JP AUSTRALIA SLALOM PRO 68 112L 2014 TEST REVIEW REPORT
JP’s dedicated racing range quotes each size relating to width and has two ‘wide’ models, this 68 and an 84, for those who prefer the benefits of girth and two slightly more slimline sizes at 66 and 80 wide. A high-wind 59 shape and the speed-oriented 55 round off the collection. JP also have a Formula design, the freerace Supersport (test to be published in June issue) and two further speed sailing sizes.
‘In addition to the 59, which is our highwind board, we offer a powerful quiver (68 and 84) for the rider who prefers wider boards, and also the slightly narrower line (66 and 80) which offer outstanding top speed and control.’ (Sic.)
There’s no denying the JP Slalom Pro looks a little ‘old skool’ in outline with the stretched, parallel profile and boxy rails. And at 240 x 69 it is indeed both the longest and narrowest shape on test. However we don’t remember old skool boards being quite so easy to sail and this 68 definitely makes life a little calmer with easy-to-access low-end and pretty reasonable acceleration too. (Experimenting with fins will make large differences on any board in this respect though.) We’d expected the straight outline to be hard to gybe but actually it’s pretty forgiving and not too demanding of technique, although you’ll still need some application and commitment, as this is a no-compromise race board after all. Initially we struggled a bit on softer fins before finding that smaller, stiffer foils brought a better ‘flight’ over the rough water. But it has to be said that, at the top-end – and in contrast to the low-end – you have to earn every knot with this shape and it will take some pretty intense concentration to unlock all of the highest speed potential. Across and deep downwind we found the length a little prohibitive with some slight ‘slap-down’ (even with the track back) and a pretty consistent level of ‘calf-splash’ ejecting itself from the chunky rails. However, those boxy edges are useful for those who like a more traditional, outboard stance, acting as good levers against the fin. Compared to some shapes that have a more upright, inboard sailing position, to really let fly and reach the highest possible speed, we found this 68 was better on liftier sails with finer entry and less drive down into the hull – and to be generally better in flatter water overall.
A traditional shape in a modern construction that’s forgiving and friendly to get to grips with. However, edge towards top gear and you’ll need some nerve to unlock the potential speed. Perfect for those who sail in flatter water conditions and like an outboard stance with a solid rail to push against. The Slalom Pro 68 is best paired with liftier sails that pull high to really let the nose fly free over more testing water conditions.
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