JP invented the freestyle-wave, and have remained at or near the top of the rankings pretty much every year since then. The 77 Pro is billed as great for flat water, waves or freestyle.
Design: Two years ago JP took the decision to add significant tail rocker to their Freestyle Waves, giving them more than most of their competitors. This was to increase their wave appeal and turning ability but inevitably also impacted on their speed onto the plane. Nevertheless, the relatively long ‘planing flat’ (flat section in the rocker profile) maintains the high flat water appeal and blasting performance. The JP also has relatively low vee, and relatively narrow nose and tail. It feels a little smaller than the other boards of nominally 77L. This year’s board appears slightly narrower but with fractionally less vee than last year’s model.
On the water: The JP has a very definite feel that you couldn’t confuse with the other boards in its class. It feels exciting and a little nervous. Although its early planing performance is slightly behind its main rivals, once its planing threshold is reached it accelerates extremely quickly. While it’s not difficult to blast along with, it does give the impression of a slightly ‘speeded up ride’; as though it is going twice as fast as the others even though actual speeds are very similar. It feels extremely nimble and is an agile gyber and waverides quite well, but was generally felt to be a little more technical to manoeuvre than its rivals. Its forte is undoubtedly jumping when it gets great speed into the jump and lift on take-off, and the small hull and exceptionally light construction of the Pro model make it highly manoeuvrable in the air. It is also great for blasting in flat water since it feels so fast and exciting.
Fittings: The pads are comfortable and there is nice dome under the back strap. The straps too are excellent. The inserts are a relatively wide 16cm apart, so narrow feet can swim in them a bit, though the reversible plastic attachment can help slightly. The quite stiff and wide fin didn’t seem to be the most forgiving and forgettable but the Powerbox fitting makes it easy to install and remove. The Pro model hull was impressively light at 5.73kg (including straps) and seemed strong.
Overall: With its narrow tail and relatively high rocker there would seem little point in using anything much bigger than 5.5m on this board, and it is at its best with 5.0 to 5.5m though quite capable of handling smaller, particularly in flatter water. While it gives creditable performance for riding it is not quite as loose and composed as the opposition, and although fine for freestyle too it is small so riders would need to be quite light. Overall, this board stands out as a design for relatively experienced sailors who sail in both flat water and small waves and are looking to inject an edge of excitement into their sailing and extra performance to their jumping.