NEIL PRYDE COMBAT PRO 5.0 TEST REVIEW 2023
5.0 ALL-ROUND WAVE SAIL CATCH-UP TEST
Despite its visual update, it’s a relief to report the Combat feels remarkably similar to its predecessor. Providing energised power over an impressive wind range, its crisp balanced handling and acceleration can do much to inspire its pilot on the water.
The Combat has been a mainstay in the Neil Pryde range for almost two decades now, classed as their World Cup Team Riders’ wave sail of choice, sandwiched between the cross-off specialist Zone and ‘power wave’ Atlas. There are three construction options available, starting with the Pro version, on test here, which is the most premium construction version, using lightweight 2mil scrim in its upper panels and a 3mil Technora leech panel along the length of its trailing edge. The Pro HD is the lightest version and uses exactly the same materials as the PRO, but switches the Pro’s ‘ultra-clear’ 7mil monofilm window out for a 5mil ‘ultra PE’ x-ply window. The HD is the most affordable version and has the same panel layout as its two siblings, yet builds upon the 5mil x-ply window and opts for 4mil ‘ultra PE’ x-ply throughout its upper panels too. It also has a radial HD tack and clew rather than using Powerfuse technology. Tested here on a TPX100 mast, Pryde’s literature talks of a tighter leech for more drive and acceleration, a wide tuning range and wider spacing in the battens low down for softer, more forgiving handling, and narrower spacing between the battens in the upper panels for improved stability. This Pro version boasts Powerfuse technology, with ultra-scrim custom laminated panels in the foot and clew for optimum light weight and performance, and a rip stop Taffeta luff panel, said to be more responsive than Dacron and softer than x-ply. It’s a good looking sail, with the brand’s signature attention to detail, setting cleanly without a crease to be seen throughout its panels.
One sail that I can feel confident to take with me anywhere in the world. – Robby Swift.
With a moderate amount of luff curve to its leading edge, the Combat sets with plenty of low-down depth to its draft at rest, the lower batten retaining some contact with the mast, whilst the other battens sit away. This profile and the high and forward draft position translate into plenty of positive bottom end grunt on the water. A few pro-active pumps and the Combat can make the most of fickle gusts, the movement in the luff panel helping the sail to assume a deep and useful shape. Crisp and alive in the hands, it is an inspiring sail to use, accelerating quickly and delivering precise feedback, so that the rider always knows where the energy is focussed. Charge out through the break to hit ramps for some aerial antics or carve a path upwind to catch a swell-line, the Combat provides all the usability and punch required, so that the rider can concentrate on their own performance. It is an involving sail to use – one that thrives in the hands of riders with energetic riding styles; if you want a sail with a more passive, locked in nature, the Atlas may be the answer. As the wind increases, the Combat copes well on just one setting, yet can also be re-tuned with more tension to increase twist through the sail and settle its nature. In transition and manoeuvre, the Combat’s forced profile and speed allows it to drive in actively, helping to retain control at all times, without ever going completely neutral in the hands. It’s a real-world sail for use in all coastal environments, delivering the power and balanced handling that will endear it to many.
PRICE: £879.00 (Pro HD: £899.00, HD: £779.00)
Luff: 409 cm
Boom: 166 cm
Ideal Mast: Neil Pryde 400 cm RDM
Available Sizes: 3.3, 3.7, 4.0, 4.2, 4.5, 4.7, 5.0, 5.3, 5.6.
OTHER SAILS IN THIS TEST