JP MAGIC RIDE PRO 103L 2017 TEST REVIEW
Along with a new smaller 97L model, the 103 is a new design for the Magic Ride this season, replacing the 104 of old. Sitting alongside the Freestyle Waves and All Rides within the JP range, the Magic Rides are said to plane earlier and require less input from the rider. Tested here in Pro construction, the 103’s appearance is visually clean and uncomplicated, with a rounded outline, pointed nose and flat deck. The rails and bottom shape of the 103 do however give an idea of its intent – the board’s edges thinned significantly, whilst keeping a hard tucked edge throughout its length. The board’s bottom shape is also one of the most complex in the group, with a mix of everything from vee to mono-concave from nose to tail. Coming complete with the brand’s thick double comfort deckpads and Velcro straps, it is well finished in its bright orange/red livery. The G10 fin supplied is 36cm, as with most other boards in the group, yet it is much wider than most at its base, giving the foil much more area.
“The second generation of these extra wide, short and thin freeride boards provides super early planing, an easy, exciting ride and unbelievable gybing abilities for all rider levels. The new 103 follows the shape amendments of its bigger brothers…”
On the water the Magic Ride provides one of the more sporty and energetic performances of the group. It planes readily, the fin providing masses of traction with which to push against, and helping to convert every bit of power into a positive response. Directionally stable, it accelerates rapidly and feels super comfortable underfoot – the deckpads and straps providing excellent connection with the board. And as you begin to charge around, challenging your peers to a drag race, you realise one of the 103’s strengths immediately – it simply soars upwind. There isn’t a hint of spin out as you push against the fin, gliding through lulls and pointing at seemingly impossible angles for a freeride board during gusts. Off the wind, the 103 is also impressive – it seems to fly on its fin, but with a degree of control that requires relatively little input from the rider. And despite possessing a distinctly average tail width, the thinned rails give the impression that the tail is narrower than most, feeling grounded and in control at all times. This attribute also comes into play during the gybe, the 103 entering the transition in an authoritative manner, with the speed and energy that will carry it through the turn, requiring little rider intervention. Push aggressively though, and it will respond willingly – it will charge as hard as you dare. As the wind increases and the sea state becomes more challenging, we did find the fin’s base length and area began to take affect, creating a lot of lift that required real rider input to keep to heel. Change it for a more conventionally shaped fin and the board settled well, remaining planted on the water and enabling the rider to keep the hammer down.
Sporty, lively and direct in nature, the Magic Ride charges upwind and around the bay, feeling loose and inspiring underfoot. Fun and versatile in the gybe, its control benefited from a smaller fin as the conditions turned on.
Other sails in this test: