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  • Writer's pictureThe Launch Pad

Duotone iRIG review - great introduction!

Updated: Apr 26

One of the neat things I took down to Cape Hatteras was a new Duotone iRIG. (Thanks @northlinesports for getting it in time for my trip!) These are innovative windsurfing rigs that combine the sail, mast and boom all in one small inflatable package. They come in four sizes, XS, S, M & L. The windsurfing community has had small kids rigs for a while, but this is a completely new way to introduce windsurfing to a younger generation. I was excited to try teaching with it. The kids in our shared house were eager as well - and seemed to be the right size for my Small sized iRIG! Parents were excited as they sometimes worry that a traditional style mast and boom could possibly hit a kid's head if they fall over backwards. That minuscule danger really never happens in windsurfing but CAN’T happen with an iRIG.

(There was a little hiccup at the start. When I first tried to pump up the iRIG, the mast part firmed up nicely, but air wouldn’t go into the boom part. My unboxing photos stopped then… A quick visit to local Duotone dealer Ocean Air had the solution as the bladder inside the mast part had doubled over - blocking the entrance to the tube that connects the mast to the boom chamber. Bryan and Kat had it figured out and were very kind getting it sorted for me. I think the bladder shifted in transit. If it happens again, I’d be inclined to just hold the wing or iRIG up from the tube while pumping up - shaking the bladder to clear the opening inside the tube.)

We then had a light wind day where the kids wanted to get out. I took the iRIG and a 110l beginner board out to the waist deep water. I first sent them out on their nice Ezzy 2.5m kids rig. Both Arielle and Tyler were able to sail out 150m, tack and get back. But they were around 20m downwind. Then I switched the sail to the iRIG and gave it a try. I could barely stand on the tiny kids board but was able to go out and back. Then they both sailed out, tacked and came back without losing ANY ground downwind!

I was surprised and very pleased that BOTH kids did better with the iRIG! They also both said they liked it more as well because it was so easy to uphaul and the iRIG also responded rapidly to changes in the wind. I had figured that they would like the lightness of the iRIG, but with the thick leading edge I didn’t expect it to go upwind very well.

So my overall review is that the iRIG is a major step forward in teaching beginners. I think if I had a Large iRIG I would be able to teach even the adults who say they are too old or weak to uphaul a windsurfing sail. One of my house mates in Hatteras wants to buy one for a family member who loves windsurfing but has quit due to strength issues.

Postscript: I did some googling and found that Arrows and Fanatic/Duotone introduced the iRIG 6 years ago. I think the product was way ahead of its time - no windsurfer wanted something that looked like kite construction back then. But the iRIG construction is so similar to the exploding market for wings for wing-foiling, the iRIG won’t look strange now to even diehard windsurfers. Any closer link between windsurfing and wingfoiling helps everyone and the iRIG is just that. I think windsurfing shops would sell a lot of these now if they had an iRIG pumped up on display! And beginner windsurfers will benefit enormously from this light, easy to use and very safe rig.

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