Stylishly touring – RRD 12ft Tourer/Active Flex 50 vario paddle review

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Stand up paddle boarding doesn’t have to be about pushing the extremes and getting all gnarly. Sometimes it’s nice to just cruise in the sunshine, take it all in, check out the scenery and soak up those summer rays.

Trust the Italians to come up with something as stylish and sexy as a stand up paddle board based on the aesthetics of the Riva Aquarama (Google it). Roberto Ricci has designed a touring board that looks the bee’s knees. OK, beauty is subjective, but we think the finish on this 12ft log is right up there and who’s not going to love driving a sled so bling?

Although the 12ft is certainly eye candy there’s no lack of performance – in fact it has bags! On the flat paddlers will be rewarded by proactivity. Inching forward engages the bow, dragging upwind if there’s any breeze knocking about. Step back and the nose lifts – catching a few breezy runners is certainly a possibility. By no means a downwind board, the 12ft glides effortlessly. If the water gets rough the high ride can be unstable with chop bouncing off the rails – once back on flatter water composure is regained.

rrd Most surprising was how well the RRD coped with a few small waves – endless slides are what the rider will be rewarded with in small, non-critical surf.

Combining this with RRD’s Active Flex 50 vario paddle is a match made in heaven. The unique twist and lock adjustable shaft system allows for incremental refinements in length while its narrow diameter feels comfortable in the hands. Svelte blade and ergonomic moulded palm grip completes the look.

The paddle is a stiff beast to say the least, rewarding decent paddling technique with instant feedback. Powering your SUP forwards, this sweeper is all about efficiency and nipping about at warp speed. You’d think it too much for the 12ft RRD Tourer, and yet, it works in tandem perfectly.

But this is a touring stick and riders will want to step off the gas, mostly. Sweeping gently along your local stretch is perfectly applicable with RRD’s paddling weapon, it just means when you come to power up it also reacts!

Über sexy good looks of the RRD 12ft Tourer will make any stand up paddler stand out from the crowd. Yet it’s not all glitz and sparkle and no substance. There’s a decent level of red line potential hidden away which you can unleash with a suitably aggressive paddle – enter the Active Flex 50 vario. With its super stiff shaft and performance-orientated leanings, it’s a great weapon for waves or flat water. If you’re looking for an individualistic product to make use of lazy summer days at your local spot then the 12ft is it. Combine this with the Active Flex 50 paddle and you can switch on the performance at will.

Further info:
Prices: RRD 12ft/paddle RRP: £1799


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