LOFTSAILS OXYGEN 7.3 2020 TEST REVIEW
The Oxygen continues to impress, achieving the alchemy and balance between smart refined power, crisp handling and a real ease of use.
The Oxygen sits in the Loftsails range for another season as their no-cam freerace offering, with a healthy 10 sizes in their range, available in two colourways – blue as well as the orange tested here. Rigged on a Team Edition 460 cm SDM, it sets with plenty of luff curve, downhauling the sail so that the looseness in the top panel reaches the forward positioned trimming guide. The twist extends down much of the leech, down to the end of the cross batten, just above the two inset clew eyelets. Build quality is on par with the best, with a large extended x-ply foot panel to compliment the x-ply luff, clew and leech panels, creating a perimeter around the monofilm window and upper panel. All the usual Loftsails detailing is in place, including a large ‘easy-open’ moulded tack fairing, full-length beading on both sides of the bottom two battens, integrated battens (many of which are tubed), and the use of Dacron in the head panel to mitigate any damage whilst rolling. Tensioned according to the trim marker, the Oxygen displays moderate to good shaping low down in its draft, yet remains relatively flat above the boom, the three lower battens rotating easily around the mast.
“Oxygenate your windsurfing!” Monty Spindler.
With a long luff and boom, the Oxygen looks every bit its quoted size, yet feels balanced and poised in the hands. There’s plenty of skin tension in the leading edge and as pressure builds the movement in the luff sleeve enables the draft to pull away quickly and the profile to deepen. It has an impressive amount of bottom end power as a result, more immediate and crisp than some and certainly more focussed. Accelerating quickly, the Oxygen’s foot is low-cut, letting the sail rock back into a secure committed stance. The pull comes from low and forward in the draft, helping to pin the board down and accelerate in the gusts. There is simply nothing soggy or deferred in the delivery style, but neither is it demanding or challenging to handle for the novice rider. Instead, it has that wonderful quality of becoming physically lighter in the hands as a gust hits, transferring its energy efficiently into the board and inspiring the rider to drive harder, focussing on the board’s trim. As the conditions strengthen, the Oxygen demonstrates a fantastic range on just one setting, but you can relax in the knowledge that you have the extra tuning advantage of the second, lower eyelet. Orientating the boom with more rake helps to encourage a more compact locked in stance, furthering resolve and control. And the Oxygen certainly rises to the challenge, its stability unwavering and twist profile superbly engineered, leaving no room for any flutter. In these conditions, the sail’s manners combined with its low and forward drive make it a pleasure to use in transition, entering in a controlled manner and helping to keep the board pinned naturally to the water’s surface. A real all-rounder with excellent natural range and crisp accessible power.
Luff: 474 cm
Boom: 212 cm
Ideal Mast: Team Edition 460 cm SDM
Available Sizes: 4.6, 5.3, 5.8, 6.3, 6.8, 7.0, 7.3, 7.8, 8.5, 9.5.
OTHER SAILS IN THE TEST