Slightly smaller and with a new negative outline and squarer tips than the BS 46, the 10 Knots takes the best features of lightwind kiteboarding and brings them to the next level. This is a board that will not only get you going in literally just 10 knots of wind, but is also a great, fun board to ride when the wind picks up. Try to believe it!
TEST TEAM NOTES:
The 10 Knots is clearly big, wide and likes to stand out. Looks-wise it has the usual RRD flamboyancy and eye catching graphics. People on the beach were interested in this whenever we had it out and came over to pick it up and most would comment on how flat it is. There's virtually no rocker, which is where most of its lightwind ability comes from. But RRD have managed do more with than just make it get up and go.
We had the straps set up on the widest settings and still the stance felt narrower than we're used to and this was only added to because there's just so much board between the strap and the nose/tail of the board. It feels different to riding your normal twin-tip, but you do get used to it. The 10 knots is actually quite manoeuvrable, there's just so much board displacing water under your feet, so it's just quite an unusual feeling.
As the rocker is so flat, the corners of the board do sit quite close to the water, but actually we never got them to catch, probably because when riding in lightwinds the water tends to be much less choppy, but there's also no spray kicking up in your face. The ride is actually comfortable and the 10 Knots is happy enough to be loaded up for some tricks, doesn't feel heavy in the air and locks in again on landings. We've tried 'door' style boards like this in the past that have had very small fins and tend to trade up on early planing ability at the expense of directional control. The 10 Knots tracks nicely.
If you're looking to get up and going in really light winds, this does the job and will be more comfortable for heavier riders who will better be able press some weight through the rocker for more response. If you're a beginner you'll often get sold a soft board for more control but that will actually be quite slow. What that means, is that while you might be experiencing a comfortable ride, you'll have to be moving your kite around more to make up for the board's lack of get up and go. The 10 Knots is a great lightwind option for heavier beginners who'll be able to get up when other riders are struggling for power. At 80 kilos and under we did feel like the board was very big and flat. Heavier riders will get more flex from it and for sure it's easier for them to ride in lightwinds on than a directional, requiring them to learn to gybe.
It does what it says on the tin! For this kind of big, square, early planing twin-tip, this is actually a relatively refined ride. Bigger beginners and early intermediates looking to make the most out of their summer will get the most out of this. For everyone else, a bigger kite allowing you to keep riding your favourite twin-tip might be a better option, although your realistic bottom end wind-speed won't be quite as good as it ison this. The other option is a skimboard... or raceboard. Both of which will probably offer more progression for riders looking for more than simply time on the water. The thing with this board is that it's a bit more like the board is taking you for a ride, rather then the other way round. But obviously, if the vikings invade us again, you'll have a good shield!
It may have a lot of good early intermediate characteristics, but you can certainly do some freestyle on it, too. It would work well as a board to share between riders of different levels, or couples.
KW WOULD CHANGE:
Install a wider stance option.
This test is in issue #52