First off, the Maquina is the most fun ‘pure wave’ kitesurf board I’ve ridden this year and each year we test it I’m always pleased. That’s a bold claim I know but the performance and fun it can deliver, and the range of conditions it can deliver them in is outstanding.
You might look at that classic, thin, narrow, performance-oriented pulled-in outline and think it’s going to be a bit hard work in anything other than offshore peeling perfection, but this surprises you from the start. Straight off the beach the PU board is so comfortable riding through chop and over crumbling waves as you head out and even the stiffer, lighter carbon board isn’t uncomfortable.
The Maquina isn’t the fastest board off the mark, but because of how good it is through chop you feel happy to put the accelerator down early as this isn’t a bumpy ride at all, so you ride it like it IS the fastest board going. It wants to be pushed at all times and you want to push it.
Make no mistake, the narrow outline doesn’t make it the most stable board and it isn’t a first-time surfboard. It needs more sure foot placement for your tacks and gybes, especially compared to the Airush Comp which is ultra-stable, but this is an entirely different ride.
There’s not a great deal of volume and the rails are quite thin and it sits quite deeply in the water and so handles power extremely well and offers oodles of grip through the turn. Yet there’s enough stiffness to aid carving drive and enough looseness to allow you to be really creative and push the tail out or just hack a big carve. It’s like a highly tuned Italian sports car. Maquina means machine in Spanish. This is definitely a machine!
You can get loose off-the-lip but at the same time do some of the tightest turns out of any board we’ve tested this year while also getting good and vertical. It loves going rail to rail and makes your turns look good… but it does need power. As we said, it’s a pure kitesurfing wave board and all the assets that make it a lovely turner and carver in smooth waves make it equally adept at handling crappy conditions because it responds very well to power in the kite, too.
This is a thoroughbred and it wants proper conditions, but it’s lively, comfortable and quick enough that you can go seeking a hittable section in a sloppy shore break and then it just tears it apart!
The Maquina is seriously reactive as well. You can link up quick, fast turns in waves, make a mistake, recover and be ready for the next hit and it just feels very intuitive at all times. It’s working with you and almost seems to know where you want to go on a wave before you do. That said, this isn’t a board that’s going to float through the slow sections and it likes to be ridden fast and you need to have power to get the most out of it. Ridden by someone with athletic kite flying skills this board is an absolute weapon but it’s not going to be anywhere like as good in light wind as other boards this issue and there are other boards in RRD’s range more tuned for lighter conditions, too.
I wouldn’t say the Maquina is for everyone either, you need some skills to really enjoy it. To get the most out of it you need to be able to put some commitment and aggression behind your turns.
The PU construction is more forgiving in chop with a more natural surfy feel and I thought that would be my favourite as I quite often prefer the basic construction on directionals, but the carbon board is noticeably better. It’s light, responsive and it feels alive underfoot. It’s a little more solid in the chop but I was pushing a few decent airs on the carbon board and I think that construction could stand up to some abuse. Graphically, it’s not really to my personal taste, but it’s sleek and sporty. The PU board is better looking I think, but I like pastel earthy, surfy vibes.
For seat-of-the-pants, electric wave riding experiences you can’t beat the Maquina. You just want to keep pushing it and it’s one of those boards which always makes you want to go out for one last wave and it makes you look good while you do it! Yes you need more power, and don’t forget I’m quite a big guy at over six foot and 90+ kilos, but I prefer the dynamic 5’7” for generally windy conditions to the 5’11” which we rode last year.
Rock star wave riding performance. Always charging, always firing.
KW WOULD CHANGE:
Intermediate riders will find it a bit tippy and will want something more stable, particularly for foot changes and learning the constancy of carving.
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