C.O.T.A.N. stands for Cut Off Nose And Tail, and what we have here is a modern breed of SUP that does away with the traditional surf shape in favour of a stubby nose and tail with parallel rails. The parallel rails are the key to these modern designs, as the rails don’t have to taper to a traditional nose area you can pack a lot more volume and shape into a much smaller package. This means shorter boards, which in SUP, especially if you are into travelling is no bad thing. The C.O.T.A.N. Classic crams an enormous amount of volume into a relatively small shape, this 7’11 has 121lts and at just 29” wide and 4” thick that’s pretty impressive.
The finish on the board is stunning; a matt paint job covers the Classic construction, which features a Bamboo sandwich technology underfoot for added strength and durability. The board has a super light composite carry handle box and an FCS plug in the nose to attach your GoPro. The outline is fairly straight with well-tucked rails, which taper off towards the tail. The tail itself is a funky diamond swallowtail design, and RRD have reduced the volume in this area of the board.
There are 5 Futures fin boxes in the board, and it comes supplied with a composite quad fin set up from RRD. The underside of the board has a fairly deep concave, which washes out, towards the tail area. There is also a wide version of this board, which adds an extra 2 inches to the width, and 8 litres of volume. You can also get the board in RRD’s LTD Construction; there are two additional sizes in this construction, a tiny 6’11 and a 7’6”. The 7’11” we have here tipped the scales at 8.8kg in the Classic construction; the Pro equivalent in the LTD construction weighs a mere 7.5kg.
The finish of the board is stunning with the fins slotting right into the boxes and sitting flush with the hull. Once the vent screw was done up, it was time to get wet. I usually ride an 8’3” in the waves, surf style shape with around 110 litres of volume. Looking at the numbers, the RRD C.O.T.A.N. should prove a relatively familiar switch over although it differs drastically in shape!
It’s a little narrower than my usual board, but it packs a bit more volume, so there is a balance there in the trade off. What surprised me the most with the C.O.T.A.N. was just how easy it was to paddle. I was expecting a bit more effort on my part, but at a tad over 80kg wet the 7’11” and I got along swimmingly. You need to be a dynamic paddler, don’t get me wrong; this isn’t the sort of board you can just let your mind wander on. It desires your attention, but with proper paddling technique, it is easy to master.
Punching through the white water is also handled with aplomb; the thick nose has a bit of weight to it, so it doesn’t get knocked off course too easily. The small size of the board also means you can quickly move your weight around and ensure you can get back and then forward again with ease as you paddle out.
Where the C.O.T.A.N. really impressed us though was on the wave, first up, despite being a relatively short board it is easy to paddle into the wave, picking it up earlier than we expected. The concave bottom promotes speed and lift as you start to paddle. The small size of the board means you can really throw it around too, with your weight back over the tail it is easy to get lots of drive and also really pivotal turns without losing too much speed.
At first glance, this board could be called chunky in a few places, particularly in the nose area especially if you’re used to riding a traditional surf shape in a small size. However, we were genuinely blown way with how this funky looking shape performed compared to more traditional shapes. Fun was the word that sprang to mind again and again. Every wave was a blast, despite the thickness and all the volume packed into this board the tail area performs like a much smaller board, offering plenty of grip in the turns and lots of speed when you need it!
It can handle some fairly chunky sized swell too; on a solid overhead day, we didn’t feel like we were missing anything riding the C.O.T.A.N. In the smaller waves, the quad fin set up offers lots of speed when sometimes the waves lack a little punch. Suited to the intermediate to expert rider you need to be dynamic with your paddling and input, but the rewards are bountiful.
We’ve ridden the C.O.T.A.N. in a bunch of conditions at a plenty of different spots, it’s given us some amazing rides and put smiles on our faces at every turn. In a variety of conditions it continues to impress, if you are prepared to put a bit of effort into your sessions, the board will give you performance back in spades.
This review was in Issue 3 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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