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Dan Mann Answers Question About His NO BRAINER Model


Dan Mann Firewire No BrainerDan Mann is an avant garde surfboard designer and shaper who has recently joined the stable of shapers at Slater Designs. Dan recently took the time to answer some questions about his No Brainer model, covering topics such as fins, sizing, skill level, ideal wave, and more. If you’ve ever considered adding the No Brainer to your quiver, here are some guidelines straight from the man who created the board.

Fins: The No Brainer works best with a quad setup, giving you drive and speed through flat sections when you are groveling. Use your favorite template upfront, and then a slightly smaller template for the trailing fins. The reason for this is that the board is pretty narrow up front (compared to Dan’s other boards), so you want slightly less fin in the trailer.

If you decide to go with a thruster setup (which is better in the pocket), do the same thing in terms of fin selection—go with your favorite front fins, then use a slightly smaller trailing fin for your middle fin.

Here at Hawaiian South Shore, we suggest the Power Twin with Trailer setup for the No Brainer. You get the drive of a twin fin, but also the added stability of the trailing third fin. We find that the board really goes top to bottom with this setup, giving you the best of both worlds—speed and maneuverability. 

Volume: When it comes time to pull a No Brainer off the rack, some people may find that Slater Designs doesn’t make the board in exactly their preferred volume. In that case, opt for slightly more volume than you normally ride. Generally speaking, a little more volume is going to give you more paddle power and speed through flat sections, without really handicapping you in your turns. Foam is your friend, and the extra drive you get will more than compensate for any extra effort you have to put into your turns

We used to always pick outboards based on length, width, and thickness, so volume is only a recent consideration. These days, using the volume calculator can be handy, but if you don’t know what volume you need, think of your height and stance, as well as the feeling you want to have on the type of wave you usually surf. If you are a tall, lanky person with a wider stance, you are going to be on top of the board more. So even if you are riding a board with the right volume, if it’s super short, that is going to change the feel. It’s a matter of personal preference. Try out different lengths and shapes, taking into account your height and the volume you want. But also take into consideration the style and size of the wave you are going to be surfing. Eventually, you will find what works best for you.

No Brainer Rocker Versus Other Dan Mann Boards

The entry rocker of the No Brainer is very similar to the rocker on Dan’s different Potato models. The bottom contour is slightly different, however, and the relationship between the rocker and bottom contour is also a bit different. The No Brainer looks flatter than it actually is because of the way the deck rocker comes down and is really thin and bladey in the tail.

Kalani Robb’s Role in the Design of the No Brainer

Kalani was the guy who fell in love with the No Brainer first, and who seemed to like it the most. Slater liked it but was using other boards on tour, so he didn’t get to spend as much time on it as Kalani. But the original concept of the board came from Slater.

Using the No Brainer in California Versus Florida

It really doesn’t matter where you are surfing. Waves are waves, and the No Brainer is a great grovel option in average waves. Whether you are surfing it on the East Coast or the West Coast, the important thing is to have fun.


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