Inflatable boards have come a long way in recent years, the new V2 Air Cruiser from RRD is packed with tech and offers a great platform for someone who’s learned to paddle and now wants a flat water board to progress on. The shape has been optimised for gliding through the water with a relatively flat rocker line with a slight nose and tail kick at each end. The sharp nose shape is there to cut through any chop you might encounter, and the rounded tail allows for a smooth release of water flow at the rear.
Inflatable boards previously suffered from a certain lack of stiffness, especially in the longer sizes. The 11’4” is not short by any standards, and there is a bigger brother that comes in at 12’. To stiffen the boards up RRD have introduced a new Sandwich Dyneema Belt, which wraps around the deck and base of the board to act as a stringer. The effect is a board that is now 30% stiffer than previous models.
The board is 6 inches thick and packed with 290 litres of volume making it suitable for just about every size of rider out there. On the 11’4” we have here, the board is 30 inches wide; the 12-foot version comes in at 31 inches wide. A US fin box accepts a single fin which does away with the need for moulded fins that bend out of shape. There is also a tie down area on the nose, plus two leash attachment points on the front and tail. A 70% Double Skin construction ensures durability and the board certainly lives up to RRD’s exacting standards.
The bag this board comes with works well, it’s big enough to fit the board and pump easily without struggling, plus there are some wheels on the bottom of the rucksack to help you transport it over long distances. Out of the bag and onto inflating, 14 PSI is the recommended pressure, the supplied pump copes with this just fine and after a bit of a warm up you are good to go!
Hitting the water the board is stable, although if you are stepping down from a beginner style board then the 30-inch width may take a few moments to get used to. I found the Air Cruiser to feel very stiff underfoot, especially on flat water, and there was hardly any noticeable flex as I paddled along. As you move your feet around the board, you do notice the softer deck and a small amount of flex, especially when stepping back for turns. However, with your feet planted in the spot as you get your head down you can quickly forget you’re on an inflatable.
The board has great glide and tracks well in one direction allowing you to get plenty of strokes in on each side without having to worry about steering too much. As the water chops up, the stiffness remains, and it was only in really rough water where we found the limits to the boards design. However, this is a flat water board, aimed for cruising so it shouldn’t be taken out of its comfort zone on a wild downwinder. That being said, if conditions do change while you are out during your session, then the improved stiffness of the board will make your ride much more comfortable.
A well-built board with added stiffness and an excellent shape for touring on flat water. Once you are paddling it is easy to forget it is inflatable, and you’ll appreciate being able to stick it in the boot of the car after your session!
This review was in Issue 1 of SUP Tonic.For more information visit RRD
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Rou Chater has been paddleboarding for the last six years, and he is passionate about riding waves and exploring new places. As the publishing editor, he oversees everything at SUP Tonic but also our sister magazines IKSURFMAG and IMB. He's been on the water since he was born and has never looked back, in the winter you'll find him chasing swells in the Caribbean and during the summer he can be found all over Europe at various SUP, Kitesurf and Mountain Bike events getting features for the magazines.
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