Not too many learner's reviews on here so this is my opinion of my new board after using it for 6 weeks.
Me: 99kg surfer who loved sailing boats and who's wife convinced him to try windsurfing in November 2015. I've become a bit addicted though so have sailed usually once to twice a week since then so have become reasonably competent. I can tack really fast but can't gybe to save myself.
Learning board: 180L Starboard Express from November 2015 till early September 2016.
Why the JP MR 154? I'd been looking for a while but a buddy showed up with a carbon MR 140 and it tipped me over the edge. The Windsurf Magazine freeride shootout had shortlisted me down to the Fanatic Gekko, the JP Magic Ride and the Naish GT. The Gekko was quite expensive, the Naish reviewed as being better for lighter guys using bigger sails and the Magic Ride suddenly appeared at a red hot price on Seabreeze as a shop special so I got on the phone and got it shipped to my doorstep.
My impression of the board: Fantastic! The plan was to upgrade to a board with better performance than my Express that I could use as an every day board for all conditions. I originally considered the 140 but the 154 was almost identical dimensions and when you're a 99kg beginner to intermediate there's no substitute for cubes. The bulk of the volume and width (84cm) seems to be just in front of the mast so if you have your weight forwards it's really stable to tack and if you start getting a bit out of shape just moving your weight forwards stabilises it heaps. The lack of volume in the tail and also the pulled in pin tail takes a bit of getting used to after sailing the wide tailed Express, at first I was getting really out of shape by putting too much weight rearwards without enough power and downforce through the mast base but once I learned to sail it properly the lower volume in the back of this board is what makes this board so good. In stronger wind and heavier chop, I shift my weight backwards and the tail soaks up all the hits instead of the wide front end and it's like it's got suspension, a really comfortable ride, way better than slapping my way across large chop on my Express. The stock fin is a 52cm freeride shape for the 154 with the minimum recommended size a 44cm freeride so I bought a 44cm fin too as our sailing spot is really shallow. The 52cm does make the board way more stable at lower speed and is essential for bigger sails (biggest I've used is 8.5m) but the 44cm works fine for smaller sails with plenty of wind/power. I've so far used the 44 with 6.1m sail in 15-18kn wind (which I probably could have used a 7m but 6.1 was comfy) and 5.5m sail in 25+kn wind (where I was overpowered by heaps), I had one real good tail end lose on the 25kn day but it was loading up the fin coming off the top of a little swell so was probably half my fault. I've saved the best characteristic of this board till last, it just wants to go. It planes so quickly compared to my old Express and, like some older reviews of Magic Rides say, it seems to like a smaller sail than the other guys would be using and just wants to take off. Build quality seems really good as well, but time will tell.
The verdict: I'm sure there's probably a number of boards that suit someone of my skill level but I can certainly say that this board is a great progression from a learning board. It is just so much fun to use, I can't see myself changing it anytime soon. It's the perfect general purpose, everyday blaster, and it looks pretty good too.
Thanks to The Brad for the photos, I've since moved the front straps out to the rails to try to load up the fin more.
Thanks for posting the review, have wondered about the MR's, helps when you can't demo boards
I know what you mean OW, if you're ever down our way you're welcome to have a go.
Cheers PB, envy you guys having a crew to bounce things off, I sail 95% of the time on my pat malone but do love my sailing. Will definitely find you guys when I venture down that way.
Good review well done .years of fun ahead ,keep practicing those gybes ,it will come ,never give up .it took me a year before I could gybe .
keep your mast up straight .
JP has top quality boards.
Nice account of your equipment PB.
second photo you have the board nice & flat and riding that fin too. Great form!
Yes the gybes will come so keep at it.
Move your back hand wide early and look through the sail or at the clew.
Im always telling myself this. (Commit too Dave)!!!
Nothing jibes better than thin wide boards, especially those with extreme curve at the hips making for a narrow tail compared to the width of the wide point.
Atom, Gecko, RocketWide, Magic all similar, with slight design differences.
My first short wide board, in 1985, a Haut custom at 8' long, 23" wide, winger round pin tail jibed better than anything around at the time or for another 20 years. I never tried the side fins on that board, it was too good as a single fin with boxes.
Was wondering why windsurfing was so easy back then.
Got a RogueWave 8'5" x 24", but only 78 liters, about 8 year's ago that I still ride occasionally. The thin rails is magic in jibes, the width planing up sooner than most 95 liter boards, but the volume keeping the board weight down to 14 lbs with 4 footstraps.
Our Magic 118 is quite a board. Just about the same topspeed as SuperSport109, Futura 111, or Speedster 100, it does take longer to get up to speed, but it's jibes far outweigh it's sluggishness to accelerate to top speed. A great show off board.