EZZY SAILS HYDRA 6.0M 2019 TEST REVIEW
Like all Ezzy sails, the Hydra is born from David’s passion and attention to detail. The first thing that David noticed about foiling is that it opens up a whole new challenge for sail design. The fundamentals of foiling are simply different than normal windsurfing, which is why the Hydra looks nothing like a normal windsurfing sail.
Proudly unique in appearance, the Hydra’s outline is instantly recognisable with its long foot batten extending well beyond the clew eyelet. Rigged on a Ho’okipa mast combination, the sail comes with Ezzy’s usual attention to detail and rigging guidance. The range available on both downhaul and outhaul are noticeably more than on normal Ezzys, with 5 cm of adjustment on the downhaul and a whopping 13 cm suggested for the outhaul. There’s a ruler printed onto the end of the tack strap to help determine the length of extension required, measuring the distance between the desired mark on the tack gauge and the bottom of the roller pulley. It’s a foolproof system and works well. Just remember to feed the boom around the sail from the head as you won’t be able to work it around the foot batten!
Rigged for light, marginal winds, the Hydra sets with minimal luff curve and next to no looseness, even in the upper leech. The draft is very deep and the foot batten is rotated significantly around the mast, protruding beyond the leading edge at rest. On the water the sail feels light and balanced, the three-quarter length batten allowing the sail to contract and feel relatively neutral in the hands. As a gust hits though the Hydra springs to life. The profile deepens significantly as pressure builds, and a few pumps surge power into the board, helped by the spring and flex in the soft, unhindered mast. The long foot batten also helps to provide useable feedback through the back hand, reducing the chances of over-sheeting and stalling if over exuberant in the pumping cycle. Once going, the sail settles easily, the low foot area helping to provide the power when required, whilst the upper panels tune intuitively to the head-on apparent wind direction. The three-quarter batten plays its part again, allowing the sail’s draft above the boom to soften and contract for improved efficiency and control. In transition, the Hydra powers in positively, before becoming neutral and light as it is eased out and released. Rotation onto the new tack is smooth, yet slow and measured due to the foot batten length, the power coming back on progressively as it is sheeted in. As the wind increases, the Hydra can be set incredibly flat through use of downhaul and outhaul, reducing the movement in the panels and retaining its manners. The outline of the Hydra means that it’s not for freestyle trickery on the foil … and nor is it a high-end race oriented specialist. Instead it is aimed squarely at the freeride foiling market, providing the power and handling to enjoy the flight and glide over an extraordinary wind range.
Other sails in this test: