The shapes of the RRD Freestyle Wave range for ’09 are unchanged to those of ’08, although the graphics have changed quite a lot! New for this year are additional models at either end of the range: the 120L and the 75L. We chose to test the 80 rather than the new 75 as it is closer in width and effective size to the other freestyle-waves on test.
Design: The RRD has a pretty standard and relatively quick ‘fast-tail’ freestyle-wave rockerline, with quite a long planing flat (2cm point) and not much tail rocker. It has a moderately wide tail, moderate tail vee and although being quite short it holds its width a long way forward so doesn’t feel all that short.
On the water: The extra tail width and flatter tail rocker give it a slightly more composed and settled feel than the JP and Fanatic. Although it feels a little slower and gives a softer ride it actually planes up a bit earlier, goes at much the same speed and gives slightly improved control in hectic conditions.
The RRD is less of a specialist than most of the other freestyle-waves and although it didn’t stand out in any one discipline it is extremely competent in all of them. It is fun and rewarding in flat or choppy water, being easy to take upwind and tack and forgiving to gybe. We found it slightly easier and snappier to manoeuvre than most FSWs. It seems a little looser on the wave, giving quite slidey top turns with the higher-than-average nose rocker giving better clearance and good lift in the jumps. It also proved pretty decent for freestyle either for higher winds or lighter riders.
Fittings: The 22cm classic box fin is of good quality. If you are looking for maximum moderate wind performance with bigger sails a bigger foil would be a useful investment. The straps work well and are very comfortable but are slightly spongier than the standard Cobra straps. The pads are quite unusual. They offer a soft ridged dome that you can either use as heel dampening if you have your feet fully in the inboard straps or use as foot arch dome for a really solid connection to the board if you move your feet slightly outboard for blasting. It works very well, giving an extremely versatile and comfortable attachment to the board that helps you keep control (although some reported that feet can get jammed in due to the softness of strap and pad).
Overall: The 80 continues RRD’s tradition of extremely versatile and reliable freestyle-waves that work extremely well in a wide variety of conditions and disciplines. In comparison to other similar sized FSWs, rather than offering the highest sensation of speed or excitement, the RRD gives increased ease and versatility, with extra emphasis on manoeuvrability. The 80 offers lighter sailors (60-70kg) a great all-round platform for moderate to medium wind coastal or stronger wind flat water sailing. Slightly heavier (70-80kg) sailors, who through lack of funds or sailing opportunity may not be able to justify a high wind waveboard, may also consider it as an ideal coastal all-rounder. It has a wide wind range, is happy up to about 5.7m and very tolerant of small sails and high winds.