NAISH VIBE 5.5M 2014 TEST REVIEW
Those who prefer a more traditional style of turning and ample power with a slight amount of spring.
Best set with a good level of outhaul and paired with wider-bodied boards.
“The Vibe is designed for riders looking for an easy handling wave sail with a soft feel, wide wind range and true all-around performance. It features a new Fusion construction, which makes the Vibe exceptionally lightweight and durable. It is the ideal choice for lighter riders, sideshore surf conditions and bump & jump freeride sailing.”
Outline: Higher aspect profile, lower-cut foot, slight dropped clew, all on a 5-batten frame.
Build Quality: On first impressions you could say this sail looks like a simple blend of dacron, scrim and film, but closer inspection reveals a smart – and pricy – ‘fusion’ construction that marries these fabrics together in a radial layout. There’s also minimal but lightweight and well-thought-out clew and foot protection.
We also noticed: PU moulded head and adjustable head. Scrim and Dacron upper panels. Protective seam up front of luff tube. 3-part luff sleeve. Raised rubber batten end protectors. Battens on starboard side. Small moulded clew end with single ring and radial Kevlar seams radiating from taped over clew/boom protection patch. Foot bumper both tacks. Easy access moulded tack fairing with uphaul ring and handle. 90-degree low-friction roller tack pulley offering both 4:1 or 6:1 ratios. Moulded mast sleever above luff cut-out.
The Vibe 5.5 has a powerful feel, in fact, with a nicely progressive leech twist, it’s quite a stable and locked-in sail that lures you into blasting out to sea in freeride or drag-racing mode. In wave sailing terms, this a sail that will let you ‘drive around the ball park’ and get you to the peak or upwind efficiently. You hear the expression ‘plug ‘n play’ a lot but it really is forgiving – and instantly ‘just works’. Our heavier riders thought it felt a little soft at times, but still managed to use all the power and stay happy that that the draft was stable. With such a tall profile everyone was surprised at how willing and able it was to be thrown about. We thought it paired particularly well with wider boards when turning and that it delivered good drive in slacker sections of onshore surf. On the wave face, there’s not much back hand nature to the Vibe, with it suiting those who prefer more front pull and a more drawn-out riding style, tending to put you on your leading foot more than helping to tighten your arc in onshore situations. Although we agreed that the Vibe is both well built and visually pleasing, in pure waveriding terms we would’ve liked a little more visibility higher above the boom. If you’re dipping your toes into wave sailing, then read the board tests in this issue – there’s a couple that might make a perfect match for this sail!
An excellent, stable and forgiving sail that has plenty of cross-over potential in coastal locations. A perfect partner for larger, versatile freestyle-wave boards or purist wave sailors with a more classic down-the-line style.
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