With a passion for combining Italian artistry and craftsmanship with Hawaiian-inspired performance in each of his products, Roberto Ricci started hand-shaping windsurf boards in the mid 1980s and continued on to shape some of the very first kitespecific boards in Europe’s kiteboarding infancy. The company has a ‘No Yearly Collection Philosophy’ and only releases new or next generation products when they fulfill a real need not currently met within the RRD line. RRD’s Marketing Manager, Ovidio Ferrari, talks to us about RRD’s 2016 offerings, including their new split board and some major changes that were made to their iconic Obsession and Religion kites.
The Obsession MK8 got an upgrade for 2016. What’s new for this year and what will existing Obsession riders like about this kite?
The Obsession is the iconic RRD big air kite and, for the new season, was completely redesigned by RRD kite designer, Werther Castelletti, with the goal of making it even lighter, faster and more powerful. Of course, every year this is the goal of all kite designers! To reach this goal, the new MK8 Obsession has been lightened up and is now a 3 strut kite. Its profile also changed, which allowed us to achieve a new kite that floats better in the air and brings a more direct type of feeling from the bar. Thanks to its new profile and a tighter leech tension, the kite now offers better hangtime, more stability and a greater range of use.
Another new feature of the Obsession MK8 is that the 10.5m and smaller sized kites can also be used as wave kites, combining the freedom of improved maneuverability with an immediate effective depower-ability in all wind conditions. The redesigned Obsession features the B.U.S.T system (Bridle Untangle Stiff Triangle system) to prevent bridle tangling around the wingtips. To further extend the lifetime of the kite, double reinforcement tape was added around the leading edge closure.
What’s new with the Global Bar V7 and how does it balance simplicity and comfort against the features that the average rider demands?
The Global has been a great bar with a history of performance and reliability. To make every component more functional, we have redesigned the V7 bar and taken out any unnecessary items instead of adding them.
The Global Bar V7 has been designed around the idea of safety, functionality and durability. The new bar features new molded floating side caps injected with memory EVA to facilitate a better bar grip and increased safety. A new molded chicken loop finger with its multiple preset position rotor head will make sure that you’re always hooked in when you want to be, but there is the option to move it out of the way for the freestylers and wave riders that like to unhook regularly.
In terms of safety, the bar still features our over-tested chicken loop safety release system with an oversized handle and increased sliding functionality of all components. Our Global Bar V7 safety release system has the least amount of steel components on the market, meaning it needs less maintenance and will last longer.
Last but not least, the Global V7 Bar continues to feature RRD’s exclusively developed and manufactured in Italy, Rigid Thread Flying Lines. These revolutionary lines are made with inner uninterrupted unidirectional pure dyneema fibers, covered by a pure dyneema 30° woven fabric. When compared to classic flying lines, the combination of these two fabrics provides an 85% lower unmatched low stretch factor for our lines. The Rigid Thread Lines also help the kite to turn faster and quickly transfer the power of the kite to the board, resulting in more response and better handling of the kite in all conditions. The reduced stretching factor of these lines will allow a perfect trim of your kite without the need to readjust them as frequently. All in all, our Global Bar V7 continues to be a simple bar that works every day, all day, for a long period of time.
RRD offers one of the largest ranges of surfboards in the industry. What are the top three boards that a kitesurfer should have in their quiver and tell us why we need these boards?
RRD has a “No Yearly Collection” philosophy, and releases new products only when we have something really new to put in our lineup or there is a real need to take a step forward from the previous year’s collection. If a product works well, we keep it in the collection. That’s why we offer such a deep range of surfboards that suit almost every kind of surf style in the kite market.
The Maquina, C.O.T.A.N. and POP are the most popular boards in our range. The Maquina-K V2 is a classic thruster surfboard; the one you want to be riding when you want a totally reliable shape that will never let you down. The Maquina V2 boards are pure surf skates, drawing perfect lines and getting you where you want to be at any time. Blink if you dare, you might miss an unforgettable moment of joy.
The second board a kitesurfer should have in their quiver is RRD’s C.O.T.A.N. board. This is a very successful board range due to the fact that this board simply rips in waves and conditions of all kinds! The name C.O.T.A.N. means ‘cut off tail and nose’, and the shape is a perfect synthesis between the typical speed and control features of a long surfboard with the maneuverability of a shorter board. The result on the wave is insane! This style of board feels free and fast, and can be used to ride all types of waves, both big and small.
The third board a kitesurfer should have in their quiver is the POP. This is the perfect stick to use when conditions are not quite ideal but you still want to ride strapless and practice some new freestyle tricks in the small surf. It’s a pleasure to ride the POP in light winds when you need some meat under your feet to get going and extra floatation while tacking or throwing your first strapless jumps. Landing jumps on this widely outlined board is soft and the channel rails help for grabs. The POP makes the most out of any conditions and still allows kiters to ride small surf with speed and great aerial potential.
What is the construction that the RRD surfboard line uses and how does it balance durability and performance?
Our surfboard line features PU Bamboo Deck construction technology. This is typical surfboard construction with a bamboostepped deck vacuum glued onto the board at 90° compared to the stringer length which is intended to avoid excessive stiffness in regards to the board’s flex. Proudly made in Europe, CNC-precision carved, hand laminated and finished with the best of care from our expert custom board makers, this construction process ensures the best balance between durability and performance.
Additionally, the LTD construction technology of our POP boards is lightweight, and allows flex, control and great rocker accuracy. The board is built with a CNC EPS core of 20 kgs/m3 density, then laminated with 200 gram biaxial glass fibers and finished with a 55 gram carbon net over a bamboo-stepped deck which is vacuum glued onto the board at 90° compared to the stringer length. The stringer of the board is made with an omega glass that shaves off up to 10% of the board’s total weight compared to a classic wood stringer.
The FiftyFifty is a new kiteboard for RRD this year. What is the concept behind this split board and how will it stack up against a conventional twin tip?
The FiftyFifty is the twin tip for those who often travel or others who simply want to have a comfortable bike trip to the beach with a compact board under their arm. The shape is specifically designed along the middle split of the board resulting in a naturally stiffer board compared to conventional boards. Slightly wider tips and a very thin rail profile create a great combo for pure freestyle sessions or exhilarating freeriding in both light and strong winds.
The split system is extremely simple and can be assembled by screwing in the carry handle, which works as the connecting piece. No other pieces or technical devices are necessary to assemble this performance stick that can be stored in a small bag or in the corner of your car. RRD’s twin tips come with the RadPad. What are the benefits of this design and are there any changes from the previous year’s design?
Every minute detail of the RADPAD and strap system has been completely redesigned to offer the best and most comfortable riding possible. Built around an HT Nylon skeleton frame molded inside a Duo-Density EVA core base, it guarantees the right stiffness and a secure hold and grip. It’s equipped with an adjustable system that allows micrometric accuracy in all directions and angles. Compared to the previous footpad system, our newly designed RADPAD enables riders to perfectly customize their stance and foot trim.
Furthermore, the EVA cushioned pad base is made out of three different densities. The main pad outline is made with mid density, the top layer made with a lower soft grip EVA density and the third density can vary according to the changeable heel cushioning type you want to use: yellow for lower density and softer heel support (preferred freestyle choice) and red for higher density and stronger heel support (preferred freeride or carving choice).
Is there anything else you would like to add?
We just introduced the new MK6 version of our iconic Religion kite. Since its first introduction, this kite has changed with the evolution of the sport. Actually, we can say that this kite has greatly contributed to improving the level of many stoked riders, thanks to its phenomenal performance characteristics.
The Religion offers bulletproof construction; its body construction is a unique mix between 40% heavy duty Dacron fabric and 60% lightweight canopy fabric which establishes superior crash resistance and extends the life of the kite. Our new design offers a bigger range of use, both on the high and low ends of the kite, extending the possibility of use to practically any day, anywhere. More power, better lift during jumps and an enormous and progressive depower will stop the kite power exactly when you need it. It’s like a throttle in your hands, offering power and speed when you need to get out of closeouts or move quickly to where you want to be, yet completely releases the pull when you want neutral power to ride a wave. Tested by our team in literally all conditions all around the world, the Religion proves to be a perfect kite both in onshore and offshore conditions. Rounding out the changes to the Religion, we also equipped it with our new B.U.S.T system (Bridle Untangle Stiff Triangle) and double reinforced tape around the leading edge closure.
Another very interesting feature of the new RRD kites is our multi-use kite bag. Once you open it up completely, you can use it as a changing mat, a car seat cover or a wet bag for your wetsuit and harness post sessions. The bag can also zip up inside out so that no loose webbing or buckles are on the outside, perfect to use as checked luggage when traveling.