Weight (kg): 3.31
Size (m): 4.5
Rec. Mast Length (cm): 400
Luff Length (cm): 409
Boom length (cm): 151-154
Price (£): 579
In 2014, we were super impressed with the Banzai. It was one of the first 4-batten sails we had used that actually felt like a genuine all-rounder, rather than just a wave riding focused sail. Marcillio Browne then went on to illustrate just how good the all-round credentials of this sail actually were by winning the 2014 PWA World tour on it! For 2015, designer Jason Diffin has worked to improve the handling and light-weight feel of the sail by shortening the boom substantially in the mid sizes (these tested here) and also softening up some of the reinforcements along the front edge of the sail to make it more forgiving.
We generally find that 4 batten sails are more critical than 5 batten sails when it comes to getting the tuning right and the Banzai is no exception. Luckily the Banzai comes complete with a VTS system to help dial the set in correctly. We found that the sail worked best using mostly the one downhaul setting and adjusting the outhaul (and optional clew heights) for tuning.
The Banzai is in fact the only sail in the group to offer two clew eyelets for extra tuning. Whilst this arrangement offers more versatility and certainly alters the feel of the sail, we have to say that personally we would prefer the simplicity of just one well-positioned eyelet. Using the top eyelet, the power delivery becomes more direct and the sail provides a more ‘lifty’ and responsive feel. In contrast, the lower eyelet gave a softer feel with a lower, more forward power point. We were torn as to which to opt for. The lower eyelet gave the sail a smoother, more controlled feel, particularly at the top end, but the higher eyelet gave a more direct and responsive feel and seemed to get a bit more out of the sail, particularly for heavier riders and cross-on conditions. Goya recommend that you can actually use the ‘middle’ position, which basically involves looping the outhaul rope through both the top and bottom eyelet so that the outhaul pulls on both, but as it’s not really compatible with loop-go outhaul systems, we weren’t entirely convinced. Perhaps just one eyelet in the middle would be a perfect compromise after all?!
General build quality looks excellent on the Goya and there is no doubt that the team have spent a lot of time paying attention to the detailing of this sail.
Comparing the dimensions, the Banzaii has by far the longest luff of all the sails in this group. In fact, the luff is a whopping 25cm longer than the shortest luffed sail of this group (the Gaastra IQ). In contrast however, the boom length is one of the shortest and in the lowest eyelet setting, is actually the shortest of the group. Material weight of the sail is mid-range compared with the rest of this group and it’s worth noting that the Banzai comes with a monofilm window, which is great for visibility when riding.
On the water
Despite the changes, the Banzai has definitely kept its personality. The power delivery is on the shaper side of things, providing a grunty, reassuring feel with a slightly forward pull position, as was the case with the 2014 model. The biggest difference we noticed was the softness. Maybe our memory is failing us, but last years sail felt crisper and harder, whereas this 2015 model feels softer. In fact, it’s now the second softest sail of the group. As part of the design intention was to make it lighter in the hands and softer, then the brief seems to have been achieved.
The Banzai is one of the 4-batten sails that has it cracked when it comes to all-round wavesailing. Most 4-batten sails feel like a compromise that leans mostly towards waveriding. However the Banzaii is one of the few that somehow manages to extract near to 5-batten wind range and real all-round performance from a 4-batten design.
For jumping, the Banzai is predictable and reliable in the air with that slightly forward pull position giving it plenty of control. The shorter boom length does make it feel more manoeuvrable in rotating moves and the extra softness is an asset when landing from jumps.
On the wave, all the benefits of a 4-batten sails start to shine. The sail feels more manoeuvrable in the hands than last year and offers a bit more release through the top turn. It also has really good power through the bottom turn helping you enter the top turn with speed. We never got a chance to try the Banzai in proper cross-off conditions, but got the impression that it would be an extremely strong performer, with its drive and agile handling. The mono-film window was also a real bonus for visibility.
Overall, the wind range of the Banzai was really good, particularly for a four batten sail. At the very top end, it couldn’t quite match the 5-batten Severne but was (jointly) the second best of the group. At the bottom end, it’s light handling was fantastic for wobble and ride conditions and whilst its efficiency onto the plane was very good, there were a few sails within this group (mostly with firmer, more shapely profiles) that got things going just a little quicker.
Really solid all-round performance, with a new-school 4-batten feel.
Powerful and agile for wave riding.
The 2014 Wave World Champions own sail
Correct tuning is critical and complicated slightly by the dual clew eyelet.
Who should buy this sail?
The Banzai is such a good all-round performer that we doubt anyone would be disappointed by its performance, whether a hard-core wave rider or on-shore jumper.
Sails were tested at the TWS centre in El-Medano, Tenerife.