The JP X-Cite Ride shapes remain unchanged from 2007, with the exception of the fin positions which were changed to increase ride comfort and top speed. The X-Cite Ride is available in a range of six sizes spanning 100-160 litres and three construction levels: Epoxy Sandwich (heaviest), Full Wood Sandwich and Pro Edition (lightest). All the boards in the range are shaped by Werner Gnigler.
We tested the 120 litre, Full Wood Sandwich model.
"It’s all in the name – exciting boards that deliver an exciting ride. So easy they almost sail themselves. They plane early achieving top speed effortlessly. Quoted by magazines as ”The best Easy Gyber and the most comfortable board in choppy waters." – JP Website.
first impressions, Fixtures & fittings
The Board comes standard with a well match 38cm fin. The straps are excellent and also feature a neat system that allows you to adjust the width of the strap (for narrow or wide feet).
Unfortunately the board doesn’t include a mast track scale, which may be due to the track being surrounded by deckpad (a nice feature in itself), however an extra point was scored for offering a central back strap position for novice strap users.
The X-Cite ride is the longest board in the test. JP claim that the extra length is designed to make the board more forgiving.
At 69cm wide, it fits pretty much in the middle of this group with regard to width. It is the 4th lightest board in the test at 7.64kg.
ease of planning
The JP is a fantastic early planing board. Both inboard and outboard strap positions are easy to get into and the board has excellent release from the water, feeling crisp and light underfoot. The JP lost out only marginally to the Fanatic and Tabou, because we had to bear it off the wind slightly more to get going. Adding a slightly bigger fin (the Fanatic and Tabou have 42 & 44cm respectively against the JP’s 38cm) might go some way towards addressing this.
‘Comfortable speed’ is the phrase best used to describe this board. Blasting overpowered on a broad reach in chop, this is the board to be on. The high nose gives you such a secure ride that you can keep going longer and faster without worry. It’s quite a unique sensation to go so fast, so comfortably.
As we point higher into the wind from broad reach to tight reach, the comfort factor becomes slightly less important and a couple of the other boards gain a small advantage in speed. But it is minimal.
As highlighted above, this board has an abundance of control. Overpowered and/or in chop, the board delivers a comfortable and predictable ride. It is surpassed only by the 3 slower, more manoeuvre orientated boards; Goya, Exocet and AHD.
advanced carve gybe
For competent carve gybers, the JP is fun to gybe. You can tighten your arc, to some degree, whilst turning. (unlike most of the other early planing/speed orientated boards in the test), but it isn’t as rewarding to gybe as the more manoeuvre orientated boards such as the Goya, Exocet, AHD and Drops.
beginner / intermediate carve gybe
The JP is exceptionally stable, forgiving and tolerant of clumsy technique, yet still retains enough responsiveness to keep you entertained once your gybes start to improve. You can be confident enough in the early planing abilities of the board to get you up and going as quickly as possible should you happen to lose speed mid-gybe. Inboard footstraps are positioned perfectly for the job.
overall feel, ride & foot comfort
This is the longest board in the test. The long, relatively narrow, rockered nose gives the board more of a gunny ‘traditional’ feel, which is one of the first things you notice when you first sail it.
The board is lively and exciting underfoot, but not bad-mannered in any way.
The deckpads are possibly the firmest in the test, which combined with the stiffest set of footstraps, helps to confirm the board's crisp, responsive feel.
Both the inboard and outboard strap positions feel well located, allowing you to get in and out with ease, yet at the same time control the board effectively.
set up recommendations
The standard fin works well as a ‘one size does all’. To really get the most out of this board you could consider buying a 42cm fin for early planing/lightwinds (on sails over 7.5m) and a 36cm for high wind days and sails smaller than 6.5m.
JP claim the sail range to be 5.5-8.0 ideal with 5.2-8.5 possible. We think this is a pretty fair claim, although wouldn’t be too keen on using much under 6.0m on it unless you are either inland or light and not planing to sail too powered up (eg ladies/ lightweights learning to carve gybe etc).
We found the mast track position not to be too critical. It was quite versatile in where you could position the track (ie if you got it wrong, it wasn’t too detrimental to the boards performance), but with 7.7m’s we found it worked best around …… and 6.2’s at…….
Footstrap positions were equally comfortable inboard or outboard depending upon your preferred set up. There is also the 3rd option of centreline straps (which we didn’t get an opportunity to try). The footstrap spread (front strap to back strap) is slightly narrower than on most of the other boards, so those with long legs may want to set the front strap a bit further forward.
The JP X-Cite Ride really is a board that does it all. It’s a consistent performer through all the criteria we tested and we can confidently say that anyone who buys this board will be spending money wisely. Whether heavy or light, intermediate or advanced, coastal or inland, this board will deliver the goods.