To look at, this board is typical of RRD. I’ve known them as a brand for well over a decade now and seen their various offerings in SUP/Kite and windsurf over the years and I like the fact they often defy conventional design for boards. They like to take a proven concept and shake it up a little with something unique.
The first thing I thought when I saw this board is they’d taken an 11-12 foot cruising log and cracked out the grinder to reduce it by a foot or so each end! Okay, so I simplify things a little here, but according to their information that is essentially the principle of the board. Apply the ‘COTAN’ (cut off tail and nose) or parallel rail concept idea that so many companies are doing now in low volume surf offerings, and create a high volume, shorter all round board.
Finish wise, as you’d expect from a high-end manufacturer like RRD this board is great. I liked the striking orange rails with the slick wood finish on the topside. The deck pad is suitably loud, as you’d expect from RRD, but it’s pretty understated for these guys!
The fixtures and fittings are great, with a decent handle with a super deep and chunky grip. I was surprised to see there was no mast fitting on this for windsurfing as this board is marketed as an all-round SUP, and that might have just been the cherry on the cake. That said, I don’t windsurf, so this makes no odds to me, and it’s refreshing to think that a SUP was designed with one particular sport in mind.
In terms of its shape, this board is really interesting. The straight rails are nothing new for this season, but what I like is the conventions this board challenges in other areas. For instance, wider fish tails are often complimented with a quad set up on the fins. This board has a sweet looking 8-inch single fin with quality side bites to match, much like you’d expect from a 10 or 11-foot cruising shape.
However, with the target market for this board, that makes sense, the stability offered by the single larger fin, and the glide afforded by less drag of a quad will make this board much more ‘useable’ for most people, in most conditions. The most interesting aspect of this board’s shape is the underside where there are four pronounced deep channels running through the bottom.
I tested this board on flat water for a bit of cruising and then in shoulder to head high clean offshore surf. Flatwater, it does as you’d expect, it's got a volume of around 160 litres, so for a chap of average size like myself (80 or so kilos) it’s a perfectly pleasant and useable cruiser for those looking for a bit of a poke and float on a river or a bit of coastal exploring. It doesn’t glide like a 10-12 foot board but certainly doesn’t feel ‘stuck in the water’ like paddling a dedicated low volume surf SUP. I removed the side bites and found it created much less drag also.
In the surf, I was pleasantly surprised by this board; it was super stable and totally comfortable on a cross wave diagonal take off, something many cruising logs really struggle with. It also had a ton of volume up front for some little nose rides. Off the tail, it required some force to get it going and crank out those cutbacks or little snaps, but in reality, someone my size would probably look at the 9’0 offering.
However, that said, it didn’t take much to get it moving about, and it was super fun to trim. I reckon you could get this going on a decent ripple if you aren’t blessed with high-quality surf, so this could make an excellent board for folk on wave starved coastlines where groundswell or quality surf days are few and far between. It was a super fun board to surf on and kept me wanting to stay out and get more waves. I was very happy to surf this and would recommend it as a step down from those folk on bigger boards looking to get shred happy.
If the aim of surfing or paddling is fun, this board has it all going on. I enjoyed every single wave I caught on this board, and it made it easy. If catching waves is the aim, this is a pretty rad ride. I didn’t feel restricted by a huge log under my feet or feel like it would pearl or catch when I took off. It made takeoffs easy and offered a stable platform for some playful and fun carving turns on the wave.
On flat water, the performance is impressive considering the radical shape. It would work well as a second board for an iSUP paddler, looking to drop some volume and get in the surf, but still have a board that can be used on the flat. The compact design means it has more portability advantages than a similar volume cruising board of traditional dimensions, as you could easily fit this in the back of a Transporter/Transit size van.
This specific size Morpho in the surf would be an excellent multi-purpose board for a novice to average size SUP enthusiast, looking to get some green time on the waves or an advanced heavier paddler looking for an all-round surfing machine.
This review was in Issue 5 of SUP Tonic.For more information visit RRD
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By Luke BolsinLuke Bolsin has been on the water all his life and taught a wide range of water sports since 2001, and is passionate about being on the water and sharing the stoke with others. He has been paddling stand up since 2008, initially as a cross trainer for no wind or flat days. However in recent years has become totally hooked on SUP for all conditions, be it down wind paddling in swells, SUP surfing, racing, or mooching on calm days around quiet coves. As well as working for SUP Tonic as our Web Editor he divides his time running his own SUP school and rental business in Cornwall, in the UK's South West, as well as being a teacher and a dad. Luke competes on a recreational level in variety of SUP events in his locality, and is part of a burgeoning paddle scene in the heart of UK's surfing region.
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