5.3m Wave Sail Test 2015
More marginal wind on a wave test trip had us really testing the bottom-end of this selection of the latest 5.3s for all-round wave sailing use. But actually, that’s a good thing, as you’ll see…
5.3 is the size most likely to be most peoples’ biggest wave sail. As well as it being the largest efficient, workable size for boards down to around the 78-litre mark, without being too big or draggy on a toothpick, the do-it-all 5.3 is also more than workable on an 105-litre freestyle-wave. But, as we mentioned last season, the humble 5.3 has a big brief to fulfill, needing to be a powerhouse for heavyweights at the lower end of the scale – and manageable enough for lighter or medium-weight riders to use on a floaty board in on-the-edge conditions.
This test was originally published in the September issue.
So 5.3’s a key size that can span a realistic range of use spanning 14-30 knots. Some of this assortment fall into a ‘feel bigger than they are’ group (Gaastra, Vandal and Tushingham), while others have the sensation of being nearer the physical size of a 5.0 or even 4.7 model – but have the grunt of their actual size. (RRD, the North – not in the group, but read on about that – and the Attitude.) If you want real torquey, bottom-end drive, then why not consider a 5.7? There’s plenty around, but before you go shopping, consider that another advantage of an efficient 5.3 is that its mostly the largest size you’ll fit onto a 400 mast, where most 5.7s or 6.0s will require an additional and/or potentially more vulnerable-to-breakages 430. (Although you could use said 430 on a 7-metre-plus freerace or freeride sail on an 110 or 105L slalom or FSW/small freeride board to widen your range of use and justify the spend.) For now though we’ll concentrate on the 5.3s and see how they got on …
PRINCIPAL TEST TEAM
Chris Rainbow 75 kg. Med. Height.
Julian Da Vall 83 kg. 1.95 Tall.
Brian McDowell 100 kg. 1.90 Tall.
Also thanks to: Cormac de Roiste,
Laoise ni Dhuda, Chris Grainger and Robby De Wit.
Thanks also to the various other guest testers on hand in Tenerife who also lent a hand, plus the various PWA pro sailors that showed us the best tweaks on their affiliated brands’ gear and gave opinion on boards and sails from rival manufacturers.
Okay so we’ve already stated this group are a bit more subtle than you’d think and how they ‘used to be’ and how a good few 5.3s are now quite ‘efficient’ feeling instead of being total animals. However, this size and the brief involved still often means some pretty slack outhaul settings are required to gain the maximum power, as well as widening the upper wind range by pinning boards down further in hectic sea states. The looser, fuller settings also increase backhand control for tightening-up frontside, onshore riding turns. This year the trend is still quite apparent, but there is a finer entry option (Attitude) that bucks that movement slightly, requiring noticeably more outhaul tension. The Tushingham is also quite outhaul sensitive and only ever needs one or two cm. maximum to get the best from it.
There are a few key brands ‘missing’ here. There’s always a struggle getting some brands’ gear in time to publish the early release tests you all crave so much. A warehousing staff error unfortunately saw us having the North Idol as the early test leader, until we noticed it was the 2014 model that they’d sent … (On the aero platinum mast which revolutionises its performance compared to the mast supplied last season.) This is a real shame, but we highly recommend you strongly consider both the ‘old’ and new Heros – and only with that mast – for your demo lists. The Hero would’ve rivalled the test winner and, who knows, maybe even have taken the title? But sadly we had to stop sailing it as soon as we found out.
Well this time we have an outright winner. There can’t always be, but this time it was pretty clear to all of us which was the most workable, widely popular and best all-round performer, so congratulations to RRD for the Move 5.2.
Not everyone’s the same, so to help you sort out what’s best for you from the individual reports to follow this is what we found:
Early Planing: The RRD Move had competition from the ‘North that never was’ but emerged clearly in the low-end, upwind and acceleration up-to-speed front. The Gaastra Poison and Vandal Enemy are also pretty drivey, direct picks too.
Onshore riding: The RRD was outstanding in onshore slop, but the Severne Blade is also excellent in this department. The Tushingham Bolt and Attitude Rebel are also very manoevrable on the wave.
Best Outright Wind Range: The Move, Blade and Attitude seem to have the widest overall range, but we didn’t get to really test the top-end enough to be totally honest.
Easiest to Rig: Non of these were in the Ezzy league of easy rigging, but the Tushingham – bar the fiddly mast cutout – is a pretty simple ‘one set’ sail while the Severne, Attitude, RRD, Gaastra and Vandal are all quite straight forward and hard to get majorly wrong.
Which Ones Would We Buy?: If we sailed a lot in sideshore we’d consider the Blade, which has added light weight and construction strength benefits too. For value for money the Tush and Vandal and Attitude are impressive, but, taking into account the reasonable RRD mast prices too, it’s got to be the RRD, especially for mostly ‘real world’ wavesailing and FSW outings. BM
Special thanks to Tenerife Windsurf Solution (TWS) centre for hosting us – the best demo/hire centre in the world, F-Hot/Dave White for the loan of their mast mounts, I Love Meet and Greet Gatwick Parking Services and 211 Components for supplying excellent reduced diameter carbon booms that really helped us feel the max from the sails. (Without any forearm cramp or funny blisters!)