GOYA BANZAI X PRO 5.0M 2019 TEST REVIEW
Having tried the Banzai Pro for several seasons now, 2019 is the turn of the Banzai X Pro – an offering that is nigh on identical to its stablemate, save for the use of x-ply film (with a Spectra yarn incorporated) in the window panel, for increased durability. The Banzai is Goya’s premier World Cup wave sail for use in ‘real world’ conditions, from cross-off bliss, to coastal blasting … and everything between. The word from the sail’s designer, Jason Diffin, is that the mid-sizes of the Banzai have an “enhanced flex feel”, improving their handling characteristics. Rigged here on a 99% RDM, it is straightforward to set the sail, downhauling until the leech looseness reaches the visual marker in the top panel. The rest of the trailing edge falls away progressively, allowing the power delivery to be adjusted using the brand’s tried and tested dual clew eyelet configuration. Whatever the fine-tuning chosen, the two lower battens retain the slightest rotation around the mast, keeping some shape and camber in the draft. Certainly an eye-catching sail, the X is available in two bright colourways, giving it masses of visual appeal to match its quality and detailed workmanship. The materials used speak volumes – Kevlar in the foot panel scrim; uni-directional carbon fibre in the stretch control tendons, extensive use of quality x-ply film produced in the United States and a rip-stop material in the luff sleeve – the Banzai X pro is carefully considered from head to foot.
“The Banzai X Pro is for rougher days, riskier jumps, bolder experiments. It still feels at home in Hawaii, but this sail loves to travel, go places, get out and sail, for days, weeks or years.”
Jumping onto the Banzai from other sails in the group, you instantly know you’re on something very different when the wind fills and pressure builds. When other brands are striving for softer, more neutral characters in their sails, the Banzai has lost none of its crisp directness that we remember from earlier years. Using the upper clew eyelet, it powers early and instantly feels positive in the hands. It’s as if the rider has a direct line with the wind’s power – no energy is lost as it assaults and invigorates the board, demanding a quick response. It would certainly suit highly charged, ambitious riding styles, who would thrive on being involved in the thick of it at all times. The drive is always there, the Banzai refraining from ever going entirely neutral … yet its balance and compact nature mean that it is always honest and reliable. Get your timing right and it is a peach to handle, providing the immediate energy for real snap and expression. As the wind increases, the lower clew eyelet can provide solace, allowing the leech to twist off more and temper the feedback. It can adapt to your riding preference – lock in and use the power to full effect, or stand more upright and feather the power – the Banzai’s stability mitigating the chance of control issues. In churned up waters and violent gusts, the crisp feedback does require focus and a strong hand to keep driving forwards, yet the Banzai’s raw bottom end means you can change down sooner, the smaller sail making light work of the conditions once again.
With a crispness and quality to its performance to match its materials and appearance, the Banzai X provides the punch to make the most of any environment. The more energy you put in, the more explosive the power that will be released.
Other sails in this test: