Fanatic describe their new “Jag” board as “A freerace board set free from the racecourse!” Fanatic brand manager Craig Gertenbach gives us the lowdown on the concept.
Words Craig Gertenbach // Photos John Carter (Action), Fish Bowl Diaries (Profile).
WS: What makes the new Jag special?
CG: I think there are three key things that make the Jag stand out. In no particular order, let’s start first with price. The Jag costs about 20% less than a Falcon TE. The price is obviously linked to construction and with that the Jag gets our premium Biax fibre/ full PVC sandwich construction, which is the same as you get in the Gecko LTD and Blast LTD. This brings the Jag in at a price point under what most other freeride boards cost. Factor in the carbon Choco Black Pearl race fin that the Jag comes with and it’s a pretty competitive package. The second key point is the ease of use. Compared to a classic slalom board, the Jag is slightly narrower in the centre and at the tail. A normal customer is probably a bit lighter than your regular slalom rider and perhaps doesn’t have the same skills, so they don’t need the board to generate the same amount of lift to get up and flying on the fin. This means the Jag sits a bit easier on the water and gybes better with the narrower centre and tail. We also adapted the rocker lines slightly so that the board planes early. The Jag actually planes pretty much the same time as a slalom board and you are looking at a top speed difference of maybe 5%, but the Jag is generally way easier to turn and handle. The other key thing is that the Jag doesn’t need to be used with a full on race sail like the Falcon TE does. It can be used with a no-cam, a twin cam or a race sail. The cut-outs are a little smaller which helps get it planing earlier and trims the board down a bit, meaning it’s not as powerful and won’t take off as easily as the Falcon TE.
WS: When you say it gybes better than the Falcon TE, what specifically do you mean?
CG: The smaller cut-outs and the narrower tail, as well as the narrower centre, are the main shape differences that help. The narrower tail basically lets you carve a tighter turn without having to lift such a wide surface onto the rail. Also because the board is less nervous with the smaller tail cut-outs, it doesn’t ride quite so much off the tail as a classic slalom board, which helps when you initiate turns. Plus you will probably be using a slightly smaller, less powerful fin than on the slalom board.
WS: When you say you can use the Jag with a twin-cam or even a rotational sail, but not the Falcon TE, what is it about the shape of the board that lets you do that? Why does it not have to be pinned down as much as a slalom board?
CG: The cut-outs have a big influence. If you’ve got those big cut-outs on the board and you use a no-cam sail, where the power goes backwards more in the gusts, you get a lot of backhand pressure. We’ve seen this at Lake Garda actually when we were testing the Jag. We tested the Jag and the Falcon TE with the no-cams and race sails and it’s a pretty huge difference. You basically won’t get anywhere close to the full performance of the Falcon TE with a no-cam sail, as it makes the board super nervous. It keeps getting up on the tail. Whereas with the Jag you are getting pretty similar performance to what you would get with the race sail. Obviously with the race sail you will be quicker, but the no-cam suits the Jag fine and you aren’t getting completely out of control, that’s for sure. It’s more about the trim of the board, the rocker is a bit lower on the Jag and there are small differences on rocker and vee and a few small changes that just help keep the Jag’s nose down.
WS: The Jag fits in the Fanatic range between the Falcon TE and the Blast. How does it compare with the Blast?
CG: The Jag sits a lot closer to the Falcon TE than the Blast. Compared to the Blast, the Jag is more of a straight-line speed board. It’s not as manoeuvrable as the Blast. The Jag is basically an easier to use slalom board. The Jag you can use your technique more to get extra speed out of it. A good sailor on a Jag will keep up with a rider who is not quite so good on a slalom board, or one who doesn’t perhaps have his trim set up correctly.
WS: So who should buy the Jag over the Flacon TE or Blast?
CG: The Falcon TE is for someone who has the skill, the fins and the race sails as well as the motivation, power and strength and really wants to be the top dog on the ocean or lake.
The Jag is for somebody who just has one board, who doesn’t want to mess around. They get a fin with the board and they might already own a twin cam sail or an older race sail. They just want to plug and play, be fast on the water and they don’t want to have to work on their gybing technique to get the wider board around the corners. The Jag is not just easier to gybe but it is probably more fun as well. And the Blast is basically for the person whose main focus is getting up to speed as quickly as possible and still wants to do some manoeuvres.
WS: What are the stand out features of the Jag?
CG: The Jag has the lowered mast track like you find on the Falcon TE, although not quite as deep. It has a nice rail shape, with a bit of an edge so you can push off it with your foot. It’s not a rounded rail so that is quite nice for foot comfort. It’s also got the double footstrap insert positions so you can stand further in or out depending upon your skill level or preference. Last, but no means least, it’s got the Choco Black Pearl carbon race fin.
The Jag is available in 108, 125 and 135 litres, RRP £1699.
“The Jag is basically an easier to use slalom board.”