RRD FIRE 7.6 2020 TEST REVIEW
The Fire has changed focus slightly for 2020, maturing into a truly adaptable workhorse. From light wind freeride cruising to high-end blasting, it is equally happy fulfilling a number of roles across a wide tuneable wind range.
The Fire is in RRD’s Y25 range as their ‘Performance Freeride’ model, offering a wide base of nine sizes from 5.0m to 9.0m. The brief and focus of each size evolves though the series, from bump and jump in the smaller sizes right through to a twin-cam in the three largest sizes. This 7.6m is the largest no-cam option, fashioned with seven battens (many of which are tubed), a negative leech outline, double clew eyelets and reduced head size – all measures to improve handling and top end control. Rigged here on a Dynamic Pro Comp SDM (whilst still compatible with an RDM), it is easy to tune thanks to the marker in the top panel, (dubbed their “integrated trim system”) which helps to achieve the right amount of tension prescribed by RRD’s sail designer John Skye. And with a luff of 482 cm, it is certainly a tall sail, its size accentuated by the long boom length and concave leech outline. Displaying a moderate amount of luff curve amongst its peers, the Fire possesses a good amount of depth to its profile at rest, with all four lower battens exhibiting rotation around the mast. Sporting x-ply in the luff and clew panels, the rest of the Fire’s body is fabricated in monofilm, with a clean set and visually striking in its 25-year anniversary colours. Alternatively you can opt for the more monochrome orange livery.
“The ultimate in performance freeride … Lots of low end juice to get you up and moving quickly and plenty of control at the top end to hit top speeds with the GPS. This really is the perfect freeride solution.”
We’ve had the chance to test the Fire’s iterations over several seasons now and have been impressed in how it has evolved. This year marks the biggest change in the series, no longer simply a no-cam performance range, but an extended line of sails whose structure alters through the sizes. Nevertheless, in this size, the remit for the Fire remains very much in line with the heritage set out by its predecessors. Bold and full-bodied in the hands from the off, this 7.6m possesses the largest dimensions of all the sails in the test group and develops the bottom end power to justify its form. As the pressure builds, the Fire pulls positively, its centre of effort locked firmly, yet positioned a little further back and focussed around the rider. As a result the power is tangible through both hands, giving the Fire a really balanced and comfortable nature. Using the upper clew eyelet to maximise the feedback supplied, the Fire’s power delivery is smooth and fluid, bestowing the sail with an alert yet accessible character. Applicable for the intermediate rider, it can partner the progressive freeride platform admirably, covering distance easily and powering consistently through varying winds and on all points of sail. As the wind increases, the Fire can be tuned with more tension to explore its freerace credentials – the side of this new Fire’s personality that is undoubtedly derived from its legacy. As the wind increases, the Fire comes alive, actively accelerating in gusts and generating the lift to help fly the board on its fin. The extra clew eyelet is an added bonus, encouraging a more compressed stance and enhancing its sense of control. It may not be as potent as some here in its top end performance, but what it loses in drag-racing efficacy, it more than makes up for with its newfound versatility. And whilst the size of the Fire is not lost in transition, the battens rotate tidily onto the new side, the power returning in a flowing predictable manner.
Luff: 482 cm
Boom: 209 or 214 cm
Ideal Mast: RRD 460 cm RDM / SDM
Available Sizes: 5.0, 5.7, 6.3, 6.8, 7.2, 7.6, 7.8, 8.4, 9.0.
OTHER SAILS IN TEST