Nehu model (Fresh Papaya) handboard
This board measures 7″ wide by 10″ long, and is our smallest board.
Manukai Handboards are crafted at Mahi’ai Creative Studio on the Hamakua Coast of the Big Island of Hawai’i. Keith shapes them out of broken surfboards, before painting and glassing them, and Sally sews straps out of old wetsuits. He also makes wood handboards from locally gathered, dried and milled Wiliwili and Agave. Handboards are used for bodysurfing, providing lift and glide that allow for long rides on a wave. All you need for an awesome ride, is a board and a good set of fins. There may be slight flaws in the foam or wood, due to nature of using upcycled and foraged materials, however each board is crafted carefully and if you treat your board well, it will last you for years to come.
We currently offer 4 handboard models, which you can read about below – Koloa (The Sea Duck), Malolo (The Flying Fish), The ‘Iwa (The Wave Thief), and The Nehu (The Shorebreak Silverfish).
Koloa (The Sea Duck)
The Koloa is a larger board at 7 ¾ x 14.5 . With more surface area, it’s faster, so you can actually catch waves on days where the surf seem non-existent. While the Koloa works great in mushy shorebreak – it also performs well in bigger barreling waves. It just takes a little more work to get it out back in the big stuff. This handboard can make the worst waves and closeout barrels rideable and fun. You will leave the beach STOKED. Link to our Koloa.
We named this model after a koloa that we surfed with at our homebreak on the Big Island. It was a big, windy swell, and this crazy duck came out and cruised in the lineup for a good hour, duck diving, fishing, and enjoying the storm more than anyone else out there. Koloa Maoli, Hawaii’s native duck, has been a part of the ecosystem of the Hawaiian Islands for tens of thousands of years. It is unique to these remote islands – found nowhere else on Earth. Like many native species it is threatened with extinction from the combined forces of habitat loss, introduced predators, historic overhunting, etc (the list goes on), but is unusual in that it faces an additional threat – that of hybridization (or cross-breeding).
Malolo (The Flying Fish)
The Malolo model measures 7.25″ x 12” and if you want to have just one handboard to throw in your trunk, this is the one! The Malolo is small enough for easy maneuvering in bigger waves, but also has enough volume for great buoyancy & lift, and less drag. The fuller volume results in easier wave catching, yet it’s still easy to swim with. This board is great for intermediate as well as seasoned bodysurfers – in both softer AND hollower waves. Link to our Malolo.
Hawaiian flying fishes, malolo are sleek and quick creatures notorious for jumping out of the water and “flying” a great distance before diving back in. A recent study found that malolo can glide over the water’s surface as competently as some seabirds.
‘Iwa (The Wave Thief)
The ‘Iwa measures 7” x 11.5”, and is a low-volume handboard designed for a more advanced bodysurfer. It has aprox the same width and length of the Malolo, but with less foam, meaning a faster swim getting out in larger waves, and less strain on your arm and shoulder. Smaller handboards have less surface area and work better in bigger more hollow and powerful waves. The better you get, the more you’ll like this one. Link to our ‘Iwa.
One of the seabirds we often see in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands are ‘iwa, or great frigate birds. They are consummate flyers, and can soar, dive, turn on a dime, and use their long powerful hooked beak to snatch food from the water, ground or while on the wing. Their Hawaiian name, “iwa” means thief and refers to one of the more colorful behaviors of these birds.
Nehu (The Shorebreak Silverfish)
The Nehu is our smallest handboard, measuring 7″ x 10″, and is designed for shorebreak conditions and competition tricks! It’s smaller, thinner size allows for quick in & outs, easy paddling, and high maneuverability for tricks. While this would be considered our “pro” board, it’s also perfect for smaller hands, or those simply preferring a smaller board. Link to our Nehu.
The next time you are out in the shorebreak and a school of little silver fish streak past and maybe jump your board, those are the Nehu. Quick as lightning, they surf and leap the waves in large schools.