RED PADDLE 10’6″ RIDE WINDSUP REVIEW
The Ride 10’6” WindSUP is new to RED’s line-up for 2016, based on the top-selling board in their range. Using exactly the same outline and material layup, the 10’6” Ride’s design has been modified with the inclusion of a deckplate insert just in front of the carry handle in the deck and two US boxes – one in the middle of the board to act as a dagger-fin and the second in the tail of the board, replacing the middle iFin. The Ride 10’8” is also available as a WindSUP, providing more float and stability with its 34” wide / 296L frame.
“Inflatable SUPs are becoming more and more popular because of their versatility and practicality. We’ve taken those qualities and added another dimension – the option to turn your SUP into a windsurfer. With the 10’6” Ride WindSUP, you get the world’s most popular inflatable SUP, only with the added benefit of being able to fit a sail for the days when the breeze is up. The 10’6” makes the perfect base for a windsurfer because it’s wide in the midpoint and has an extra wide tail, giving it great stability. And of course, pack away the sail, and it’s a straight-up SUP too.”
Introduced this year, RED are now producing all their boards (this WindSUP included) using a process they are calling Monocoque Structural Laminate (MSL). The idea is that they fuse the outer layer of hardwearing PVC to a specially formulated adhesive layer applied to the drop-stitch thread structure. The lamination is carried out by a machine at the raw material stage (i.e. before the board is cut out), thereby removing any chance for human error or inconsistencies in the layup. The advantages, say RED, are a better cosmetic finish and a lighter board that is actually stiffer at lower air pressures. Add this technology to the brand’s already established construction thoroughness (including details such as a second layer of rail tape as standard, a premium inflation valve and the brand’s Tec Air process), and the Ride is certainly a well thought out product. It comes supplied with the excellent Titan pump with its two chambers, a quality padded wheelie bag, repair kit and a water resistant phone case … but no second fin.
The 10’6” Ride’s SUP’ing credentials need no real comment, suffice to say if you haven’t been on one yourself already, there’s a good chance you know someone that has! But how does it perform as a windsurf board? The simple answer is … very well! It offers plenty of balance, directional stability and glide, feeling both responsive yet dependable underfoot. If we didn’t know the Ride’s pedigree, we would believe that it is designed specifically for windsurfing, rather than being modified with windsurfing as a second thought. The 10’8” Ride WindSUP is recommended by RED for “windsurfing beginners looking for the perfect way into the sport”, yet for all but the largest rider, we would suggest that the 10’6” provides ample buoyancy and accessibility, with the advantage of being a little more dynamic as the wind increases. We did try the board with the sole fin supplied in the centre position, relying on the side fins for traction in the tail of the board. It worked well in light winds and for lighter/junior pilots (arguably making transitions easier), but as the wind increased we found the board’s performance was enhanced by the addition of an extra fin at the tail, counteracting the increased effort put through the back of the board.
Other boards in this test: