JP AUSTRALIA WAVE SLATE PRO 86L 2017 TEST REVIEW
The Wave Slate remains unchanged for 2017, available in three sizes and PRO construction only. The 86 is the middle sibling and comes supplied with an 18cm resin transfer moulded (RTM) fin and two 11cm side fins of the same construction. Tested last year in this size, we were taken by its speed and aggressive response. Its design concept revolves around a single deep concave that flows throughout the board, finishing in vee in the tail. The deepest part of the concave effectively generates a long flat section through the middle of the board, promoting lift, early planing and speed. Then combine that with a rail-line that has no flat section at all and you can begin to understand why the board has two distinct characters, from straight-line blasting to being put on its rail.
“The total new design enables a new style of riding. The boards are super efficient in maintaining their speed on waves. Their radical feel and turning potential will not just catch the eye of others but also make an otherwise dull session in marginal conditions a very exciting and vivacious one!”
Having tested the Slate last year, we knew what to expect somewhat and fully lit on a 4.7m, it certainly reminded us of its qualities. It is fast, sharp and responsive, taking you by surprise if you’d been on a sedate board beforehand. It can’t help but motivate you, its lively character feeling direct and engaging, demanding your attention. We tried it once again as a quad (this time with a couple of carbon 14.5cm fins to partner the 10cm side fins), but still maintain that the Slate is most user-friendly and capable in thruster mode. As a quad it’s as if it has too much fin area underneath the tail of the board and forces the board to point too high to the wind – we regularly found ourselves trying to turn it back off the wind. Smaller in feel than both the Fanatic Stubby and Tabou Pocket, it requires input from the rider to encourage its release, but once it has got the idea, it accelerates as if it has a nitro button hidden under the back strap! Properly powered, it can really motor upwind as well – a great asset in heavy wave breaks or where there is a lot of water movement. Its penchant for wave-riding is still evident in all its glory, holding its speed through the tightest turn and switching instantly from rail to rail through its flat deck. But with some other real contenders in the JP wave range in the form of the Radical Thruster Quad and the Thruster Quad, what would make us reach for the Slate over them? Having tried them in a number of conditions, we’d have to say that it’s a tough call to make. And yet the Slate’s tight cornering potential would definitely win out in the really short sections of cross-onshore conditions … or those looking for a new and exciting challenge to reignite their enthusiasm for less than idyllic conditions.
The Slate remains one of the more defined compact wave-board designs, challenging convention with its turn of speed and involving riding style. For those that like to tinker with fine-tuning and be challenged, the Slate will reward with bags of attitude around a break.
Other sails in this test: