JP ALLROUNDAIR LE WS 11’0″ REVIEW
The LE of the AllroundAir’s name stands for ‘Light Edition’ and to quote the brand, it is “light weight, light design and light on your pocket!” The range is comprised of two board sizes (10’2” and 11”0”) yet only the larger of the two is available as a WindSUP option in 2016.
“Full-on paddle AND windsurf boards! When we came up with the inflatables, the windsurfers in our company were always curious how they would feel as a windsurf board. So we decided to make a sample and they liked it and saw some potential for these products. But the real surprise came when the riders of the JP windsurf team used them: they really liked these toys and it was obvious that they had a fun time on the water.”
Pick the AllroundAir up and you can instantly understand what the brand is alluding to – it is easily the lightest board in this group. They have achieved this through the use of a thinner drop-stitch material (called Cross-Linked Space Yarn), incorporating a special lamination bond to adhere the base-cloth directly to the outside PVC layers. This ‘light drop-stitch’ process was pioneered by JP a few seasons ago and has proven benefits beyond just weight saving, with a more consistent cosmetic finish and improved stiffness at lower pressures. Whilst the lightness makes the board easy and practical to handle, its thinner construction also provides the advantage of being able to roll the deflated board tighter, leading to the development of a more compact bag. Its minimalist construction does however come with a healthy disclaimer directly from the brand: “The fact that the drop-stitch material itself is thinner carries a risk of easier damage if the board is not handled with care. Sharp rocks and frequent abrasion on concrete or asphalt may result in damage to the surface easier than with a standard JP double-layer edition board.”
At 6” deep the AllroundAir sits high on the water’s surface, its length providing directional stability, whilst its ample width making it easy and practical to get on with. Used as a SUP, it glides efficiently and is a very comfortable board for cruising over great distances on, feeling corky yet responsive. One noticeable advantage of the LE’s construction and dimensions is that it provides excellent stiffness even at low pressures (a 75kg adult can get away with as little as 10PSI), making it practical for a quick ‘pump and ride’ session. In light winds and with the central fin in place, it becomes a family’s multi-discipline windsurfer, from the beginner’s first platform to the experienced rider’s throw-around freestyle toy. Its upwind capabilities won’t set your hair alight, yet the central fin does its job fine, mitigating any sideways drift. As the wind increases, another real advantage of the LE’s lightweight becomes immediately apparent – being so light (and with its high floaty stance on the water) the board accelerates quickly and efficiently as power is applied. It is not as efficient as others once planing … and its 6” thickness means it is hard to keep the rails engaged and board planted (the LE easily getting buffeted off-course by chop), yet as a tutor for that initial planing experience, the JP is a lot of fun. Its construction demands diligence, so the JP is more suited for private ownership rather than windsurf-school abuse, yet at £300 less than some of the other inflatable boards here, it is not an option to be sniffed at.
Other boards in this test: