Tuesday, November 8, 2011

2012 RRD Slalom Boards

The new RRD X-Fire has broken cover and here it is.  They have developed the TT tail which they claim is a breakthrough in windsurfing.  They claim that it reduces drag and improves early planing in the bigger sizes.  This may be a genuine breakthrough but I've seen so many of these over the years in our sport that I will reserve judgement until the test comments and racing results start coming through.  So often we see something heralded as a breakthrough one year only to be quietly dropped the following year (with no explanation from the board maker).  I assume that the TT tail is that area marked in red on the underside of the bigger boards.

What I do agree with is the way they use a different design regime for the bigger boards.  I have always believed that boards of  over 115l need to have a completely different bottom shape to the smaller models.  If you are using a big slalom board, the wind is going to be lighter and the water state is going to be flatter.  In these conditions early planing is the prime consideration (flatter underside, wide tail etc).  As the wind and water become more hectic, control at speed becomes the prime consideration and your shape needs to adjust accordingly (more aggressive concaves, narrow tails etc).  Some designers seem to simply upscale their successful small sizes believing that this will result in effective big sizes.  My belief is that big and small slalom boards are totally different animals.

Anyway RRD seems to know how to build good slalom boards so if you happen to live and sail close to an RRD retailer who allows "try before buy" you should give one of these machines a spin if you are looking for an exciting ride.

Next time I will re-post an earlier piece on gybing where I gave some critique on Alice Arutkin's gybe video.  Some of you have approached me to do this so I will try to get the video and commentary on the same page to make it easier to follow.

Talk to you soon

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