JP SLATE 87L 2018 TEST REVIEW
The third year of the Slate’s existence is marked by a complete overhaul of the series, with three new designs, this 87 being the middle contender. Available solely in Pro Edition construction, using S-Glass technology with PVC stringers, the Slate’s layup now incorporates tough impact-resistant basalt rails for maximum durability. The shape of the new Slate brings it closer to the outline of a conventional wave-board – longer, with a narrower nose and additional rocker for a safer feel on the wave. The tail is also narrower, said to make it more versatile and easier to carve more vertically on the face. Designed to be fast and loose yet easy to ride, the Slate is all about providing the minerals to rip, even in marginal conditions. What is retained from its predecessor is the Slate’s affinity with a mono-concave bottom shape, albeit solely under the rider’s feet in this new design, tempered with straight double concave by the track and vee in the nose. When all other brands are resorting to the convention of vee / double concave, it would be interesting to see how the mono-concave of the Slate matched up. Supplied with resin transfer moulded thruster fins, JP’s familiar Velcro straps and thick 10mm dual density pads with a raised section through the middle of the back pad, it is quite an uncomplicated design, a halfway house between compact and conventional.
“Our goal was to widen the range of use and deliver outstanding performance in any conditions and we are proud to say that this is JP’s best-ever wave all-rounder.”
Whilst possessing some of the smallest dimensions in the group and feeling small and compact underfoot, the JP responds the instant power is supplied and releases onto the plane willingly. More importantly, it feels very conventional, tracking straight easily and rarely suffering from the squirrely upwind sickness that compact designs seem to
experience when off the plane. Push in more power and the Slate keeps accelerating, feeling lively and responsive, yet super controlled. It charges through confused seas, the narrow outline stopping it from being buffeted by rogue chop, whilst the extra rocker in the nose this year keeps the shoulders high and dry. It is a lot of fun for coastal bump and jump, its speed and composed, balanced nature help the rider punch off any ramp for practicing their aerial stunts. Its stance in the water is unique amongst the group, retaining a long wetted line, settling on the straight double under the mast track. It feels secure and dependable – allowing the rider to blast around confidently and make the most of the Slate’s speed. On the wave face, the mono-concave in the tail of the board comes into play. Enter the bottom turn with pressure on both feet and the Slate’s arc can then be tightened through pressure on the back foot. It feels wonderfully adaptable, with the speed for cross-offshore conditions and loose rail-to-rail response for cross on. We did try it as a quad (using twin 15cm to go with the 10cm side fins) as well, which makes the tail sit lower in the water. For clean cross-offshore conditions, the extra grip could be a bonus, but for most other conditions (and typical UK coastal arenas) we feel the extra drive from the 19cm
central fin supplied is more appropriate.
Fast, early to plane and a lot of fun in any coastal environment, the Slate is an all-round play machine, which remains no less capable on a wave face. A compact design with conventional ease, it was a real hit with all who used it.
Other sails in this test: