If you already have a Ronson, sorry, but this one’s amazing!
THIS TEST FIRST APPEARED IN ISSUE #98 IN MARCH 2019
TEST TEAM NOTES:
Isn’t it beautiful? It’s a bit special on the water, too.
Unboxing the Shinn and assembling it for the first ride was an exciting start to the season. There’s something alluring about picking up a board with just the right feeling in its weight. The Ronson Player is quite light, but not super light. The rails are fairly thin, sporty and mixed with the shiny all-black business-style deck and the all-party base – the Ronson’s purposeful but perfectly playful performance is well reflected. Sometimes the Shinn graphics are an acquired taste, but surely not this time and the boards are always well made.
If you already have a Ronson, sorry, but this one’s amazing. It edges without you even having to think about it and when we were faced with a really powerful kite like the Pivot at its top end in really strong conditions that likes to sit a little further back in the window, the progressive edge of the Ronson Player really helped us manage the performance and squeeze a few more knots of wind speed comfort from the session.
On the water the Player is fast, not rocketship fast, but faster than before. What makes the Ronson Player such a standout is the flex. When you initially stand on the board on the beach with our feet in the straps and do that rocking back and forth thing to test the flex you think, ‘Ooh that’s quite flexy. Is it going to be slow though?’ Well, it’s not, because there’s enough stiffness in the middle to make it go really well.
Yes, he’s a columnist for us, but we’re not allowed to just blow smoke up his bum; Mark genuinely always make boards that have such a clean contact with the water; no drag and somehow automatically sitting at just the right riding angle. It’s that Shinn bubble of air thing we’ve talked about before which is very kind to you when you’re riding through technical waters, softening things up and eradicating resistance. Excellent suspension and no chatter; just cleanly carving through the water.
We knew it would be comfortable because Shinns always are, but that renowned comfort and riding position is combined with this super-progressive control and enough speed to keep anyone happy. Every now and again we come across boards with really nice flex like this and it can do so much for your riding because you can hold a clean and efficient edge in strong conditions. You’re always in optimum shred position. When it’s bumpy you never slide out, the board just absorbs those hard bumps and gusts. The softness at the back feels like the board is always doing the work for you.
So whether you’re holding down a kite in strong wind, generating energy to pop over a wave, or you want to lay down a steezy carve; the Ronson is brilliant for all that. You can be aggressive with the board but your edging will still feel smooth. If you try too hard on a stiff board you can lose control. This has loads of control at 30mph. You’re never let down by the grip and always racing forward.
At the front of the board, when you’re gunning out towards a kicker and gaining extra speed from stamping on your front foot, but end up taking off late with the wave pitching, or if your land amongst short, steep wave chop; just watch the front of the board flex almost telepathically and somehow let you off a few sure fire wipeouts. The Player seems to have this incredible way of reacting to the water.
There was another board that came close this year in terms of very high-performance freeriding and that was the Ozone Torque (find the review on the website) which, being stiffer, a bit quicker and more bitey would be better for boots. There’s a bit too much flex in the Ronson for its primary purpose to be boots riding for really powerful riders, but there are dedicated inserts if you want to go that way and you’ll enjoy it if you’re not too heavy.
If you’re shredding hard in boots day in, day out, you should be on the ADHD, but other than that we can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t want to use this board, especially if you ride on the open ocean a lot.
The board’s so good that we’ve run out of space to talk about the pads and straps. They’re soft, comfortable and have a nice ratchet system to tighten them…
Check the product view from Shinn below:
Truly an instant classic and it’s not every day that we get to review boards like this. For the intermediate and above freeride market, the Ronson Player is fantastic. There’s this lovely feel of the board working for you whatever you’re doing, but especially when you’re engaging the progressive rail for carving or taking off. There’s infinite control all the way through the board’s range.
KW WOULD CHANGE:
The pads really are soft and comfortable, but we’d add a bit more of a toe-bar or more of an ergonomically ridged footbed in the heel area for a greater locked-in feel.
RONSON BALANCE POINTS:
Build quality: 9
Fixtures and fittings: 8
Flex: 7 (Yummy)
Slider proof: N/A
SIZES: 140 x 43, 138 x 42 and 136 x 41cm