You have to hand it to Roberto Ricci and his RRD team: they’re obviously trying to do something a bit different with the Monotipo 11.4ft. Billed as a one design style cruising SUP that can be swapped from mellow water environments to the sometime race course, it’s intriguing to say the least.
SUP racing as it currently stands in the UK is made up of paddlers pitting 12.6ft’s, 14fters and inflatable equivalents against one another. There are a few who rock up at start lines with all round type shapes, but some paddlers may be put off by the need for high spec kit. Without getting into a debate about SUP racing, if a hard shell cruising/one design class should come to fruition then RRD’s Monotipo is designed to fit this niche.
It’s a SUP with a pulled in tail that’s finished off with a pronounced rounded pin. Reducing drag, it releases water efficiently and helps the Monotipo glide with ease. Under foot, riders will find a raised standing area that peters out towards the rails to reduce thickness. The elevated paddling sweet spot isn’t domed, as with some boards, so instead of feeling rolly it remains composed while doing the same job as a domed deck board.
Heading forward and the Monotipo’s nose is stretched out, which allows its shoulders to slice through brine more efficiently than many round nose boards. While not being a pointy nose SUP it sits halfway house between all rounder and touring/race shape. Tracking is therefore improved and, while not unstable (30″), the RRD appears long and narrow on the beach.
We didn’t get the opportunity to race the Monotipo but we did paddle it against a few other boards and it’s a quick SUP for its shape – relative to rider experience and conditions. What we did find was that the Monotipo 11.4ft is an adept performer in waves and delivers great progressive longboard style SUP surfing performance. Thruster fins work well, sliding along waves, and the GT fibreglass centre fin holds in the pocket for any toes over action riders may get the urge to try.
We enjoyed the Monotipo’s wave agility and could see it as a worthy addition to rider quivers as a performance longboard paddle surf sled, with the added bonus of being applicable to flatwater cruising for medium/lightweights or bigger boned SUPers who already have paddling fundamentals nailed down. It could be good for class style racing if stand up paddling embraced this type of one design. Pretty fast on the flat and able to maintain a good line, RRD’s Monotipo sure makes a decent stab at hammer down gun runs and as such is a really versatile machine.