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. We tested the 4.7m earlier this year and this test looks at the 5.2m size.
"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
off water description
The Rock is a nicely finished product with good attention to detail. Features that illustrate this include: the elliptical crash panel in the centre of the sail, the nicely padded foot protector, the PVC 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.
Both the boom and luff length sit pretty much in the middle of this group for size. The luff length of 430cm allows the rider to choose from either a 400cm mast (for a softer feel) or a 430cm mast for a stiffer more direct feel. We tried both but opted for the 430cm as the sail is quite soft in feel anyway and we preferred the stiffer feel of the longer mast.
Like the 4.7m there is a fair bit of versatility when it comes to setting both the downhaul and outhaul. Regardless of setting the battens sit fairly flat with most of the fullness at the front of the sail where the battens meet the mast.
The Rock is the only sail to opt for an eyelet at the foot of the sail rather than an integrated pulley block. This is a nice quick system if you have a pulley block on your extension as it saves time threading the rope. It's a pity that 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 also noted the absence of a height scale on the boom cut-out. Not essential but a nice aid in setting boom height consistently.
The head is adjustable (the only one in this test) 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.
on water description
Tushingham made the Rock to be soft, easy to use and versatile throughout the range.
In the 4.7m size we tested earlier this year these characteristics worked well and provided a sail that was very user friendly. In 5.2m size the Rock still retains the same easy handling characteristics but within a ‘power wave sail’ test these characteristics don’t really provide the power and responsiveness that the other sails in this test offer.
In fairness to Tushingham, some of the other brands have 4 different wave sails to choose from, whereas Tushingham make just one all-round sail. In 4.7m size it fitted the bill well but in 5.2m size we would have liked a bit more power and a sharper response to make the most of the lighter conditions that you tend to get when using a 5.3m wave sail.
Never-the-less, if you aren’t too concerned about raw power, the Rock still has a lot to offer. It pulls from relatively far forward giving it a nice, light feeling in the hands. As a high wind blasting sail it retains the soft easy-going nature that impressed us with the 4.7m version and will also work fine as an intermediates wave sail.
An all-round wave sail for intermediate wave sailors. Lacking a little in raw power but compensating with easy handling and a soft forgiving feel. Hard to ignore the very attractive pricing.
"We have always tried to make wave sails as versatile and forgiving as possible in all sizes. The Rock's softer feel is a characteristic well liked by a huge number of windsurfers.
The Rock may not be as sharp or precise as some wave sails but even the best sailors sometimes have to sail in choppy water and gusty winds, particularly in Europe where the wind and water state are often far from perfect. The Rock's springier foil simply absorbs the worst of the bumpy ride and makes windsurfing a lot easier in testing conditions.
For riders looking for a crisper feel from the Rock, a standard diameter mast is a good option. We cut the luff to accommodate all masts so there's extra springiness when rigged on a RDM.
Paul Simmons, Tushingham UK"