“Take your wavesailing to the next level with this wave crushing machine. A full x-ply layout and an aggressive outline make this the choice for epic days at Ho’okipa or your local break. New for 2011/12, a stepped leech design yields perfect perimeter tension. The low clew and soft breathable flex will explode your limits in crossoff conditions.”
Vandal offer two ranges of wave sails: the 5-batten Enemy (tested here and in last month’s 5.3 power wave test) and the 4-batten Riot. The Enemy is designed for all-round sailing in anything from onshore to cross-shore conditions, while the Riot is the ‘compact’ wave sail, targeted at multi-fin boards and offering ‘radical’ performance.
on the beach
The original Vandals were pretty much Gaastras with different graphics, but now they have their own unique designs. Vandal pride themselves on a younger, cooler, more hardcore image, and have gone to town – you had better like skulls!
The stepped leech is new, and is claimed to achieve ‘perfect perimeter tension’, while the full x-ply construction is incorporated for maximum strength. At 407cm the Vandal has one of the longer luffs in test and also one of the shortest booms. Sail weight is one of the lightest at an impressive 3.42kg.
Like the 5.3m we tested last month, the 4.7m sets with minimal pre-set shape in the battens and instead gets its shape from a reasonable amount of batten rotation at the mast. Vandal prefer the simplicity of just one clew eyelet rather than two.
When it comes to tuning there is a small amount of versatility, allowing you to squeeze a bit more power at the bottom end and a lighter feel and control at the top end, but it’s not a sail that requires you to play too much with settings as the wind changes.
Sizes: 3.3, 3.7, 4.0, 4.2, 4.5, 4.7, 5.0, 5.3, 5.7
Tested on: Vandal Flux Pro RD M
Size tested: 4.7m
on the water
In our 5.3m ‘power wave’ test last month the Enemy fell a little short with regard to bottom end power, but against this group of 4.7m ‘all-round’ wave sails it actually has one of the best bottom end performances of the group. It also pumps extremely well onto the plane with a very springy and efficient feel to it.
The Enemy is a relatively firm feeling sail in the hands, with a fairly sharp power delivery in relation to the rest of this group. It’s also quite a light feeling sail. The material weight is low, giving it a very manoeuvrable feel through transitions and on the wave-face. On the wave in more powered-up conditions the Vandal was one of the best sails of the group. It felt lightweight, compact, manoeuvrable and easy to depower when needed.
While there are differences, if you were to pair together two similar sails within this group you’d put the Vandal with the Gaastra. Both have similar characteristics, but the Vandal is slightly firmer in feel with a sharper power delivery and is a little lighter in the hands, thanks in part to its slightly more forward pull position.
Like the Gaastra the Vandal excels at being a ‘jack of all trades’. It has a very rounded performance that can hold its own in any type of condition – whether underpowered, overpowered, onshore or cross-shore.
In the hands the Vandal did feel slightly smaller than other sails. This may in part be down to the lighter feel, but the shorter boom and manoeuvrability also contribute to this.
The Vandal stands out as being a real ‘all-round’ wave sail. It excels through not being extreme in any aspect of its performance. Where some sails lean heavily towards one aspect of performance, such as waveriding or top end control, the Vandal holds the centre ground of this group in nearly all performance and descriptive criteria. It has a relatively sharp power delivery with a firmer feel and is impressively light in the hands, particularly in manoeuvres.