You can't go wrong with the Rayo – it's the board for almost all conditions and riding levels. Forgiving your mistakes and encouraging you to experiment with freestyle moves, the Rayo is just fun to ride, whether you're getting to grips with cranking upwind in choppy waters or loading up for tricks. The blend of the big rocker, full outline and optimised flex means you can enjoy your riding whatever the conditions throw at you. Upgraded for 2012 with extra carbon-kevlar stringers to boost the high-performance abilities, the Rayo is now stiffer and, in turn, more responsive, more dynamic and with greater pop. The straps mount simply to the board on to lightly moulded EVA pads and the inside of the strap is wrapped with a double neoprene coat for more durability and comfort. The Rayo comes equipped with four G-10 54mm fins and ergonomic grab handle.
TEST TEAM NOTES:
Xenon definitely have an ability to design extremely eye catching boards. Attractive colours and lines mean their boards stand out on the beach and attract a lot of attention. The Rayo is lightweight and well equipped with soft pads and easy to use straps. If you have small feet you might find that it would be nice if they went a bit tighter, but the pads have plenty of grip for your toes and heels to find lots of purchase. This 137 looks and feels quite big in your hands, but it's also lightweight and certainly has loads of good light wind performance. A really uncomplicated ride, the Rayo gets up and going nicely with a big planing area, but also feels lovely and soft, so as the wind picks up it doesn't get too much of a handful. In fact we had lots of fun on this board, ragging around the lagoon at Langebaan as the wind came through at about 25 – 30 knots. The Rayo feels very controlled underfoot, there's no slapping as its got plenty of flex, but it's not so soft that it feels like its bogging. There's plenty of response for basic loading and popping and it absolutely flies upwind. Getting back up to your riding spot after a big wipeout in just one tack is really very easy. It's like the board has a homing device set-up for getting you back upwind and home. But really the absolute standout feature of this board, and something that lots of early intermediate riders will enjoy, is just how good this board is at carving. It's incredible. The long rail digs in really easily on your toe-side without too much effort and once locked-in it just grips and responds beautifully. There's no mid-turn stutter or sliding out, it just keeps going and going. Carving is something that most people aim to learn once they start picking up some kite skills. It's not as daunting as loading up for boosting and is something that can be practiced every time you turn around. Unfortunately a lot of stiffer twin-tips that are as good at planing in lighter winds as this is, also make carving difficult as engaging the toe-side rail requires quite a lot of technique. On this it's a breeze.
The Rayo is a really good fun board. We highly recommend it as a fantastic first board for those embarking on their first season in the sport as it's just so easy to use and ready and willing for you to try anything on. Plus it looks really good, too. If you're in the market for a bigger twin-tip to cruise, play on and throw a few light wind tricks, then this is a real pleasure, too.
Super long, smooth carving.
KW WOULD CHANGE:
The foot straps could go a bit tighter if you've got small feet.
145 x 44, 137 x 42, 134 x 41 and 130 x 40cm
This test is in issue #58