Our aim with testing is to describe the characteristics, strengths and
weaknesses of the equipment as accurately as possible, enabling you
to identify for yourself which product is going to be the most suitable
for your needs. If something about an item of equipment is particularly
good or bad, we will of course state it, but otherwise these tests will
hopefully be considered as the next best thing to actually test riding
the equipment yourself.
The thing about testing wave sails is that generally it’s a lot about personal
preference. This makes it virtually impossible to say which is best, because more
often than not it’s the individual characteristics of each sail that make or break its
popularity with the rider, rather than the overall performance of the sail itself. So
what we aim to do within our testing is to describe as accurately as possible the
characteristics of each sail, enabling you to make your own decision as to which is
likely to suit you best.
You might think that as these are mostly billed as ‘power waves’ the difference
between them would be minimal, but in fact there are some big differences in feel.
Some, for example, are very grunty in the hands, while others are very light, some are
very soft and others quite firm. If you are at all unsure about what you require from a
sail, please take some time to read our ‘What are we on about’ section. This should
help you understand what style of sail might be most relevant to you, and then you
can use the graphs to find the closest match to your preference.
This 5.3m sail test is aimed mostly at ‘power wave sails’ as opposed to the ‘crossshore’
and ‘all-round’ wave sails in our 4.7 test. Power
wave sails are evidently the wave sails that offer the most power, but there are other
factors that need to be considered. In general, they tend to work best with heavier
riders as the sails are designed to work under the load of a heavier weight sailor (i.e.
what someone of 65kg feels from a sail can be quite different to someone of 95kg,
as the mast and sail react in quite different ways). The power position of these sails
tends to be a little further back, and the sails are designed to hold the power a little
more. This gives a reassuring pull in the hands, but can make them a little less light in
feel, particularly at the top end.
We are aware that these power wave sails have quite a large range of use, which
includes lighter weight riders in onshore wave conditions, heavyweight riders in
cross-shore conditions, any weight of rider for freestyle, and also in some cases high
wind blasting on flat water. We’ve taken this into account when testing the sails, and
while the focus of this test is on wave use we’ve tried to indicate how the sails might
perform for freestyle and flat water use.
Unfortunately, the production cycle of Gun Sails is different from the other brands, so
we were unable to get hold of 2011 models for the start deadline of this test.
CONSTRUCTION AND DURABILITY
With most sail prices somewhere between £400 and £600 in this test, you might
be wondering why we haven’t scored build quality / durability in any way. The simple
answer is that it’s very difficult. In the relatively short period that we have these sails for,
it’s just not possible to get an accurate measure of how a sail might hold up over time.
In future we hope to devise a way that will allow us to comment on the thickness of
materials, reinforcements, stitching, etc, without having to take the sail to pieces. For
the time being we’ve decided that it’s best not to comment at all rather than make
inaccurate judgements, so we’ve intentionally avoided this subject within the test.
This test was completed entirely in El Médano, Tenerife (thanks largely to the lack of
good UK wave conditions at the time of testing). Luckily Tenerife delivered fantastic
conditions that allowed us to put these sails through their paces in everything from
knee-high to logo-high waves.
When testing it’s important to eliminate as many variables as possible. For this test
we chose to use identical Fanatic boards in a range of sizes and styles to get the best
picture of how the sails perform. We would like to thank Fanatic for lending us Quad
79 and Twin 86 boards to conduct the testing. fanatic.com
Still on the subject of equipment, it’s extremely important to be able to quickly readjust
each sail at the water’s edge, so that we can pinpoint its best setting(s). For this
purpose nothing comes close to the North Power XT RDM extensions for ease of use
and quick adjustment. Thanks to North Sails for their help in getting our Clone test
team geared up with these. north-windsurf.com
Finally, this and the 4.7m sail test were the first time the Clones left UK shores to
conduct a wave test. With the UK wind drought there really was no option this year, so
it was with great relief that Tenerife delivered such great conditions during our time
there. The pictures speak for themselves. The Clones would especially like to thank
the OTC crew for all their help, assistance and patience during the test trip. It really
was very much appreciated! otc-windsurf.com
Also a big thanks to Anthony at apartamentosMédano.com. He’s an ex World
Tour wavesailor and now the man to speak to if you want to rent a place in Médano.
Thanks for sorting us out!
» Now proceed to the overview page!