RRD’s offering for the first time board buyer gets reviewed
THIS TEST FIRST APPEARED IN KW #99 IN MAY 2019
TEST TEAM NOTES:
The Placebo really is one of the most tried and tested designs as a first board. Not very stiff, but not too soft; stiffer in the middle to get you going and softer in the tips for comfort. There’s enough width in the tip and tail to add rail length grip and easy upwind drive, but they’re pulled in enough to ensure you don’t get water spray in the face there’s loads of forgiveness to help you round your turns. The rail profile is very moderate; not too fat and soft, nor is it too thin and bitey. When you’re edging, the Placebo feels very smooth.
Everything is very uniform, there’s very little textured shape to run your hands over and be wowed by in a shop, and it is quite heavy, but the RRD is strong and in terms of the ride it does everything at the same rate, making it a very stable companion for freeriding.
Importantly, the pads and straps are big, soft and offer plenty of grip, so they really give a feeling of comfort.
This progressive outline and rocker has been tried, tested and is perfect for the early stages of kiteboarding. The Placebo is untechnical to ride and you don’t have to load your back foot to get over difficult white waters. You’ll cruise over nasty chop and, as the board sits quite deeply in the water, you’ll find grip very easily and this will help as you try to manage more and more power from the kite. Going rail-to-rail when you change direction take very little effort and thought and, although the Placebo isn’t very quick to react, it is quite playful and does pop quite well compared to most beginner boards. The biggest plus point, and why the shape remains unchanged, is that this board isn’t going to surprise you. It’s just going to do the job, help you kitesurf and this year looks great, so you won’t feel like a newbie at the beach.
Watch the KW Test Video below!
The Placebo feels more basic than the Switch under your feet, but this is a great first / package board. Speed, edge control and drive are all very well measured and unaggressive. It’s not the most energetic of your children, but works well without supervision. Anyone could ride this and have a good session and it’ll outlast all of us on the planet.
You can’t fail to get kitesurfing on this, plus there’s enough pop to see you through a couple of decent seasons.
KW WOULD CHANGE:
It is quite heavy, but that’s because it’s nice and strong.
PLACEBO BALANCE POINTS:
BUILD QUALITY: 8
FIXTURES AND FITTINGS: 8
FLEX: Fairly even though, softer in the tips
SLIDER PROOF: NA
EASE-OF-USE: 8.5 (Very high for a beginner, needs more gears to change speed for better riders)
SIZES: 142 x 45 (available as a tandem board!), 140 x 43, 139 x 42, 138 x 41, 137 x 40, 136 x 39, 127 x 36cm