RRD AIRTOURER CONVERTIBLE V4 12’0’’ X 32’’ 2018 REVIEW
The AirSUP Convertible range has been completely overhauled for 2018, bringing it into its fourth generation. This 12’0” by 32” AIRTOURER CONVERTIBLE design is the second largest in the series and benefits from the technology advances the brand has made, using a Sandwich Dyneema Belt (SDB) on the hull and Thermo Plastic Belt (TPB) on the deck, which is said to act like a stringer and make the board 50% stiffer than a conventional drop-stitch iSUP. It also sees the introduction of a PVC soft rail on the tail of the board, providing the hard edge for release and planing potential. Bright in its predominantly orange livery, it is certainly a well thought out and feature-rich product, with padded carry handles in the nose, central position and tail, stowage nets both fore and aft, and even a neoprene bottle holder on the front deck. Both the centre and rear fin are completely removable making conversion between the sports and rolling the board after deflation as hassle free as it deserves to be. It comes complete with a roller bag and HP2 pump providing two inflation modes (capacity or pressure) for ease of use.
It’s the one-for-all board that will introduce anyone straight to any watersport in the blink of an eye. The AIRSUP CONVERTIBLE V4 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.
With both fins in place, the RRD has easily the largest fin area amongst this group, so it came as no surprise that it tracked supremely well. In fact, such is the geometry in fittings and rider stance that the AIRTOURER CONVERTIBLE actually tends to naturally point windward, which when teaching a beginner means that you may need to guide them back downwind – a novel problem to have! Squeezing forward the instant you provide power, it is so directionally assured that it is best suited to medium weight or even heavier riders, capable of carrying larger rigs so that they can influence the board’s direction in transition. It is a wonderful board for light air cruising, making the most of summer breezes and covering distances in comfort. The rail edge technology in the rear of the board does make a tangible difference, helping the board to maintain its speed and slip through lulls, or accelerate in gusts. It won’t win races against any windsurfing hardboards, yet wins out in the practicality stakes when you consider it fits in the boot of your car. Transformed into its SUP guise by taking off the central finbox, the RRD is the closest board in the test group to resemble a touring board. It retains its directional prowess with masses of ease and glide, its pointed narrow nose experiencing relatively little deflection in choppy seas. And with its wide tail and double elastic carry-nets, it can carry plenty of weight or supplies for a prolonged adventure.
A smooth cruising machine with wonderful glide and unwavering directional prowess, the V4 AIRTOURER CONVERTIBLE 12’ also has the stability and balance so that it can be used to introduce your friend or family member to both sports.
Other boards in this test: