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RRD Beluga LTD (+ Helmet & Impact Vest)

RRD is no stranger to the wingfoil world tour podium and in addition to the Gold Wing we tested (you can find that review online) we were able to test the Beluga LTD which arguably might have even more podium accolades. The LTD is the update to the LTE version and utilizes a carbon construction for a significant weight saving (around 1kg) to yield a stiffer, lighter and stronger board. The Beluga LTD is available in a number of sizes from 35L up to 125L. We tested the 75L board (78kg rider) along with a range of different foils including the RRD Blast 1150.

Incorporated into the board are a number of subtle features such as a carry handle both in the top and bottom decks, multiple inserts give a wide range of options for footstrap positions and a large concave deck gives a slightly more connected feel by bringing your feet ever so slightly closer to the foil. Additionally a concave deck helps you to feel where your feet are on the board when riding strapless. The more striking features on the board are the tail kick, beveled rails and deep double concave under the nose. The tail kick and the beveled rails really help the board to get going earlier with relatively sharp lines helping the board to release well from the water. The deep double concave helps the board to track in a straight line and is effective when recovering from touchdowns, something that this board is primarily designed for given the competition focus and the nature of the majority of freestyle moves. Given the heavy freestyle use, the Beluga LTD also has reinforced boxes, able to handle the heavy landings. One thing to note, RRD foils are relatively ‘front foot’ heavy foils, meaning that the foil boxes are relatively far back on the board. This is completely fine with the RRD foils and other front foot heavy foils but may be a point of consideration for those riding back foot heavy foils.

For a neutrally buoyant board (which can often feel corky), the board is pretty stable. The length (160cm / 5’2) gave enough stability in the fore/aft axis and the full deck pad was grippy and comfortable meaning getting up on the board was a breeze. Pumping the board off the water was easy thanks to the tail kick and once on foil the board is very direct and easy to throw around. The carbon construction gives a very direct feel and combined with the stiff RRD foil assembly the whole package is very connected, allowing the rider to focus on riding. The stiffness and weight of the construction also carries over to ease of pump with the 75L LTD pumping as easily as a prone board half its volume. Despite a 24” width on the top of the board, the bevels give the feeling of a much narrower board in turns and the sharp edges ensure forgiving touchdowns.

The Beluga LTD is a solid responsive board that has been made to cater for pushing the limits of your riding, be it freestyle or wave riding with the design features catering towards recovery and forgiving touchdowns. The 75L neutrally buoyant board would definitely function as a one-board-quiver though there is a significant range of sizes to cater for all needs and levels of riders.

RRD Accessories – Water Helmet & Impact Vest

As limits get pushed, protection gets more and more important. Whilst maybe not as widely discussed, helmets have many arguments for and against. The main argument for them is that they protect you from impact against your foil, mast or board. The main argument against is the increased surface area that they provide which can make the impact on the water higher and reduce your ability to dive into the water. Surprisingly though there aren’t many water-sports-specific helmets with a low profile and as such many end up riding wakeboard style helmets. The RRD helmet is light and unobtrusive with a low profile meaning you barely notice it when you wear it. Hopefully we see more brands bringing out well thought out helmets to cater to the higher speed nature of foiling.

The RRD impact vest is a slim fitting impact vest with good full body coverage. It’s comfortable and really just feels like a neoprene vest, yet provides enough padding to protect your body and ribs when crashing hard enough to realize how hard water can be…

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