Session Notes – JP Australia 8.0 x 27 at 95L

I’m a believer in the race to the bottom, the idea that it’s worth the time and energy needed to learn to paddle smaller boards, because surfing them is much easier.

Last week Garry Menk, of JP Australia, came though Nosara.  He brought with him a few boards that happened to find a home in to our extensive board bodega.  One of those boards was my first performance shape, the 8.0 x 27.

On my race I blew through the 8.0 on the way to the 7.4 Starboard Airborn and then landed on the 7.4 JP for a few months.  Now I ride equal V/W, normally in the 82-85L range.  But, with this brand new beautiful 8.0 in the quiver, and some bigger surf on tap, I decided to give it a go, and figure the board out.

Here are some quick notes –

  • The difference in 85 and 95L is MASSIVE!  I feel like I’m paddling a race board.  Getting out in whitewater is fun.  The float and heavy nose rocker let’s me pop right powerful foamies.  Getting in to waves is a breeze, and wave count has been high in big mushy surf.
  • Energy consumption is much lower with a little more float.  It would be interesting to measure calorie burn.  I’m guessing that 10 liters equates to 20-30% more effort.
  • I played with fin placement.  The board works better with the fin all the way back, or about 1cm from the back of the box.  She feels stiff there, and it’s tough to push out the tail, but she keeps speed on the bottom and feels good in what rail turns you can muster.  The area where the board lacks is rail turns, as do most windsurf turned SUP production boards.  She’s a great board, and you just need to adjust the way you surf a bit.  Watch Keahi, he kills it on the JPs – but you won’t see too many rail turns (and he isn’t riding the production model.  He rides  – at the time of the podcast – a 7.6 x 26.).  The sweet spot for fins is smaller center fin pushed all the way back.  I have the GL center now and will be changing to an AM2, with FCS adapter, which will be smaller.
  • Backside length matters more.  Frontside surfing is aided to a larger degree by strength and paddle pull.  Backside surfing relies more on rail work and body swing.  The swing weight of the 8.0 slows down backside surfing.
  • Riding the 8.0 makes me want to try the new JP 7.2 x 25.  That’s an 82L board, it could be incredible.
  • She is a much better board in steeper waves.  Here again, JP and Starboard share the common trait of pushing water in slower surf.  I don’t feel either company has dialed in bottom contours or entry rocker.  I’m not a shaper, but the feeling of both boards is slow once you get on the bottom.  Compare that to my Hobie and Infinity boards and they carry speed like a shortboard, with less volume.

Overall, I love the board.  She has a space in the quiver.  It won’t be a daily rider, but when the reefs get going, and covering distance and dealing with chop are a factor, she’s the best option.

If you like this blog you’d love coming down to surf in Costa Rica with Blue Zone SUP.  We’ve got space in our July 9th-16th Camp!!!

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