The JP Freestyle range is available in three sizes: 90, 99 and 108 litres and two constructions (Pro Edition and Full Wood sandwich).
For 2009 JP claim to ‘keep the balanced feel and improve the sliding ability with extra pop for the big moves’.
This test looks at the Freestyle 99 in Pro Edition construction.
"You just can’t beat it. It’s a total feeling of Play when you hit the water on these boards, no rules, no boundaries, no limitations, just go out there and do whatever you want to do - that’s freestyle! No other Freestyle boards on the market combines top freestyle performance with such true, unmatched freeride potential." – JP website
The JP achieved a GOLD Quality rating with the following scores:
The slightly stiffer straps and pads of the JP are excellent for freestyle. The well textured pads give plenty of grip and the heel bumpers ensure that the shock is removed from all but the hardest of landings.
The 25cm fin looks massive, but actually works surprisingly well for freestyle, considering it size.
The JP and Goya are the only two boards in test not to offer a double screw fixture for the back foot strap.
The JP is the longest board in the group at 239cm. On the water, it feels big, perhaps the biggest in the group, but this isn’t reflected in the remainder of the measurements, where for width, tail width and weight it fits bang in the middle of the other boards.
The JP is like a big slippery soap dish – even when you are off balance and expecting the rail to bite, the board just keeps spinning and sliding. The RRD is the most stable of all the boards in a slide, but the JP is the ‘slippiest’ and least likely to bite or catch.
Overall, it’s a great board for new school moves such as vulcans, spocks, flakas and grubbies. It has good pop and spins at a controllable rate, even when over-powered.
For advanced moves such as the ponch, shaka, and combinations, the JP scores jointly with the Fanatic, RRD and Starboard. It cant quite match the Mistral, which is that bit more agile and has better carving performance to initiate many of the more advanced ‘power moves’, however it does excel thanks to its slippery profile and good size, giving plenty of stability.
The JP can carve, but doesn’t feel all together comfortable whilst doing so. It’s certainly better than the RRD and can pull off quite a tight arc when needed, but it never feels like it is gripping properly and can get quite bouncy through the turn.
JP claim ‘unmatched freeride potential’, whilst we aren’t sure about it being unmatched, it is certainly very good. It has a lovely balanced feel to the way it rides. Some of the boards here feel a little awkward in a straight line, but not the JP.
It blasts comfortably off the tail of the board and offers a very good turn of speed combined with plenty of control, even when over-powered.
Its an exciting ride and whilst head-to-head it isn’t actually much quicker than the other boards in this group; with its more lively ride, it certainly gives the impression it's quicker….much quicker.
It's important to remember that primarily this is a Freestyle not Freeride board. However, if you do plan using the JP for some freeriding, its perfectly capable and scores (joint) best in the test for doing so. Never-the-less, the flat deck and inboard strap position will make blasting a bit less comfortable than a true Freeride board.
The first things you notice when you get on the JP is the nice nose shape, which just seems to look right (not too big, not too small), the reassuringly slippy sensation in manoeuvres and the perfectly balanced feel in a straight line.
Compared to the other boards, it does feel one of the biggest underfoot, but also light weight and stiff. The pads and straps are very good and give a nice level of comfort and grip.
When we first saw the massive 25cm fin, we thought it would be terrible for freestyle performance, but actually it isn’t. Thanks to the slippery nature of the board, you seem to be able to get away with such a big fin, which means you reap the added benefits in a straight line. If you are really into your freestyle, you will probably cut it down with a hacksaw or buy a smaller version (20cm worked well for us, but you could go smaller if you dare!).
JP state an ideal sail range of 5.2–6.5m with a possible 4.7-6.9m and we think this guide is spot on.
JP recommend in their user manual (yes we did read it!), mid position for the mast track. We found this worked well although we did bring it back it about 1 cm further back with smaller sails (less than 5.3m).
The JP is an excellent all-round freestyle board for all levels of rider. For those new to freestyle it’s an ideal progression from a freeride board offering great freestyle performance combined with great straight line appeal. For more advanced freestylers focusing on new school moves there is a huge amount of performance on offer. If you want a board with a bit more carving performance eg lightwind wave riding etc, we would suggest looking at the Freestyle Wave range instead.
A 20cm (or smaller) fin for new school freestyle.