GOYA BANZAI PRO 5.0M 2018 TEST REVIEW
Described as the ‘Powerwave’ option in the Goya sail range, the Banzai comes in two colour patterns, appointed to the two star team riders that have helped designer Jason Diffin evolve the sail over the last two years – Marcilio Browne (yellow/black) and Levi Siver (blue/red). There is also a full scrim version of the sail available, called the Banzai X. Recommended for use exclusively with RDM masts, the expansive range stems from 3.15m to 6.3m, with reduced luff lengths being a new refinement in sizes 4.2 to 5.5m. In doing so, the key sizes of 3.7, 4.7 and 5.5 are now capable of being rigged on differing mast lengths, catering for rider preference. Taking a closer look at the Banzai and it’s reassuring to see the highlight features of last year’s sail are still present and correct – for example, the twin clew eyelets fixed to the ends of the carbon stretch control tendons; the hybrid Dacron/scrim luff panel and a quality moulded tack fairing, with internal mesh pocket. Bi-Ply remains in use for the window panel – a two-layered laminate containing a UV inhibitor that is claimed to last three times longer than monofilm. Lightweight, durable scrim is then used in the main body panels, with the addition of some extra reinforcement in the upper leech to mitigate any breakdown in the x-ply as a result of fluttering.
“ New shape and profile cuts give the Banzai a more progressive three-dimensional profile and twist characteristic that give the sail chameleon skills. New Bi-Ply window shapes significantly increase the viewing area through the sail and make it easier to pick your line across the water. We have updated the material in the tack and foot of the sail, the area that sees the most impacts and damage, with stronger film and yarn configurations.”
Rigging the Banzai on a Direct Drive 90, the set couldn’t be simpler to find, downhauling the sail until looseness in the leech reaches the dot in the upper panel. The feel and feedback of the sail can then be altered significantly by choosing between the two clew eyelets, and varying the extent of the outhaul tension. And we have to say the system works incredibly well, adding real practicality by eliminating the necessity to detach and crank on more downhaul when the wind increases. Retaining rotation in the two lower battens throughout its useable tuning range, at minimum set (using the upper eyelet) there’s only a relatively moderate amount of shape low down in the sail’s profile. Instead, the Banzai relies on the play in its luff sleeve and the slither of Dacron in its hybrid luff panel to help expand its profile as the pressure increases. The result is an ample amount of bottom end grunt, the power filling progressively before the sail reaches its elastic limit and the influence of the x-ply luff panel can be felt, providing crisp and precise handling. Put simply, the Banzai seems to strike just the right balance between control and direct response, being comfortable yet exciting and rewarding to use in any sea state. This is highlighted more than ever on a wave, where the sail provides plenty of useable drive through the bottom turn before going wonderfully neutral as it is repositioned, the crisp power returning smoothly when required. It’s as if the sail is actively backing you – you don’t need to think about it, allowing you to concentrate on your next wave or stunt instead.
A fantastically fluid sail, the Banzai furnishes you with the power to drive aggressively and the dynamic response to really add flow to your style. Impressively practical to tune for varying conditions, it was well liked by all who used it.
Other sails in this test: