RED PADDLE 10’7” WINDSURF MSL 2017 REVIEW
In the final stages of development during last year’s WindSUP review, we are pleased to include RED’s inflatable windsurf board here. More than a two-sport compromise, this 10’7” is specifically designed for use in our beloved sport, based around their 10’7” WindSUP, but featuring the first ‘drop-in’ daggerboard that has been seen on the market for some time now. Targeted squarely at “windsurfing beginners, looking for the perfect way into the sport”, it uses the brand’s MSL fusion manufacturing process to reduce weight and ensure stiffness at lower pressures. There is a clear pattern on the EVA deckpad, designed to help provide visual guidance to the novice rider, and there are hardwearing carry handles on the board’s rails as well as its nose and tail, which soon become very handy when launching board and rig together. Another neat feature is the addition of a so-called RAM mount on the plastic bracket of the board’s nose. Used to securely attach the gadget of your choice, from a GPS to a Go-Pro camera, a fishing rod to a cup holder, RED continue to push the threshold of features available on this fast-evolving type of board. Coming complete with all the usual high-quality add-ons, such as a bag, Titan pump and repair kit, there is also a free water-resistant phone case in every package – a handy addition for those extended cruises.
“Windsurfing on an inflatable board isn’t a compromise – it’s a revelation. The 10’7” Windsurf pulls off the feat of combining the benefits of an inflatable SUP with all the technical elements of a windsurf board. Thanks to the Sure-Fin system, which is unique to Red Paddle Co, this board takes elements from traditional windsurfing and incorporates them in a modern way.”
Despite being designated the Windsurf specific model of the RED range, the 10’7” is exactly the same as their 10’7” WindSUP and as such it paddles very well. Keeping the ‘Sure Fin’ daggerboard in, you need to be conscious of your depth, and being that it is relatively fragile, we opted to remove it and put up with the occasional flush of water coming through the casing as you paddle. Without it in place, the board is a little less directionally stable in the paddle, but what you lose in traction is more than made up for in the board’s ability in transition. Step back and the 10’7” spins effortlessly on its tail. It is incredibly agile and took many of the test team by surprise. Put the daggerboard in and fit a rig to the RED and it becomes a true champion for windsurfing progression. With plenty of stability at rest for all but the heaviest beginners, its real trump card is realised in its ability to track upwind. In fact, we found it more capable than many of the best entry-level hardboards we have in our centre! Does this signify the end of the hardboard then? Well, probably not … but what the RED does do is put the inflatable windsurfing specific board firmly on the map.
Capable and easy as a stand-up paddleboard, with more than enough performance for most, this RED is fundamentally a class-leading inflatable windsurf board design, that truly puts the ‘inflatable cat’ amongst the entry-level ‘hardboard pigeons’. A fantastic practical option to teach windsurfing to friends and family, it does come at a price (and with a daggerboard that needs to be cherished), but once you’ve tried it, you’ll understand why.
Other boards in this test: