John Watt is a 33 year old surfer from the North East of Scotland and has been paddling for five years. He joined the Jimmy Lewis UK team this year and has been out testing his latest addition – the Jimmy Lewis Stiletto Air 12.6ft. OVe rto John for his thoughts.
First thing to notice is how good the bag is before you even unpack the board. It is well made and has loads of room so getting the board back inside isn’t difficult, especially as the board is rolled back to front.
The Stiletto is well made with plenty attention to detail. Lots of tie downs up front to stow some luggage or a small bag, a decent and balanced carry handle, and a US fin box that let me put in a solid foil really aids performance.
Inflating the board to its minimum 15psi took just a few minutes. For a more rigid feel you need around 18psi.
In all I felt pretty pleased with myself and confident that I had made a good choice with the Stiletto which gave myself further confidence with inflatable SUP’s.
I am really lucky to have the North Sea right on my doorstep so after I inflated the board we headed on down to the beach even though we had a 15mph cross shore wind and some small wind swell coming in. Like most inflatables the Jimmy Lewis Stiletto is super light and that carry handle is really well balanced so the board hangs just right.
It took me a while to get used to the feeling of a board full of air as I have mainly experienced solid boards. This only lasted a short time before I was comfortable and getting to grips with it.
Paddling cross chop was a bit tricky at first, I think because of the increased height of the board along with that wind, but it was perfectly manageable. We only paddled about 1km along the coast before turning back for a little downwinder and that was the real surprise. Downwind the board felt much better and I began to make good progress. I was pleasantly surprised by the pace compared to the surf and more all round shapes I’m used to.
After a few runs we headed over to the harbour for some protection from the wind. Once in the calmer water the board settled into a nice solid poise on the water and glide and steer was efficient. Step back pivot turns were really stable and fast.
This time round there was just a light offshore breeze with no swell running. My pal joined me who had only paddled a couple of times before. I got him on the Stiletto straight away and he loved it. Up on his feet and paddling comfortably along at a good pace in an instant.
We made off round the bay for the local harbour which was like a sheet of glass. A quick paddle round the harbour was followed by a blast out to the point where we encountered a bit more chop which is common there; again it proved no trouble for the Stiletto with my buddy remaining upright.
Our time on the water was all too brief and after catching a few tiny waves we headed back. The wind had completely died so the water smoothed right off making our progress really easy and quick.
I have to say that the Jimmy Lewis Stiletto 12.6ft inflatable has proven to be the perfect choice, giving me confidence in inflatable sups.
If you are looking for an inflatable SUP then check out Jimmy Lewis’ inflatable range. It is great for exploring rivers, lakes and coastal waters. There is a wider version for bigger riders and also a more all-round shape which may be better suited to families and people looking for a more multi-purpose ride.