“The all-new Rock designs for 2010 offer extra
immediate power with more precision, adding
explosiveness to manoeuvres with earlier planing and
faster acceleration. At the same time, the Rock retains
its impeccable control in gusty and choppy conditions,
instilling the confidence to boost anyone’s wavesailing to
previously unimaginable heights.”– tushingham.com
On the Beach
The new Rock is the tallest sail on test with a luff length of 420cm. Coupled with one of the shortest boom lengths (160cm), the sail has quite a tall and narrow profile.
The foot is cut slightly lower than most wave sails, giving it a little more area below the boom. Two clew eyelets are offered and we opted mostly to use the bottom one to reduce the foot area as much as possible (and increase the boom angle). The boom cut-out is a good size and goes lower than most of the sails in test, so if you’re particularly short you might find this a useful feature!
At the foot of the sail Tushingham opt for an eyelet rather than a tack pulley. This requires a pulley hook to get sufficient tension, but does have the benefit of not having to thread the rope each time you rig.
The Rock sets pretty flat with very minimal pre-set shape in the battens and a fairly low amount of batten rotation at the mast. The leech is fairly unique in that it never goes loose between battens number 1 and 2 (head of the sail). As you downhaul the sail more and more, the leech loosens further down the sail but the head stays pretty tight.
While there’s a reasonable amount of tunability, we found the Rock to work best with moderate downhaul and fairly minimal outhaul. This gives the sail decent power as well as the best range.
On the water
The Rock definitely has a lot more bottom end power than its predecessor. It also has a firmer, springier feel to it, whereas we found the old version extremely soft in comparison.
The Rock sits middle of the group for sail stiffness and sail pull (light or grunty), slightly on the softer side for power delivery, and slightly on the back hand for pull position. At the bottom end the Rock has a good amount of pull, which makes getting onto the plane pretty easy. The pull is slightly above the back hand, which gives the sail good grunt and a reassuring power.
At the top end the Rock can cope with plenty of wind, but for advanced waveriders who want a sail to depower and feel light in the hands, it doesn’t quite deliver as well as some of the others. It’s fine for bump-&-jump, where you may want a bit of power in the hands, but for wave manoeuvres and jumps it holds its power just a little too much.
This is actually the general impression that we have with this sail. For recreational wavesailors and high wind bump-&-jump, the Rock fits the bill nicely, but for advanced wavesailing there are a few factors that detract from the sail’s performance to some degree. The power delivery is a bit delayed, the sail doesn’t depower and lighten in the hands when powered as much as it could, and the centre of effort can shift around a little too much as the sail flexes under load.
This might sound a bit damning, but to put it into perspective, UK riders Chris Murray and George Shillito are still able to mix it with the best on their production Rocks. Recreational sailors who buy the Rock will probably be very happy with it, particularly with the bottom end power and early planing performance.
The new Rock is quite an overhaul from the old version. It’s noticeably more powerful at the bottom end (one of the most powerful in test), and certainly more responsive in the hands. The pull point isn’t quite as ‘locked’ as we might have liked, and advanced wavesailors with experience of some of the best products on the market will find that the Rock isn’t quite able to match. Nevertheless, recreational wavesailors and bump-&- jumpers will still find plenty to like about the Rock.