Rather than producing several wave ranges focused at different conditions, Tushingham believe that most riders simply want one sail that has the flexibility to cope with all conditions. The Rock is the ‘one sail does it all’ wave sail from the Tushingham range.
"Our focus has been to produce one super adjustable sail that will cope with whatever’s thrown at it. The 2009 Rock builds on this reputation for all-round wave ability. Big variations in power can be achieved by using the outhaul as well as the downhaul. This makes for easier adjustment on the water, even during a competition wave heat" – Tushingham Website
Tushingham have definitely put some thought and engineering into this sail. It’s a nicely finished product with good attention to detail.
It’s clear that no corners have been cut in the build process. Features that illustrate this include: the elliptical crash panel in the centre of the sail, the nicely padded foot protector, the rubber opener at the top of the boom cut-out and the scuff pads on the batten pockets. Even the batten pockets have received their fair share of attention, with each pocket sewn on alternating sides of the sail to ensure symmetry.
A boom length of 162cm, sits near the middle of this group, whilst the luff length of 420cm is jointly (with the Severne Blade) the longest in test.
There is a fair bit of versatility when it comes to setting both the downhaul and outhaul. Regardless of setting however, it’s noticeable that the battens sit with very little pre-shape in them (less than any other sail in test), although there is a decent amount of fullness at the front of the sail where the battens meet the mast.
The Rock is the only sail not to offer an integrated pulley block for downhauling; just an eyelet. You will need a pulley hook on your extension to downhaul this sail properly. The eyelet is not recessed much into the foot of the sail, meaning that you have to set your extension precisely to avoid an unnecessary gap between the board and sail foot. We noted also the absence of a height scale on the boom cut-out. Not essential, but a nice aid in setting boom height consistently.
It’s nice however that Tushingham locate the allen key batten tensioner in the foot of the sail rather than the sail bag, which is favoured by many other brands. You can be sure your sail will be with you when you need batten tension, but not always your sail bag!
The head is adjustable and features our favoured ‘prong-less’ system, allowing for more flexibility when it comes to using other brands masts, especially important as the sail is designed to work on both RDM and SDM masts.
The Rock delivers one of the easiests rides of all of the sails tested. Power is delivered in a very forgiving manner, almost with a springiness to it; nothing hard and sudden, just continuous pull with soft surges of power in the gusts. It’s a very forgiving sail. If you are less confident in your technique, the Rock allows the biggest margin for error of all the sails in test. This is also true of rigging where the Rock is less sensitive than other sails to tuning and works with a wide range of settings.
The Rock is pretty competent at both the top end and bottom end of the wind spectrum. It’s slightly heavier in the hands than some of the sails in this test and pulls from higher up, which makes it a bit harder to depower when wave riding.
Overall, the Rock is a safe and reliable choice…but there are a couple of compromises.
The soft power delivery makes the sail feel a bit unresponsive and slow to react compared to other sails in this test. The centre of effort is also a little vague, which consequently removes some feel from the sail.
However, this slight lack of feel and responsiveness is what makes the sail so forgiving and easy to use, making the Rock a great choice for those looking for easy going characteristics combined with high value for money.
The Rock is a high value, no-fuss sail. If you want to just ‘rig it and sail it’, the Rock stands out in this test as the most forgiving sail. The trade-off is a slight lack of responsiveness and feel that may or may not be important to you.