The Combat is a legendary wave sail that was re-introduced to the NeilPryde range in 2004. It’s targeted as the all-round, durable wave sail from Pryde and sits alongside the Alpha (power), Zone (side shore) and The Fly (Kauli’s signature sail).
"The Combat has been a favourite among the NeilPryde wave sails since it was brought back into the range - and this year it's no different. The way it's built makes it almost indestructible and gives you the confidence to go for it in even the biggest of waves and the strongest of winds. This year the sail has become even softer and lighter in your hands, making high jumps and any kind of wave riding, onshore or sideshore, effortless." – Robby Swift K-89
There is no doubting that Pryde are very good with the cosmetics and detailing of their products and the Combat is a fine example of this.
The padded foot protector is a decent size and works well. The pulley block is of good quality, making down-hauling relatively easy and the batten tensioners are Prydes own unique system that allows adjustment by hand.
The Combat is full X-Ply construction, which is great for durability, but beware of the limited visibility you get through the sail when wave riding (particularly in brighter conditions).
It’s noticeable that Pryde sails this year require comparatively little downhaul tension to set them. This is a factor that contributes to the softer feel of the Combat (and The Fly).
The Combat is reasonably versatile when it comes to tuning, allowing it to be set with minimal downhaul and tighter leach for more grunt or more downhaul and softer leach for smoother performance.
The Combat can be set on both X9 (standard diameter) and X Combat (reduced diameter) masts. We tested on the X Combat as we believe most people buying a Combat will opt for the extra durability of a skinny mast.
The Combat feels forward pulling, soft and springy in the hands, which allows power to be delivered in a smooth and gradual manner ie you won't be pulled off your feet by a sudden gust!
Scoring middle of the group for bottom end, our 80kg Clones did find themselves wanting for a little more power and tended to set the sail with minimal downhaul and moderate outhaul (to increase the stiffness of the sail a little), but there should be enough power for most peoples requirements.
Top end is very good. The sail does move around a bit in gusts due to the soft nature, but is very easygoing in stronger winds and can be depowered easily.
On the wave, the Combat is excellent. It’s a very forward pulling sail and incredibly light in your hands, which makes it great, particularly for down the line wave riding.
Heavier riders focused on jumping in cross-on conditions may prefer a more rigid feeling sail (such as the Alpha) as the softness of the Combat does make it feel a bit vague when really powered up. Choosing an X9 mast rather than X-Combat may also help to stiffen the sail up a little.
Un-tuned range is excellent, meaning that even in gusty conditions, the Combat performs well in gusts and lulls without requiring retuning – a real bonus for UK conditions.
The Combat is light in the hands, pulls from the front and has a very soft, springy feel to it. Coping well with gusts and lulls, the Combat should be a durable choice for wave sailing in a wide range of conditions.