2008 sees more minor tweaks to RRD’s successful all-rounder. They have retreated slightly from the much wider nose and tail of the ’07 board, cut the length significantly (c. 5cm) and slightly increased the rocker through the tail. It adds up to a board that is perhaps half a size smaller than last year’s 86, so those upgrading should take note.
The basic ingredients are the same as ever, with early planing and smooth easy tracking to the fore. Compared to last year it seems a little bit slower to get going and a bit looser and more manoeuvrable. It prioritises comfortable blasting and excellent jumping with its generous nose rocker giving it very good lift in take-off and a wavey feel. The shorter length and rocker flat have led to slightly more pitch in chop, taking away slightly from the freeriding suitability but adding to the manoeuvrability. Several sailors picked it out as a favourite gybing board, finding it very easy to keep out of trouble in swell and chop and particularly easy to keep speed up on. We were impressed with its application for waveriding, being not far at all behind the more wave-biased boards and clearly ahead of most of the ‘fast-tail’ boards. It does however have quite high vee so is more rail-to-rail than pivotal in onshore frontside.
Comfortable straps and although most found the pads comfortable as well we did find the raised heel bumpers make for quite a flat deck under the back foot, which cuts down comfort for sustained blasting and promotes a more upright wave stance. We’d like to see the double density pads set into the deck, as per the waveboards. The board comes with a nice G10 25cm fin, with classic rather than Powerbox fitting.
The shapes get tweaked but the popularity stays right up there. Top or within the top three for all the guesters and very popular with the testers as well, giving it the highest aggregate position.
Although it has changed focus slightly and isn’t so fully geared to planing in the least possible wind or giving maximum blasting comfort, the basic ethos is the same. It prioritises speed, early planing and ease of sailing but thereafter gives as much manoeuvrability as possible. We currently rate it as the most manoeuvrable / wave compatible of the true fast-tails but it’s now getting close to the boundaries where ‘fast-tail’ becomes ‘fast waveboard’. This year it has increased range with smaller sails but is essentially a top contender for anyone who wants exciting multidiscipline sailing in coastal conditions with sails between 5.2 and 5.8m.