EZZY ZETA 5.8M TEST REVIEW
Reintroduced into the Ezzy fold last year, the Zeta is Ezzy’s five batten sail, designed for use in the waves of Ho’okipa to “screaming across San Francisco Bay on a windy afternoon”. Said to retain the lightness of the Taka and Elite wave sails, it has the extra batten above the boom for “stability and responsiveness”. Rigged here on a 430cm Ho’okipa mast, it is straightforward to set correctly using the numerous guides on the sail, from the calibrated downhaul gauge in the tack, to the indicator marks on the leech and the outhaul strings incorporated into the clew. They are all there to make rigging as uncomplicated as possible, giving you the confidence you’re doing it as intended. Interestingly, the Zeta sets with more luff curve than its other wave sail siblings and more than we anticipated, with the leech showing some looseness along its length as more tension is applied. What we did anticipate was Ezzy’s signature deep profile, which is certainly present in the Zeta, locked well forward in the draft.
“If you’ve windsurfed for as long as we have, you remember David Ezzy’s North Zeta from the late 80’s and early 90’s. The original Zeta shocked the sail world and became the forerunner of the modern 5-batten wave sail. Fast-forward 25 years of intensive R&D: a new Ezzy Zeta is born. Get ready for the rebirth of a legend!”
With more profile that we can remember of any wave sail (including previous Ezzys … so that’s saying something), the tuning range in the Zeta is nothing short of staggering. Use the minimum marks of the calibrated guide in the foot and the Zeta sets incredibly full, fine-tuning the amount of power using the outhaul string indicators, now standard on all Ezzys. The centre of effort is placed right next to the leading edge, and quite high in the sail, giving clear and obvious feedback as soon as the wind increases and the pressure builds. And yet there is a familiar softness to the delivery, making the feedback manageable and forgiving – especially welcome when using the sail in turbulent seas. The Zeta has masses of grunt, feeling positive and forceful in the hands – a real asset in cross-onshore conditions, or for float-and-ride sessions. With the materials and build quality worthy of the brand name, it is certainly a wave sail, both in riding stance and handling – more upright in nature and feeling poised and ready for anything you ask of it. Its profile and therefore power never goes neutral, yet it is always perfectly balanced and predictable, enabling it to be used to the proactive rider’s advantage. As the wind increases, you can keep tuning, firstly on the downhaul (again, unambiguously prescribed by the tuning aid in the foot), then on the outhaul. If the wind keeps increasing, then keep applying the tension – it really is incredible how much range you can get out of the sail. We’ve had some lightweight progressing riders use the Zeta in the centre and they highlighted the lack of neutrality as the one aspect of the Zeta that took a little getting used to. A necessary by-product of so much stability and depth to the draft, it was loved by most who used the sail and therefore is something worth getting used to.
The Zeta makes a strong case for the validity of the modern five batten wave sail, providing smooth, useable and incredibly dependable power over a staggering wind range.
Other sails in this test: