The X-Cite Ride is JP’s classic range of ‘everyman’ freeride boards that have performed excellently over recent years. JP seem to operate a two year development cycle with the X-Cite and their success in doing this should be an example to an industry that is often guilty of turning shapes around every year for the sake of hype and fashion. This is the second year in the cycle and as we tested the 120 last year we opted to test the smaller 110 this time round.
Type: All-round versatile freeride board for all levels.
On the water:
The design formula of a long planing flat, good nose lift and simple, moderate outline has been honed by JP over time and just seems to deliver the goods. The over-riding characteristic of the JP is ease. Despite being relatively small in this test it seemed to get planing earlier than most even with a 7.5m sail and the smallest fin on test. It requires almost no special techniques to make it release and it goes upwind almost without needing to bear away and get speed up first. All of these things will be loved by intermediates but are actually pretty useful for advanced sailors too. Tracking too is excellent and it delivers an effortless comfort when on the plane which extends to good performance in chop and when overpowered. It has a very wide wind range and despite JP’s own recommendations we feel it will take up to 8.0m. Gybing performance is also very good and although it initiates gybes easily and holds a very secure line, its real quality is in how it stays flat and keeps momentum coming out of the turn. Another top feature for intermediates learning the carve gybe. So, are there any drawbacks? The flat rockerline can be felt slightly in the swell where it is not quite as free as some, and it is not at the head of the pack for very top speed, but this is really nit picking.
The straps, strap options, pads and deck shape are all of excellent quality and the fin, though small, seems to do the job fine through a wide range of windstrengths. A bigger one may help a bit in very marginal conditions. The hull weight on this model is very light at 7.77kg which helps performance slightly, but needs a bit more looking after.
The most surprising thing about the X-Cite Ride is the breadth of its appeal. Nobody, from mid-intermediate to expert, had a bad word to say about it. While it is obviously one of the best boards for early to mid-intermediates it is also a lot of fun and feels quite exciting to advanced or expert users as well. It is a board that you don’t really need to concentrate on when sailing, which frees up all your energies for new moves you are trying to learn or simply enjoying the moment.