answer as I only paddled it once for a couple of kilometers.