RRD FREESTYLE WAVE
LTD Y25 96L
2020 TEST REVIEW
A high wind freeride exemplar with an extra trick up its sleeve. The RRD Freestyle Wave may mean extra cost, but that extra set of thruster fins is worth every penny.
The Freestyle Wave has been a big hit for RRD over the years and forms an integral part of the brand’s Free Line range, alongside the popular Firemove and Firestorm. Dressed in their distinctive Y25 ‘monochrome and orange’ graphics, the 96 is available in three different constructions, this LTD version being the middle offering, supplied with a K4 single fin whilst possessing the side slotboxes, should you prefer a thruster setup. Wide and voluminous in the square nose and shoulders, it has full rails forward of the mast track, yet thins and tapers quickly towards the tail, highlighted by having the narrowest one-foot-off measurement in the group. As with the Wave Cult tested last month, the FSW also boasts large defined wingers in the tail, enabling the tail to adopt a narrow rounded outline for improved manoeuvrability. It comes supplied with four heavily Velcroed straps, which require time and persistence to set correctly, yet once adjusted provide excellent connection. There are inboard and outboard strap options, albeit the double back strap positions are still very much over the board’s centreline. With plenty of rocker flat in its tail and mid-section, the 96 adopts a visibly fast rocker line, yet exhibits the FSW’s now signature nose kick, turning upwards late to lift the board’s nose and shoulders high.
“The Freestyle Wave is your everyday board. The most versatile board in our range will always make you rejoice whether if you are riding it in flat water or waves. What you get is an excellent planing, easy-going pure pleasure fast ride and great manoeuvrability.”
The winning formula of RRD’s Freestyle Wave series over the years has been to provide maximum reward and return for minimal demand of technical input. The definitive plug and play board. Well, the Y25 96 continues in much the same vein. Balanced and dependable off the plane, it can take a 6.5m sail with ease and responds the instant power is delivered. Used with the K4 fin supplied, there is plenty of drive and traction to push against through the tail, meaning that even the slightest weight transfer onto the back foot makes the board express its interest in releasing. It will flatter the progressing intermediate and make them feel like a champion, the board accelerating smoothly, feeling lively yet controlled underfoot. Whether single or double back strapped, the rider’s stance is more upright and over the board, rather than locked in and pushing hard. Nevertheless, it reaches a very respectable speed, the shoulder and nose flying high, whilst the back of the board retains constant contact with the water, poised and ready to change direction under any change in foot pressure. Peerlessly comfortable and relaxing to sail for hours and cover great distance on, whatever the sea state, it glides through lulls beautifully and possesses plenty of volume and support forward of the mast track during tacks. In the past our reservations of the Freestyle Wave was of its wave riding capacity, feeling a little stiff and stubborn to redirect round tight corners. This latest incarnation largely addresses this with the distinct tail redesign. You’ll have to go out and buy yourself a set of thruster fins, but it is certainly worth it, as it transforms the 96’s nature from directional and dependable, to much looser and more flowing through the turn. Push confidently through the tail in the bottom turn and the 96 bites crisply, the fins gripping and projecting the board back towards the wave, before the narrow rounded tail allows the board to transition smoothly from rail to rail and snap back to face down the wave. A great companion for hassle free fun, the new tail shape has bestowed the FSW with an extra dimension.
Volume (Quoted): 96L
Length: 228 cm
Width: 62 cm
1ft off: 38.3 cm
Bottom shape: Flat in the nose, to slight vee with double in the shoulders, the vee becoming more pronounced by the mid-section and in the tail, whereas the double remains subtle.
Weight (Naked): 6.76 kg
Fins: K4 3SW FSW 28 cm (Powerbox) + 2 x thruster slotboxes.
Sail Range (Quoted): 4.5-6.7m
Sizes Available: 78,84, 90,96,104,114.
Price: BLACK RIBBON £2491 | LTD £2224 LTE £1823
Other boards in this test:
THE LINE UP