To date I have stood on this board 3 times now and each time conditions have varied from flat and windy to choppy to really messed up and windy so just how did the Jimmy Lewis Rail downwind board do in not such perfect conditions?
The model I have been riding is the 26.5 x 14, carbon board. As always it is well made and solid with no soft or flex spots throughout which makes you feel really confident that it can handle anything.
The fin that comes with it is a rake back hatchet type fin. To be honest this isn’t my favourite setup for it, but I think that is just me as i does nothing wrong, I just prefer a bit looser. The fin with it really locks the board in when gliding and holds it straight so for obvious reasons that is what you want.
The board has a very prominent V running down the length of the board which has definitely improved board speed compared to the M14, but saying that it rails over far easier so you need to be very agile when gliding in an offset stance.
The tail is pretty thin as in pin tail compared to the M14 that was a lot more volumey and round in profile.
The overall rocker line is quite relaxed and isn’t some crazy looking banana shape which has definitely helped with speed both before and onto bumps. Having less volume in the tail also makes it easy to add a few inches to nose rocker as you can easily lean back and lift the nose out of a nose dive especially with the reduced nose width and shape.
When the nose did bury it had very little effect on board speed and only required me to lower my body down and stabilise on my paddle to get it clear of the water.
The rails are quite soft along the board length until a coupe of feet from the tail when it starts to sharpen up.
Deckpad is now a flat soft pad compared to the previous diamond pad. It had a nice sot feeling under bare foot, but make sure you wash off any mud or slime first as a bit of seaweed saw me taking a quick dip.
As for widths I was riding the 26.5 and didn’t feel awkward until the waves started getting confused and non directional. For someone looking for a one board does all conditions I would definitely suggest the 28 as it will give that extra level of confidence. Remember speed on a downwind run is about staying on the board and a wider hull has a greater planing surface so it becomes relative to rider weight.
Once we got out of the messy big conditions we hit the smaller runners that had some length to them and stayed lined up for longer. The board really lit up for this and I found myself almost pumping my feet and paddle strokes to bounce myself onto bumps which worked really well.
Anyway, I said this was gonna be short so hopefully that has wetted your appetites for now.