I've searched for and could not find a review on this board anywhere. I think I recall DJ doing a video on it? I maybe wrong, so I have decided to review it.
First thing's first, Disclosure: I sell Surftech boards in Perth but try and write fair dinkum reviews, so here goes:
The JM 14 is a bloody hard board to get a hold of with production well behind demand in Australia currently. I managed to get one 14 Navigator to demo.
The board is actually really great looking in the pearly grey and light blue colour scheme and the shape is sleek with exception of the tail where the thickness is at max.
The bottom shape is the slightest "V" running pretty much the length of thre board but becoming ever so subtly more pronounced around the fin. Rocker is extremely flat for 80% of the board with very slight nose lift and slight tail kick in the final 2 feet of each end. Nose is thin and displacement although the vertical nose doesn't extend into the bottom, it pretty much finishes flat.
The board is wide at 29 inches which gives it excellent stability but narrows considerably in the squared off tail. Very rounded rails which firm up slightly towards the rear but there is no hard release edge. This seems to aid in making the board very forgiving.
I thought after my first inspection of this board that it would be a fast flat water paddler and although it is quick, it isn't as fast as others unless you really get up on your toes and paddle like a lunatic to break it out of the water and get it planing. Being fair, the board isn't built to primarily race flat water. The board is more at home in the ocean and downwinding in choppy conditions. I found the nose, being low profile, could be used as a keel in cross winds by stepping forward and engaging the vertical bow. This helped a lot in paddling across wind.
Punching upwind into the chop it is very stable and well behaved, piercing the waves but it also allows the board to slow as it tries to resurface with a fairly flat deck being slow to dissipate water over the bow. This is about the only negetive (if you can call it that) that I could find. Seeing as there aren't really any upwind races, it shouldn't slow you down much.
With the tail of the board being very squared and trapezoidal in shape and the thickest part of the board being aft of the standing position, it's weird stepping back to pivot turn because you really need to go a long way back to raise the nose, only to find you didn't need to go back that far in any case as the nose only needs lifting a couple of inches to pivot nicely with one or two sweeps. The stability in pivot turning in choppy water would be a considerable advantage in ocean racing around cans.
Downwind: This is where the board comes to life. It has taken me a few downwinders to start to work out where it works best. The board is light, built in Carbon Pro-Elite construction and I've already talked about the stability in the ocean. In small chop and swells on most boards, I find being just forward to the handle about right to give it the correct trim to catch small runners, then move back once up and away. The Navigator is almost the opposite. I'm a bit of a lazy downwind paddler and don't like to move around on the board if I don't have to, so the Nav suited me brilliantly.
By going forward like on other boards, it does get onto a wave a bit earlier, but then buries itself in the back of the forward wave and slows as per previously mentioned. It doesn't wander or pearl badly nor broach at all, and comes up where it went in, especially if you roll the board quickly back and forth with alternating foot pressure to help clear the water over the foredeck.
If however you stand about 16 inches behind the handle, the nose stays up and the tail doesn't seem to dig in much. I scarcely noticed a difference in speed, but the difference in accellerating the board onto the plane was amazing. As the nose is about to bury in the wave ahead, a few quick, strong strokes to break it onto the plane and hang on! The board accellerates like someone throws a handful of bearings under it on a polished floor, the speed is phenomenal and effortless once it is planing.
The Navigator happily flows with the waves and will give you enough speed to paddle through the wave in front if you keep paddling it hard once on the plane. I found this amazing and can't wait for a 30 knot downwinder in decent swells and chop. If anything, slowing the board with the paddle may be necessary to stop it over running the trough and slowing on the wave ahead. Cross chops don't seem to bother it in the slightest as the nose meanders back and forth slightly without ever feeling like I was losing control of it. Predictably and comfortable are the words that come to mind when I think about how it handles. I gave it to my missus to ride in her first ever 6km downwinder. She didn't fall at all but also not being a strong paddler she didn't get it up and planing to take advantage of the runners.
This is now my favourite downwind board and I have tried it on three seperate occassions in completely different water conditions each time. So easy and so quick downwind.
A seriously good alrounder and an excellent downwinder. Definately suits people who can power hard and quick to help it up onto the plane. Unfortunately there is an Australia wide shortage of these boards currently which should be addressed in the next container ..... maybe.....
I can agree with you on that review. It is a flawless piece of equipment.
I can be proud in the fact i own one of these boards and knowing that i waited a while to get my hands on it really made understand how nice the Jm14 Nav's are.
I will make mention to that is is one of the only race boards out there in the market place that comes with a waterproof core.
Yep got the facts direct from surftech and a "Waterproof" it is.
Good review, have to say I have had my JM 14' for some time probably one of
the 1st as I purchased it from JM stand up paddle company at Palm Beach when they where 1st released.I tend to do alot of klms both open and flat water and so far I can't say a bad word against it. Im one happy paddler.
what is ment by waterproof anyway for a board please explain
Googled surftech waterproof and got a fair bit of info about this new magic foam - but it's all from 2006-2008 - what happened since? Did it suck?