2017 RRD Dolphin 1 and H-Flight Foil review

 

KW’s review of RRD’s first ever foil setup!

 

This test first appeared in Issue #85 in January 2017

 

 

TEST TEAM NOTES:

It’s difficult to say that the foiling market is already maturing, but the day the RRD foil arrived with us, the unpacking experience and the subsequent riding sessions really felt that this was the case. RRD have bided their time in entering the foil game and they’ve played their hand just right here for the first time and progressing foiler.

The RRD presentation is excellent, including a padded bag with shaped innards for the individual modular parts, a clearly written instruction book with good tips for your first set-up and the general level of manufacture is fantastic. This already feels like a really evolved product. Coming with three different sized masts (40, 60 and 90cm) and with a generous range of set up options for the position of the foil in the board to suit your riding ability, the RRD triggers excitement for your future, even on first assembly.

 

 

The brushed carbon foil parts combined with aluminium masts offer a beautiful mix of high spec look and feel in the wings, with the confidence of robust strength in the fuselage and masts. If this is your first time putting a foil together, then it’s easy to quickly become excited about the peripheral tuning and tweaking experience of foiling, and it looks like an absolute weapon!

RRD have clearly assessed what’s important for the first time and improving rider. Aside from the fine finish to the foiling parts, importantly, they haven’t overlooked the importance of a suitable board shape that’s fully focussed for foiling. The Dolphin board offers stability at low speeds to get you going, but vitally it’s not heavy. Inevitably you’re going to be doing some walking with this foil up and down the beach, and until you get really accustomed to handling them on and off the water, having a manageable, balanced weight between board and foil really helps. And not just in carrying the board, but also when it comes to positioning the board in the water and rocking it onto its side to get your feet in the straps during a board start. If a foil is too heavy it quickly wants to pull the board back to being flat on the water, making it very awkward for your foot positioning in the straps. There’s a good enough delay before the foil starts to sink again to give you time to get your feet in position and then dive the kite to start.

The directional three strap set-up offers plenty of positions, allowing you to get your front straps really far forward to help with getting going comfortably. We prefer to not use a back strap for the first few months of foiling as there’s a lot of figuring out your balance points to be done with your back foot. As you get better and want to start really driving the board fast, a back strap then helps. The Dakine straps are simple but comfortable and allow you to move your foot to different angles within the strap which is important. They also allow you to withdraw your foot quickly should you want to eject and get away from a crashing foil! The board pad provides comfortable grip and the float in the board is perfect for starting off slow and displacing water comfortably before slowly powering up the kite and increasing your speed. It’s also forgiving enough to then experiment with foot pressures to then get up on the foil. Equally, there’s lots of stability for touch down gybing as you get used to changing your feet, all of which adds up to more time with you staying dry and learning to get better and better.

 

 

One of the most pleasing features is the board’s bottom shape, which is designed to absorb touch downs without inadvertently digging the nose or rail in to bring you to a sudden stop. Instead the board’s angled rails work with the water, deflecting the impact. Just like a dolphin, this board is happy to touch down and continue with forward momentum.

The progression offered by the three different sizes of masts is undeniably good for quick progression, and we must give credit to Slingshot for paving the way forward, but RRD have done a superb job of producing a very user-friendly product that offers superb progression. The ‘Take-Off 40cm’ mast will see you up and riding and getting the first experiences of ‘foiling’ within the first hour. The angle of your touch downs are not severe at all and from there it’s just a case of bouncing along as your moments of foiling become longer and longer. Soon you’ll be ready to step up in mast size to the ‘Touch and Go’ 65cm mast and put that acquired foot work to good use, riding higher above the water.

Once you’re used to riding, the RRD offers beautiful stability to start really experimenting with your riding angles up- and downwind but also in terms of increasing your speed with control. In just 10 – 12 knots of wind on a regular nine metre wave kite we were steaming around the ocean. However, because they haven’t used too much of a beginner-based really low aspect wing at the front, once cruising, the RRD then has many miles in the tank for you to really progress with comfort at speed.

 

 

SUMMARY:

The RRD foil is a fantastic, well finished product, and will certainly see you through at least your first two seasons of riding and having the three mast options means you can very easily introduce your friends to the sport while still experiencing lots of progression yourself.

 

KW LIKED:

Lovely production and wide application for good progression.

 

KW WOULD CHANGE:

Not much. It’s set-up to aid progression and it does that very well.

 

SIZES:

DOLPHIN 1 BOARD: 160 x 52cm

H-FLIGHT HYDROFOIL MAST SIZES: 40, 60 and 90cm

 

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