When Kelly Slater asks for a certain kind of surfboard made for a certain kind of wave, you can bet he’s going to be pretty involved in how it comes out. When most of us go to our shaper, it’s generally a vague conversation about what kind of waves you generally surf, an even vaguer description of your surfing abilities, and a whole lot of trust in the person carving the foam.
But when Dan Mann, one of surfing’s greatest shapers, and Kelly Slater, one of surfing’s greatest surfers, come together with a shape in mind, all the boxes are going to be ticked. Mann, of course, is behind the creation of classic boards like the Baked Potato, the Dominator, the Sweet Potato, the Potato-nator, and many more, all of which you have likely seen littered across lineups around the world.
When Kelly came to Mann with a certain something to add to the quiver, he had something specific in mind. “He said he needed something for small waves in Florida. Gutless,” Mann explains. “I was like, ‘ok, well I know that world.'” And thus, the No Brainer was born. In the video above, Mann explains exactly how the board is made and demonstrates (in his peculiar always-frontside way) how well it works at the Surf Ranch. Here’s how he describes it: “It’s definitely a performance board hidden inside of a purely fun groveler.”