RRD FREESTYLE WAVE V4 LTD 96L 2018 TEST REVIEW
The fourth generation of the Freestyle Wave series remains current for 2018 and harbours four sizes, available in two different constructions – Ltd or Wood. The Ltd version of the 96 is tested here, complete with its beautiful sanded and glazed front hull finish. And despite its loud zany deck graphics, the board’s design is clean and straightforward, with a squashed nose, rounded outline and narrow pintail. There’s a considered amount of kick in the last 40cm of the nose, said to improve performance in the waves … whilst the rocker flat is extended in the tail for speed and early planing. The volume is shifted forward in the board to improve balance and stability, which in turn means the fittings and rider’s stance are also trimmed further forward than many other boards here. It comes supplied with a G10 MFC fin, Da Kine straps, traction deck pads (home to a multitude of strap placement options), and plugs for the side fin slot-boxes. As an optional extra, you can buy the thruster fin set recommended for the four FSWs, which in this case for the 96 is a 20cm centre fin and 11cm side fins.
“The new outline with Cut Out Nose helps to make this new shape even more compact than the previous version. This feature combined with the refined and thinner rails on the tail and the new thruster fins set-up make those new shapes much more free, alive and responsive to rider’s input no matter if ripping on waves, boosting a gybe or pulling out some trick.”
Balanced and directionally stable at rest, the RRD is one of the easiest to release onto the plane in the group, requiring very little input from the rider. Accelerating progressively, it has a very natural stance in the water, the nose riding high whilst the tail retains a relatively long wetted line. It has a fast cruising speed, not necessarily winning any straight-line race or accelerating further if you try to plough more energy in, yet feeling lively and responsive underfoot. The fin supplied provides plenty of traction and purchase through the tail, never once spinning out, yet supplying the drive to lulls and variable conditions. Whether you opt for the inboard or outboard strap positions, the FSW supports a more upright riding stance over the board, offering smooth response to changes in foot pressure and making it very comfortable for use over long periods. It is also an excellent tutor for carving manoeuvres, its rounded outline and narrow tail helping the board to grip instinctively, before retaining speed effortlessly through the turn. Change the fins to a thruster setup and the RRD instantly has more manoeuvre-potential for waveriding. We didn’t have the opportunity to try it with RRD’s optional thruster set, but used a similar setup instead, resulting in the board feeling looser and more pivotal through the back foot and transitioning easily from rail-to-rail in the top turn. Happy in every sailing arena, from flat water to coastal bump and jump and into riding waves, the FSW’s performance comes easy, rewarding rider input with smooth dependable response.
Super early planing, stable and forgiving, the FSW makes the perfect companion for those that want maximum fun for minimal effort. Get the thruster fin option to significantly extend its range of use.
Other sails in this test: