RRD’s FireRide range is pitched firmly at the freeride arena. If you’re focused heavily on speed then you should take a look at the FireRace, and if turning and easy riding is more your thing then check out their large freewaves. However, for all-round burn-and-turn freeriding, the FireRide is your answer.
The RRD is an impressively light board at 7.47kg. It’s also notable as the second widest board in test (max width), although the tail width is more modest and sits in the middle of the group.
The straps are DaKine and very comfortable. For waveriding it’s great to have soft straps, but for straight line performance and freeriding some riders might prefer a slightly stiffer strap. The fin is a pretty upright MFC RC2 42cm. It’s a very high quality fin, but definitely one of the least compromising of the group.
It’s notable that while the mast-track is one of the furthest back, the straps are by far the furthest forward. The RRD back strap is 23cm from the tail, whereas the Fanatic, for example, is 14.5cm – that’s a big difference for a back strap position! The inboard straps are just a bit too inboard for comfortable blasting, so if you plan on doing much straight line work opt for the outboard positions.
When you get the RRD on the water it instantly feels like a performance board. Some of the boards in this group feel like they have come from a freewave heritage, whereas the RRD definitely feels like it’s got its roots in racing.
In a straight line there’s no doubting that the RRD is fast. It rides with its shoulders very low in the water and feels like it sails off the length of the board rather than just the fin / tail. In overpowered conditions this characteristic delivers really good control, and you never find the board popping wheelies as some of the others do at the top end. In more comfortable conditions – and particularly in chop – you’ll probably want to make sure your straps are positioned at the back and move the mast-track a bit further back from middle to keep the board riding on the tail as much as possible.
In gybes the RRD is really nice for both advanced and beginner styles. Advanced gybers will be able to drive the board hard and tight through the turn and will appreciate how it keeps turning through the last part of the gybe. Beginner / improver gybers will appreciate the extra stability and control the RRD offers through the turn, particularly compared to the livelier Fanatic and Starboard.
The RRD felt pretty comfortable well powered up on our 6.2 quiver sails, so we’re confident that you could go down to around 5.5m on flat water if needs be. In lighter winds the FireRide should cope with sails up to around 8.0m, no problem. If you’re using bigger sails regularly then you may want to invest in a bigger fin.
The FireRide is a board that will suit a wide range of freeride sailors. It definitely has leanings towards a ‘race board’ feel, but is still very good in the gybes. The nose and shoulders ride low, which gives very good control at the top end but make it more suited to flatter water.