In the first of a new type of in depth kit test for SUPM we put JP’s LE CruisAir 12.6ft x 31” under the microscope. Read on for a deep dive product focus.
JP’s CruisAir 12.6ft x 31″ LE (light edition) certainly lives up to its name when carting to and fro. With its weight reduction simply getting to the put in is super easy. Those familiar with inflatable SUPs will certainly be aware how much lighter air filled boards can be but JP take this one step further here and have produced a product that really is a joy to transport.
Those wondering how the CruisAir’s lightweight capabilities affect construction needn’t be alarmed. Durable double lined Dropstitch material make JP’s 12.6ft blow up tourer a tough cookie and worthy consideration for anyone after a quality inflatable. Reinforcing in the correct places combined with quality fixtures and fittings, plus big bold graphics, ensures it’s a SUP built to last and a stand up paddle board that delivers oodles of performance on the water.
Bags for boards
Before hitting the brine we should mention the CruisAir’s bag. It’s very easy to wander into your local SUP emporium and expect your new iSUP to have a wheeled bag included as standard. In many cases you’ll also end up with a paddle (albeit lesser alloy version) and probably a leash. Everything needed to get you afloat basically. JP buck this trend by supplying the CruisAir bundled up as a board only in a bag without wheels.
Should this be a concern? Not in the slightest! While wheels and associated bells and whistles of other brand products may appear better on initial glance the CruisAir bag is a decent bit of comfortable kit regardless. We travelled abroad with the CruisAir 12.6ft and had no issue – see article elsewhere in July’s mag. In fact the bag was robust and functional enough to pack out with other luggage. And while you may not get a paddle this gives the consumer opportunity to purchase a higher end sweeper which is much better in the long run.
With its weight saving properties paddlers without muscles like Arnie will have no trouble lugging the 12.6ft to the water. Our less beefy tester commented as much.
Inflated to the recommended 15PSI the CruisAir is a pretty rigid platform. Not the most rigid we’ve used but certainly enough to ride over chop without issue and not be an annoying ‘banana’ that some iSUPs suffer from. Before laying hands on the CruisAir UK brand manager Andy Chambers alerted us to the fact JP have incorporated reverse camber into the design. This helps flatten out the board and allow a more efficient track. Translating to paddle strokes it meant less time switching from rail to rail, with riders able to paddle on one side for longer thereby covering ground more efficiently. ‘Listening’ closely to this part of the design those comments definitely ring true. Less paddle transitions does indeed deliver an improved experience. Stability is good – as you’d expect with 32″ of width. Bigger built paddlers will find even more balance with a tad more air rammed inside.
With a few brisk paddle strokes JP’s CruisAir 12.6ft hits top speed quickly. Light construction ensures it’s effortless to drive and propel in forward motion with decent levels of momentum. Sitting high on the water – rather than in it – the JP provides an elevated paddling experience that flat water SUPers will appreciate. If there’s any chop and flotsam kicking about, or the breeze picks up, we found its higher riding properties are slightly affected by chop buffering. That said with the hammer down it’s possible to reach your chosen destination efficiently.
For those wanting to chuck in a few pivot turns and practice manoeuvring it’s a fine tutoring platform. Remaining composed through each transition budding racers would be able to perfect their technique with less time being dunked in the drink. And if paddlers fancy lashing down essential touring items to the deck then the up front section accommodates more baggage than you’d think.
JP Australia’s CruisAir 12.6ft LE is a winner of a board for its light weight alone. Jaunts to the beach on your bike, or travelling with gear for overseas touring missions are much more rewarding – even when supplied without a perceived bells and whistles bag. Efficient across flat water it picks up speed quickly – the lighter construction helping here again – which combined with its reverse camber enables improved tracking and point/shoot riding. If you’re looking for an all round versatile travel companion or easy to throw about family iSUP for light wind days at the coast or inland paddling adventures then the CruisAir 12.6ft fits the bill.