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Gili Manta Ray Multi-Person iSUP Review | 2023
Gili Manta Ray 12’/15’ Multi-Person iSUP: Overview
The Gili Sports Manta Ray Multi-Person iSUP is available in a “tandem+” 12’ configuration and a full-on 15’ party board easily capable of carrying five or more people at a time. These boards are not just big, but big fun for your whole crew. We tested both the Manta Ray 12’ and Manta Ray 15’ and they have quickly become our favorite multi-person iSUPs. Keep reading to find out why!
— Gili Manta Ray 12’/15’ Group iSUP Summary Ratings and Review —
Gili Manta Ray 12’/15’
Construction & Durability
Features and Versatility
Warranty & Customer Support
The Gili Manta Ray iSUPs are built well, easy to use with a group of people, and just a blast on the water.
- High quality construction makes the Manta Ray easy to paddle and gives piece of mind when using it with a large group
- The sizing matches up exactly as advertised – the 12’ can easily accommodate two adults (and then some) while the 15’ is ready for groups of 5-6
- Each board comes with two pumps (one for each valve) and two paddles
- The Manta Ray has loads of features to match your needs
- The rolling cases are easy to pack and easy to move
- It does take a long time to inflate these boards because of their size and extra thickness. We highly recommend using at least one electric pump
- The boards are quite long when rolled up (approximately 4’ and 5’ respectively) so transportation in small vehicles may be an issue.
Construction and Durability
The Gili Manta Ray is made with dual-layer PVC and reinforced rails with an extra-thick drop-stitch core to easily support your whole crew out on the water.
The Manta Ray multi-person iSUPs from Gili are built much in the same way as their Adventure series iSUPs. There are two layers of PVC tarpaulin for the deck and hull of the boards and two layers of PVC wrapped around the rails to complete the airtight chamber and provide additional support and protection. The rail layers also have PVC reinforcement strips on the top and bottom edges of the rail to help reinforce those exterior edges.
Besides the massive size of the Manta Ray 12’ and 15’, what sets it apart from Gili’s other iSUPs (and most others on the market) is its 8” thickness. Rather than using a standard 6” drop stitch inside the board, Gili has gone with an 8” thick board to provide more volume and more rigidity. That also increases the maximum weight capacity for these multi-person boards.
The Manta Ray 12’ has a max weight capacity of 725 lbs, and the Manta Ray 15’ has a max weight capacity of 1150 lbs. While this technically means you can fit a whole lot of people on each one, what I’ve found is that the Manta Ray 12’ is ideal for up to 2.5* adults, and the Manta Ray 15’ is great for up to 5 adults.
*Please do not cut your friends in half!** The Manta Ray 12’ is great for two adults and a kid or dog, or an adult and 2-3 kids/dogs, etc.
Because of the Manta Ray’s large size and specialty use, we did not put it through our standard bend test. On an iSUP this large there would not be a significantly measurable deflection in a test designed to mimic a single paddler, and any result we would get would be very skewed.
On the water, I can tell you that the Manta Ray handles both solo and tandem/group paddling very well. You can feel some reverberation through the board if someone is taking large steps (or jumping up and down), but overall both the 12’ and 15’ Manta Ray remain pleasantly rigid on the water, even with 5 adults.
|Length||12’ 0” / 15’ 0”|
|Max Capacity||1150 pounds|
|Board Weight||52 pounds|
(SUP & accessories)
|Returns period||60 days|
Features, Accessories and Versatility
The Gili Manta Ray is not just a multi-person iSUP, but a multi-purpose one as well.
The sheer size alone of these paddleboards lends them to being more versatile than a standard size iSUP, but there’s more than that. Both the 12’ and 15’ Manta Ray paddleboards have the same feature set, the only difference between them is their size.
At the front of the board there is a carry handle, threaded action mount, and a six-point super-large cargo area. The rear D-rings of this cargo area also have threaded action mounts. There’s also a D-ring under the nose of the board you can use to anchor or tow it.
Along the sides of the board there are two sets of handles, six more D-rings, and two velcro paddle holders. There are two more handles in the middle of the board. Because of the board’s width these aren’t really carrying handles so much as helpful handles when getting back onto the board after a nice swim. On the front of the deck pad are two Scotty-style mounts, and at the rear of what I’d traditionally call the standing area are two more threaded accessory mounts.
The deck pad itself is a brushed EVA foam with grooves running through the middle section of the board, and it transitions to a diamond groove deck pad toward the tail. I do wish the deck pad extended farther forward. This would give a more comfortable standing/sitting area for passengers and provide better grip on the front of the board.
At the rear of the deck, the Manta Ray has another large four-point cargo area, two more handles on the sides, two more Scotty-style mounts, a rear carrying handle, and two inflation valves. The inflation valves can both be used at the same time either with the included high-flow hand pumps, or two electric pumps (or mix and match). With the high volume of these boards I do highly recommend using an electric pump.
In all, the Gili Manta Ray (both the 12’ and 15’ version) has 10 handles, 18 D-rings, 2 paddle holders, 4 Scotty-style mounts, and 5 threaded accessory mounts. If you have something you want to bring along, there’s a way to secure it to this board – kitchen sink included.
The Manta Ray comes as a complete kit with the board, two pumps, two paddles, five fins, repair kit, and a wheeled travel bag. It does not include a leash. I do appreciate the doubling of the pumps and paddles for this kit. The Manta Ray, even the 15’ version, can be paddled solo, but it can be tricky and it’s just not as fun as with a group of friends. The bags are designed to fit the full width of the boards as they are rolled up, so they are quite long compared to a solo SUP bag – about 4’ and 6’ long for the 12’ and 15’ versions. This is important to keep in mind for how you plan to transport the boards to the water.
Stability and Paddling Performance
The Manta Ray is all about good times with good people. Both the Manta Ray 12’ and 15’ can be paddled by an individual, but that’s not what they’re really designed for. Instead of reviewing the individual paddling performance characteristics like I normally do, I’m going to stick with a more general overview here.
I was very pleasantly surprised at how well both the 12’ and 15’ Manta Ray SUPs handled on the water. I paddled both versions solo just to see how feasible it could be. The 12’ version requires you to either scoot a little off center (or lean farther with a longer paddle), and I was basically standing on the rail of the 15’ version to paddle solo in order to paddle them by myself. Both boards were pretty efficient feeling in the water, and even though I was way off to the side of the board they both tracked really well thanks to the quintuple fin setup. Yes, they each have five fins! Turning the boards by myself was a bit tricky, but they both handled pivot turning really well. They were very stable as I stood all the way on the tail, and they did turn quite smoothly with the nose up and out of the water.
But how do they handle fully-loaded? I tested the 15’ Manta Ray with four other adults (five total), and I tested the 12’ Manta Ray with one other adult and a 50lb dog. Before I tried them out with a lot of people I expected them to be really sluggish and hard to paddle – more of a floating dock than a paddle board. I was quite wrong.
With five adults on the Manta Ray 15’ we were able to easily paddle wherever we wanted to go – and it didn’t take all five of us to do so. With one person in front and one person in back paddling you can easily coordinate direction, and actually get moving faster than I expected. Occasionally the other’s helped paddle, but it wasn’t really needed. One person trying to do it alone is a bit of a struggle, but if there are at least two people, it’s quite easy.
We could have all five people standing up without any issue, though it did get a little harder to balance like this. It is easier to balance with everyone paddling as the movements are more coordinated versus everyone standing/moving on their own.
It’s just as easy to paddle the Manta Ray 12’ with two adults (and a dog). It is very stable to have both adults standing and paddling together. The dog did make things a little more complicated as she moved around from side to side, but while she was settled, or if one or both paddlers were kneeling or sitting, the dog could move around without issue.
Both versions of the Manta Ray iSUP are excellent to paddle. They’re excellently stable and are easy to maneuver and move. During a Halloween paddle, we were easily able to keep up with the solo paddlers while paddling the Manta Ray 12’.
Both versions of the Manta Ray have five flip-lock fin boxes and come with five fins. There is one 9” center fin and four smaller 4.5” fins for the side fin boxes. You can use as many or as few of the fins as you’d like (just make sure to keep it symmetrical). Those using the Manta Ray as a river cruiser may want to leave out the center fin and/or use fewer of the shorter fins to help make it even easier to steer the party wherever you need to go.
Warranty and Customer Support
The Manta Ray 12’/15’ is covered by Gili’s 2 year manufacturing warranty and comes with a 60-day money back return period (subject to shipping and restocking fees). The included accessories are covered by a 90-day warranty period, and the roller bag is covered by a 1 year warranty against defects in materials or workmanship. If you have any questions about the Manta Ray multi-person iSUP you can contact Gili directly through their website, via email, or by phone.
The Gili Manta Ray 12’/15’ multi-person iSUP is a well-built, incredibly fun paddleboard for your whole crew. Both versions not only work well as a stationary base for fun, but they paddle incredibly well for their size. If you are looking for a group iSUP for up to five adults, the Manta Ray is a fantastic choice at a great price.
Overall Impressions/Review Summary
I love the Manta Ray iSUP. Paddling with your friends is always a good time. Paddling with your friends on the same paddleboard definitely takes things up a notch. Whether you are cruising a lazy river, enjoying some hijinx on the lake, or getting out for some group fishing, the Manta Ray supports it all.
Gili Manta Ray 12’/15’ Multi-Person iSUP FAQ
How many people can fit on the Manta Ray 12’/15’ iSUP?
The exact answer depends a little bit. The Manta Ray 12’/15’ has a weight capacity of 725 lbs and 1150 lbs respectively. As far as space, I’ve found that the 12’ is great for two adults plus a child or dog, and the 15’ is great for up to five adults. You could fit more than that on either, but will be more limited on how easy it will be for people to stand up, and how easy it will be to paddle and maneuver the board.
How long does it take to inflate the Manta Ray 12’/15’ iSUP?
Both versions of the Manta Ray iSUP have two inflation valves. Using electric pumps with both valves it takes about 15 minutes to inflate the 12’ Manta Ray and nearly 25 minutes to inflate the 15’ Manta Ray to 15 PSI. Using the included hand pumps can actually be faster, but only if you are able to take turns with your other crew members. Otherwise the inflation times will be roughly the same.
How portable are the Manta Ray 12’/15’ iSUPs?
The 12’ Manta Ray weighs 35 lbs and packs into a roller duffel bag that is about 4’ long. The 15’ Manta Ray weighs 52 lbs and packs into a roller duffel bag that is about 5’ long. It’s recommended to have two people help lift and move the boards when not using the wheeled bags. The 15’ Manta Ray may be difficult to fit into smaller cars. Once inflated, both the 12’ and 15’ Manta Ray are easily transported by two people.
Can I use the Manta Ray 12’/15’ iSUP for fishing?
Absolutely! Both versions of the Manta Ray have 4 Scotty-style mounts and 5 threaded accessory mounts to hold all of your equipment securely in place. There’s tons of room for a cooler (or two!) and heaps of stability to keep you upright while casting, fighting, and landing your catch.
Can I use the manta Ray 12’/15’ for yoga?
You bet! Both versions of the Manta Ray have incredible stability and large deck pads with plenty of room to stretch out and move around. Namaste.
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