After 10 years of service, the North Voodoo has gone and it's new replacement is the North Sails Ego. Pitched as a ‘concept wave’ sail within the North Wave range, alongside the Ice (World Cup Wave) and Duke (Power wave/ Freestyle), the Ego features a more compact shape with a shorter luff and longer boom length.
"After almost 10 years, a completely new product will replace the eternal classic, the VOODOO. This brand-new sail, which was given a new name for the simple reason that it is not a successor but a wholly new concept, is heralding the era of Concept Wave sails, which we intend to develop consistently in the coming years, applying radical approaches" – North Website
On paper, the Ego follows a similar concept to the Boxer and Fly with it's compact profile (shorter mast and longer boom). The Ego actually sports the longest boom length of the group at 168cm and the 3rd shortest luff at 406cm.
However, whilst The Fly and Boxer are 4 batten sails, the Ego opts for 5. It's also noticeable that whilst the luff length is short, it's nowhere near as extreme as the Boxer which is a whole 19cm shorter!
Once rigged The Ego sets with a fairly full profile. The lowest batten actually crosses the boom, which makes tuning the outhaul a little less visually obvious. We found the Ego to work best nearer to minimum downhaul and then adjust the outhaul to control the power.
The Ego is a full X-Ply sail. Whilst this has obvious strength advantages, beware that it does limit visibility through the sail when wave riding – as with all X-Ply sails.
Unlike the other two North wave sails (Duke and Ice), the Ego is recommended to set on a skinny mast. The 4.7 will set on a 400 or 370. We were supplied with a 370cm Platinum.
As with the Ice, detailing is very good. The downhaul pulley block is fit for purpose, North’s Trim guide is the best in the business (as far as we are concerned) and other details such as recommended harness line position, plastic badge at the top of the boom cut out (to hold the luff tube open) and elastic tying strap all add up to make a nicely finished sail.
The Ego feels very powerful and stable in your hands compared to other sails in this group. It pulls from slightly further back than most and is a lot more rigid in feel to the North Ice.
You are aware of the longer boom length, but the luff does feel short making the sail feel relatively compact.
It's definitely easier going than the Boxer and more ‘traditional’ in feel, but never-the-less, it does feel like there is a lot more sail in your hands compared to the likes of the North Ice. It’s also not as forgiving and will take a bit more getting used to.
Our Clones liked the performance in lighter winds and cross-on conditions where the power was a definite bonus and the drive in the sail could be used to help your turns when wave riding. The Ego has the best bottom end power of all the sails in this group.
The sail wasn’t as favourable in well-powered conditions where the substantial power made the sail a bit ‘full on’. This was particularly noticeable in frontside riding (cross on) where its hard to kill the power on your back hand and also when landing jumps where more forgiving sails allowed the rider more scope for error. The Ego is definitely not unstable when its windy, but where some sails can be de-powered, the Ego continues to drive. In strong winds, you need to apply plenty of outhaul for the best performance.
One small issue we did have with the Ego is that the foot of the sail (from clew to tack) had a tendency to flap/vibrate. The lack of batten in this area means that the foot line of the sail should have been hollowed to prevent this from happening. It's not a big problem, but it is noticeable.
The Ego is one of the most powerful sails in this group with the best bottom end. It has a stable feel to it, offering an abundance of drive, combined with a nice compact feel. As the wind increases, the sail remains stable, but the power and continuous drive from the sail may be too much for some.