We review the third coming of RRD’s small wave slayer
THIS TEST FIRST APPEARED IN ISSUE #98 IN MARCH 2019
TEST TEAM NOTES:
Words: Matt Pearce
There isn’t much shape difference between the V2 C.O.T.A.N and this V3, other than new tail wingers and rounded fishtail ends. The reduction in area at the tail is to increase turning speeds and for when pushing for take-off pop. The new version is also a bit thinner in the tail, again for better pop technique. This year we tried a slightly smaller version than last year, the 5’2”, and also in the ‘Classic’ PU construction. The COTAN is also available in RRD’s United Core (and LTE which was being release in late February in just the 5’2” size).
There have been some minor changes to the Classic construction, in terms of strength-to-weight ratio and a high-volume pigment in the resin to fill up the holes in the foam better, allowing for less resin content in the fibreglass. To be honest, the RRD Classic PU has always been light and, although not the strongest construction going, there’s no denying the really silky surfboard feel.
Whatever the minor improvements are, this is a board that we always enjoy riding, so we’re featuring it again! After all, we rode a smaller size!
What it comes down to is that all the team here find the COTAN has a playful, fluid ride feel without being unstable and overly loose.
It’s responsive, but progression-friendly, even in this small 5’2”, which we enjoyed in mid and strong conditions. You can ride these stub nosed boards a bit smaller, and this is equivalent to a 5’6” or 5’8” more traditional shape.
Any experienced rider will have fun throwing it around, but you can also make mistakes with your timing or foot positioning and it won’t throw you off. It’s got a definite ability to perform, but it’s accessible. As it’s stable but also easy to influence, you’re encouraged to try different foot pressures and techniques, such as adding more weight over your front foot when bottom turning; and suddenly your bottom turn speed increases!
The COTAN has relatively parallel rails for quite a large proportion of its overall rail length, so goes upwind well and you can put pressure on the rail and pop hard for air tricks in a similar way to how you would on a twin-tip (whether you have the skills to land those airs is another thing – but the light weight of the COTAN helps the board travel with you). There’s not much chatter through choppy waters and the reasonably low rocker makes the COTAN quick and it doesn’t feel like you’re ‘pushing water’ too much. It’s spritely performance.
I rode it comfortably powered and felt like I had enough grip, but I remember on the bigger models that when you reached your kite’s top end for comfortable wave riding, I sometimes felt like I needed a little more bite and it got a bit harder to handle. However, ride it comfortably within its range and it carries speed well and that translates to how the COTAN rides on the wave, with a solid amount of drive out of the bottom turn that sets you up nicely for your next hit.
On the wave itself you can still opt for a more carving, open turn, but I personally always find myself drawn to tight radius top turns for maximum spray on these shorter boards and the COTAN makes it easy to ‘throw buckets’. I think it’s actually one of the most fun boards for explosive, instantly gratifying lip smacks.
Progressing riders are going to feel like they’re really getting somewhere with their wave riding on one of these and it encourages you to carry a little more power into your turns time after time. Before you know it, you’re speeding into the lip but with control.
For all the performance we’ve mentioned, the COTAN sits at the more fun, cruisy end of the spectrum when it comes to performance stub-nosed boards. But there’s no use having high performance if you’re not good enough to use it. The COTAN’s secret is it makes everything easy and you look good.
If you’re after a more aggressive shape for strapless freestyle then RRD recently released the Varial V1, which is designed for exactly that. The COTAN features inserts for multiple footstrap positions and a five fin boxes for either thruster or quad configurations.
Watch he COTAN product video below:
Whether you’re new to surfboards, or a seasoned rider looking for one board for all occasions, this is it. The COTAN’s easy handling also allows for high performance and is a really fun board. Being short, it’s ideal for travel and will fit in even the smallest of hire cars!
An easy board to progress on that’s smooth and comfortable in choppy waters, can perform in bigger surf but still remains super fun in smaller conditions.
KW WOULD CHANGE:
Nothing really because if you want a stronger one there are three construction options, so do your research and get one.
COTAN V2 SIZES: 5’6” x 18 3/4”, 5’4” x 18 1/2”, 5’2” x 18”, 5’0” x 17 ½” and 4’10” x 17”