Jamie Mitchell, 9 time Molokai to Oahu Paddle Champ, and 2009 Battle of the Paddle Champ, is in the process of launching a new line of Race Boards. These boards carry his own personal brand name, as opposed to his previous boards, which carried the Lahui Kai Brand.
According to Jamie, you can get a custom version (like the one in this photo) built now, or you can wait a while longer and get a production model from Surftech, which will use their Pro Elite Construction (like the 2011 Surftech Bark’s)
The shaper behind these hot looking new designs, is none other than Adrian Birse. Adrian is the shaper who designed Jamie’s last 6 Molokai to Oahu Championship winning boards. He also designed the board Jamie won the 2009 Battle of the Paddle with.
Overall, I think this is really good move for Jamie for two main reasons. One, he is creating his OWN line of boards, and investing in his brand, rather than just building up someone else’s. From a business perspective, this is a great decision for him, since he has the victories to back it up. In the paddling world, Jamie is like Kelly Slater; He has 10 titles, between prone and SUP.
The second reason I like this move, is he now has a lot more control over the shape of the boards. I am sure he had some input in his previous boards, but you can see how different these designs look compared to his previous boards. When its your name on the deck, you get to call the shots.
One difference you can see right off the bat, is the rails and the tail, are dramatically different from the Lahui Kai boards he has ridden in the past. Those boards have really tall, thick rails, which put your center of gravity up higher off the water.
Jamie’s former boards also had a pin tail, which is ideal for a prone paddle board, but not for a BOP style Stand Up Racer. Some people will tell you that a pin tail is better for releasing the water from the tail. This is probably true, but it comes at the cost of stability.
Pin tail designs also sacrifice some wave catching ability, at least as it relates to SUP Racing (which is a simple straight ahead ride). In a Battle of the Paddle style race (where you are riding in and out of the surf) the person who wins, often does so because he/she did a better job of catching the waves than their competitors. The reasons for this are two fold.
1. You can generally travel at a faster speed when riding wave, than you can paddling.
2. Catching some timely waves allow you to conserve energy, as you are essentially getting a free ride.
On the stability front, the Lahui Kai’s tend to be a bit more tippy than the other race boards on the market. The 14’ isn’t too bad, and I found it to be pretty quick, but I had to really concentrate on my balance, rather than just focusing on paddling. As for the 12’6, I could barely stay upright on that model. I admit, I weigh more than the average paddler, but in general I have pretty good balance. As a case in point, I can comfortably ride my wife’s 12’6 Bark, and that board is only 26” wide.
The general consensus among the shapers I have spoken too is this: If you spend a disproportionate amount of energy on trying to stay upright, you will have less energy to focus on propelling yourself forward, which in the long run, will cost you in overall speed. Makes sense to me.
All this isn’t to put down Lahui Kai boards. Their victories speak for themselves. Plus, I have 3 friends here in Austin that have Lahui Kai Orca 14’s and they swear by them. I just think the more conventional designs, which make stability an equal priority with sheer speed, will enable Jamie to reach a lot more potential customers. You don’t have to be an elite athlete to ride a Bark, or a Hobie. Based on what I can see from the various pictures Jamie has sent me, his new JM Paddle Boards look like they will offer that same fast, but user-friendly shape, many people are looking for in a Race Board.
I asked Jamie what the primary purpose behind this particular design was, and he immediately answered “Battle of the Paddle". In fact, you could tell he is just champing at the bit for the BOP in Dana Point. Due to a scheduling conflict, he will not be able to do the BOP Hawaii this year. Dana Point will be the first time he will race on one of these new JM Paddle Boards, here in the states. I for one can’t wait to see how this new board does for him.
At the bottom of this page, you will see some additional photos of his Fiancée Joss’ new JM Paddle Board. Even though pink is not my color, I have to admit, this is an attractive looking board.
For more information, go to Jamie’s JM Paddle Boards Facebook Page and click “Like.” That will allow you to keep up to date with what is going on.
You can also go to his website http://www.jmpaddleboards.com/ and get pricing and other information there. He also has contact info on that site, should you want to order a custom JM Board.
Test Pilot, Paddleboarding World Champion. In the world of paddleboarding Jamie Mitchell is without question in a league of his own. With 9 consecutive Molokai to Oahu World Championships, numerous US Championships, Winner of the 2009 Battle of the Paddle, XXL nominee, Eddie Aikau Invitee and other achievements Jamie has a resume that seems almost fictional. In reality Jamie is possibly the hardest working guy on water and has earned every one of his accolades through dedication, hard work and a love and respect for the ocean. Jamie’s 15 years of racing experience goes into the design and development of each and every board meaning that even if you haven’t won 9 Molokai’s your board can.