RRD AIRSUP CONVERTIBLE V3 10’4” 2017 REVIEW
The AirSUP Convertible V3 sits in RRD’s extensive inflatable SUP board range, mirroring a few select sizes of their AirSUP V3 series and converting them for windsurfing with the use of a mast-foot insert and a removable central fin. As with all the other inflatables in this test, it is produced using an internal drop-stitch core wrapped in several PVC layers. However, in order to improve stiffness, RRD use a sublimated fabric stringer on the deck combined with a ‘uni-directional dyneema sandwich belt’ that radiates from nose to tail across the board’s deck and hull. Said to make the board “30% stiffer” than a conventional board, the AirSUP also boasts a special high-pressure 18 P.S.I. valve, to maximise the rigidity possible. Tested here with a thickness of 4.75”, the 10’4” is also available in a 6” thick edition, intended for heavier riders that demand even more stability and stiffness. Supplied with its own unique fin system, it does take a little longer to fit than the standard US box found on most other boards, but once in place, both fins form a smooth tapered profile all the way to the board’s hull.
“The AIRSUP CONVERTIBLE V3 is the most appropriate type of SUP board to also learn how to windsurf. With its generous width it makes it super easy for anyone to step on, paddle or uphaul a sail. It’s the most popular board range for families who wish to find a board to satisfy everyone.”
Although quoted with a volume of 190L, we suspect this is either a misprint or a simulated calculation, as the AirSUP feels significantly more buoyant underfoot. 290L we can believe… Wide and super stable, it has a large fin and centreboard surface area under the water, and tracks fantastically as a result. Used for windsurfing, it can cater for the complete novice, providing plenty of room for error thanks to its width. It is also surprisingly agile in manoeuvres, the wide squaretail enabling the pilot to step back confidently, before the board’s short length enables it to swing easily, the central fin providing little resistance despite its size. In SUP mode, the RRD also glides incredibly well; far better than we anticipated, given its short yet bulbous stature. It could keep up with the long narrow boards in the group with ease, the soft EVA deck with its longitudinal pattern providing plenty of grip and traction for long periods of use. Its graphics weren’t to everyone’s taste, but its performance credentials can’t be doubted – it’s an impressive all-round contender.
With excellent glide and masses of stability (both directionally and at rest), the AirSUP from RRD is every bit the windsurf tutor for entry level and progressing riders, whilst far from out of place as a SUP tourer too. A great all-rounder for a variety of uses, it was liked by all who tried it.
Other boards in this test: