Featuring a full concave bottom with slight flat to V tail works with the kick in the tail, while the rocker progressively increases towards the nose and tail areas, leaving very few flat sections in the board. All this adds up to a shape that allows you to ride fast waves with heaps of control under your feet. The narrow outline and rounded pin-tail create perfect potential for continuous, smooth and flawless turns all the way into the pocket. Available in Classic construction: PU/HD foam heel area ? bottom stringers / polyester; and LTD: EPS/Full Custom PVC sandwich top and bottom /glass. Wood technology also available.
TEST TEAM NOTES:
This board was ridden on the UK south coast and Ireland. We had the Classic version of the Gitana, which is the more basic construction; a little heavier than the LTD boards and a bit cheaper, but you wouldn't know it. The Classic is still light and the first thing that strikes you is how strong it is. Finished with a naturally grippy deck, there's no need for wax and the robust feel makes you feel comfortable handling the board in and around shorebreak and on shingle beaches. In terms of accessories, the Gitana comes with FCS-style fins, so they're easily replaceable, the pads are windsurf style; relatively thin and providing loads of grip without over-cushioning and dampening the feel of the board you get through your feet. The asymmetric Dakine XLace straps are comfortable and supportive. It's personal preference whether you prefer these or a more symmetrical, windsurf style strap on your surfboards. Also, having your straps set up in an off-set stance as they are on here might be new to you. The benefit of having the straps off-set is that you can get them set up perfectly for your wave riding stance.
Riding off the wave on the other tack, they won't be quite so perfect, but everything on this board is about perfect performance where it matters; on the wave. You don't need your foot to be all the way in the strap when heading back out and, when you feel how good they feel on the wave, you'll understand why they've done this. The downside of this set-up is if you can ride switch really well (but how many of us can actually do that?!) you might want to attack some waves on your frontside and some on your backside. The front strap can be set-up pretty straight, but it's the back strap that really makes all the difference having it offset. A slightly more positively angled foot placement when riding feels beautiful, but if you want to ride the wave switch it won't be ideal. Also, if you regularly ride different spots with wind coming from different directions, you'll need to make a quick adjustment of the strap with the screwdriver to move the strap from one side to the other before riding waves on a new tack. Enough about the off-set stance, it's really not a big deal, but we just wanted to point out the implications of that set-up for people who don't have much experience on surfboards. Those that have will appreciate the difference that set-up makes.
The outline of the Gitana looks incredibly narrow with a drawn out pin-tail; like it's blatantly been designed for going fast on steep sections. If you look at big wave surfers they always use a rounded pin shape like this and, as we're riding with power in the kite, you could argue that we should be riding shapes like this a lot. We tested the Gitana in chunky, south coast slop and in head-high waves in Ireland; each session on a seven metre. At just 17 ?'' wide it's narrow. We're used to riding slightly thicker boards with more width - over 18'' - but what was really surprising about the Gitana is how well it gets going and handles when you're not charging at 40 knots. Very capable of the little, snappy turns in the small stuff as well as the more drawn out, high speed turns around sections. This is particularly noticeable backside when you come around your top turn on your weaker toe edge. While the length keeps it stable on longer turns, the narrow width makes it incredible for the tighter, snappier movements at the top of a wave. Comments from the beach were that we were throwing more spray on backside turns than ever before because you can really get your weight over that rail and bury it better than on a wider board. It doesn't have quite the same get up and go as a chunkier, wider board, but it's by no means a slouch. If you're looking for a super-loose board to slide out loads, this isn't it; this is all about beautifully smooth, controlled carves with as much power as you can handle.
Excelling as a board for the bigger days, this is still fun in any conditions and will work as a single board quiver. You may sacrifice a little get up and go in lighter, smaller conditions, but will have an absolute weapon on the bigger days, coping beautifully with speed without bouncing around when bottom turning and riding with lots of power. That rail will hold throughout. You have so much control at the top end and can rely on that pin tail to continue to grip.
Beautiful rails for a variety of performance turns in a surprisingly wide range of conditions.
KW WOULD CHANGE:
There are times you might prefer a straighter foot strap set-up.
6'3'' x 17 ?'' x 2 1/8'' and 6'1'' x 17 ?'' x 2 1/8'' in both Classic and LTD construction
This test is inissue #49
RRD Gitana Classic 6'1" (2011)
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