POINT-7 AC-Z 7.8 2020 TEST REVIEW
A class act, the AC-Z has PWA pedigree in a package easily within reach for all ambitious recreational blasters. It provides the inspiration to charge hard, without demanding much input or application from the rider.
New for 2020, the AC-Z is described by Point-7 as a “total revolution in slalom” delivering race-like performance, coupled with freeride simplicity. Its secret ingredient lies in its structure and form, with the two cams located on its bottom two battens, allowing the luff sleeve to narrow quickly for the rotational battens above the boom. The result is said to be blistering straight-line performance (developed alongside their no compromise AC-One), with the handling of a no-cam in the corners. Rigged on a Black Prime 100% mast, the AC-Z is easy to set, applying the downhaul by hand before opening the two cam pockets and pushing the cams into place. There’s then a trimming guide between battens two and three, depicting just how much tension to apply … and as with most Point-7s, it is generous! The leech falls away significantly down to batten five, whilst the luff curve in its leading edge and skin tension through its panels are similarly impressive. And whilst the depth of the AC-Z’s draft is relatively shallow compared to some in the group, its location (lowdown and comparatively far back), puts it squarely around the rider’s stance. Another interesting observation is that the single ‘optimised’ clew eyelet provided is placed high up on the sail’s trailing edge, relative to other designs here – a location said to have been meticulously pin-pointed by the brand’s R&D team. Available in either the brand’s signature black livery, or their new Code 7548 yellow colour scheme, it is well presented and features many of the most contemporary detailing available, including x-ply pockets for the alternating tubed battens, abrasion resistant beading in vulnerable places and a UV-resistant transparent grey window for maximum longevity.
The AC-Z will be the perfect option for those who would love a cam sail but never wanted to try, and for those who would love an easier cam sail but were worried to lose their final top performance – Andrea Cucchi.
Taking the AC-Z out in light winds initially, its pronounced luff curve and skin tension, (not to mention the amount of looseness in trailing edge), does make it feel somewhat insensitive to the subtleties required for marginal conditions. Reducing tension certainly offered more breathability and pumping response in the leading edge, yet the exercise felt somewhat contrived, like trying to fit tractor wheels on a Porsche! Instead, we concluded it’s better to reapply the tension and wait for the conditions to build, for it’s when the AC-Z is comfortably powered that it begins to come into its own. As pressure is delivered and the AC-Z releases the board, its acceleration in the hands is breathtaking. Sharp, active and exciting, the power delivery is so crisp and inspiring, the centre of effort low and focussed around the rider, making them feel in control at all times. It needs to be partnered with a board and fin that possess the same limitless performance threshold, otherwise the sail will present some imbalance issues in gusts, such is its obvious thirst to keep pushing. And even in severe winds, the AC-Z’s low profile position stays put, pinning the board down and mitigating any pressure or creep towards the rider’s back hand. Its upper luff sleeve width and swing-weight have been dramatically reduced, a genuine asset that becomes all the more apparent in transition. Carrying masses of speed into the corner, the AC-Z is balanced and poised in the hands, feeling light and effortless to reposition during manoeuvre, the cams rotating subtly and smoothly on their own accord. It feels much smaller in transition than its dimensions suggest, and instils the confidence to become more expressive as you enter the next turn. A high performing freerace contender, the AC-Z has a different sort of lightness to other rivals in this group, its stunning capabilities coming to life the harder it is driven.
Luff: 485 cm
Boom: 210 cm
Ideal mast: Point-7 460 SDM
Available sizes: 5.2, 5.8, 6.4, 6.8, 7.2, 7.8, 8.5, 9.4.
Other sails in this test:
THE LINE UP