P introduced the Wave this year to replace the outgoing and very successful Real World Wave. As we found in our test last year, JP managed to produce a ‘real world wave’ board that actually worked really well in all conditions, not just cross-on. With the advent of twinsers and quads, JP have this year removed their narrow down-the-line wave board from the range and now offer the Wave as their only single fin option for all conditions.
The Wave is actually pitched on the website as their choice board for onshore conditions as well as offering enough all-round performance to cope with all conditions.
Like the Fanatic, we were expecting the JP to be geared more towards straight line performance (particularly as JP have 2 twinser lines and a quad for the wave riders), but much the same as the Fanatic we get the feeling JP have tried to improve the wave riding potential of this years board at the slight expense of straight line performance compared with last years board.
In a straight line it has the trusty and secure JP feel that we are finding familiar across many of their boards - riding stable off the tail with the nose safely high. However, it really isn't as fast as we expected it to be or as quick to get going. It’s sufficient, but the Wave needs to put up a good enough argument to gain buyers over the Twin and in our opinion there isn’t that much difference to compensate for what it loses on the wave face. For sure, if you are heavy or just a novice wave sailor, the small difference in practical performance may make quite a difference to you, but most sailors are going to have so much more fun on the Twin in our opinion at a surprisingly minimal loss in straight line performance. In fact, it's worth remembering that the twin fins actually have better control at the top end of the wind range, which gives the case for a single fin even less conviction...
Riding is refined for a single fin board, but like the Fanatic, overall performance is ultimately limited by the number of fins this board has. The Wave delivers a reliable bottom turn, holds good speed through the turn and has the advantage for novice wave riders of being a little less sensitive and responsive to foot pressure. However, advanced riders will much prefer the extra response the twin fin offers and in particular the tightness of the carving top turn. The Wave is just not able to compete with the Twin for tightness of turn off the top.
It’s important to keep the fin near the front of the track to gain as much manoeuvrability as possible (and doing this doesn’t seem to compromise the straight line performance much).
Impressively, the Wave is the lightest board in this test and as usual, the quality of fittings and attention to detail is top notch. It's worth noting that the pads and straps are a bit harder in feel than most, which is a matter for personal preference.
The Wave is a good single fin wave board whose performance within this group is limited more by the number of fins than anything else. If you are dead set on buying a single fin or feel that you need the extra help in getting planing, directional stability and less sensitive response on the wave, then the JP Wave is a good all-round board that can cope with pretty much any conditions it may encounter. However, if you are a competent wave sailor, we’re pretty confident that you will have a lot more fun on the Kauli Twin 74.