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RRD Narwhal LTD

With a number of podium topping wing boards, RRD has no shortage of experience building high performance boards and have now added to their comprehensive range with the Narwhal LTD – a progressive hybrid board that aims to open the foil playground to a wider range of conditions, allowing you to go out in even lighter winds, but remains fun in stronger winds too.

As we see the influence of SUP foil DW boards trickle over to wing boards, more brands are starting to offer longer and narrower boards as ‘hybrid’ boards. Crossover boards that function well as SUP foil boards, downwind boards in better conditions and of course as great light wind wing boards. Longer and narrower dims allows these boards to get up to speed faster thanks to the lower drag hull meaning riders no longer need to use a big slow foil, or big unwieldy wing to get going in lighter or even marginal winds. The Narwhal is offered in three standard sizes; 5’11 x 20.9” 110L, 6’3 x 21.3” 120L and 6’6 x 21.3” 125L. The boards are built in RRD’s custom factory in Italy which means custom dimensions are also possible and two construction options; full innegra / carbon for a more robust and solid board, or hybrid / glass for a slightly lighter board allow you to influence the weight based on your desires. For this test we tested the 125L hybrid / glass board whilst winging, SUP foil downwinding, SUP surf foiling and doing flatwater paddle ups.

As the trend in SUP foiling goes towards longer boards, it was refreshing to ride a shorter board again to SUP foil and downwind. Although in comparison to downwind board standards the Narwhal isn’t that long or that narrow, for a hybrid board that isn’t necessarily required. The board’s volume distribution places the volume slightly more in the front of the board. This is favorable for wingers, allowing for a more forward box and mast position and helps well with touch down recovery as the board has a tendency to then bounce right back up. You also feel this when paddling up, where the added volume in the front combined with the short length lets you bounce the board up onto foil much easier as you build speed and start to paddle pump. The rounded displacement hull combined with the sharp, pulled-in tail allows it to get up to speed with relatively low effort and lets you pump the board up on to foil easily. This made getting the board going in bumps, waves with a paddle or with a wing a breeze.

The length is a nice compromise between long enough to gain speed easily, but short enough to keep the board playful and allows you to still be able to throw the board around, in fact the board foils like a much shorter board. This combined with how stiff the board is (unsurprising having tested their performance wing boards) makes the board extremely responsive and easy to turn and pump around. This playfulness makes it really enjoyable as a wing board and I’d go as far to say that this board does not need to be limited to light wind conditions and can actually unlock a smaller foil / smaller wing combo for those looking to focus on their surfing.

Overall, the Narwhal is part of the new and exciting breed of wing boards making their way to the market that will soon feature in most wingfoil quivers. Easy to get going, fun to ride in all conditions but especially as a light wind weapon with the added ability to be used for SUP foiling and downwinding too.

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