You can’t ignore how this boat is named: it’s about getting air, and so much more. Riot’s created a spud boat that is faster, looser, and easier to get air in than any other.
Essentially it is an improvement upon the famed Disco. The Air is designed to get super-sized aerials and cartwheel on as many waves, holes and eddy lines as possible.
Riot realizes that one size does not fit all. This boat comes available in 2 sizes, the 45 for smaller paddlers, the 55 for larger paddlers.
Despite being 6ft 2in I can squeeze into the Air 45 and still feel pretty comfortable. How does it peform? Well I have paddled both the 45 and 55 models and have found that they both have the similar feel (no great suprise there!). The hull is a development of the original hydro glide system so as expected is extreme loose. Spins etc are really easy even on the smallest of green waves.
The Air has some really nice strong edges to a little bit of wave carving goes down well. Despite its short length the boat still has a fair bit of speed. Two pairs of fin boxes are fiited just underneath the seat. The air can be fitted with riots own plastic or rubber fins – a must for out in the surf.
Cartwheeling is also pretty straight forward, however I found the lack volume/size of the stern quite difficult to get used to and over balanced a number of times before getting the feel for the boat when it was vertical. Whilst paddling downstream I had to watch the back end as it would dig or dip with liitle notice, so (for my size/weight) I would be reluctant to use the Air on serious ww.
If you have paddled any of the newer Riot boats you will be familiar with the outfitting. The seat is adjustable and can be done with no tools. The backrest is ratchet adjustable, as is the footrest. Two “easy exit” ratchet thigh straps are also provided to get a better fit. The boat also comes with the usual high quality grab handles and drain hole.
The cockpit size is the usual Riot one so a PeakUK or Playboater riot fit deck will do the job well.
I have a strange feeling that the Air 45 and 55 (and now 60) will become firm favourites amongst UK freestyle boaters.