NEIL PRYDE FUSION 6.0M 2017 TEST REVIEW
Designed to be partnered with freestyle-wave or small freeride boards, the Fusion is available in standard construction (as tested here) or an HD version, using x-ply throughout its panels. Aimed at being light and forgiving, it has a moderate amount of skin tension thanks to a reduced luff curve, the centre of effort focussed around the rider. The 6.0m is the second largest size in the Fusion range and as such has a more freeride oriented outline, with a lower foot shape for more straight-line performance. And whilst the 6.0m and 6.5m are ideally suited for use with a 430cm (either RDM as we have here, or SDM), all the other sizes of Fusion, right down to the 4.5m, can also set on a 430cm mast, making it a practical quiver option for those looking for a ‘one-sail does all’ solution, with the smaller sizes more wave / manoeuvre orientated.
“The Fusion got totally redesigned this year. Our focus was to make it much more manoeuvrable compared to 2016. Most of the design features come from the Atlas design; resulting in a higher aspect ratio sail with a shorter boom, smaller foot area and flatter batten profile. In design and performance the Fusion now sits perfectly between Atlas and Ryde and is an ideal choice for a flat-water manoeuvre oriented sail.”
As with all Pryde sails, the Fusion sets very cleanly, the leech opening up progressively as more downhaul tension is applied, leaving the power delivery to be fine tuned on the outhaul. Conventional and practical, it has one of the largest tuning ranges in this group, capable of being set full and powerful for plenty of bottom end power, or with masses of twist for top end efficiency. The centre of effort is low and around the rider, providing plenty of useable feedback through both hands. Set with minimal tension, the Fusion feels big and powerful, larger than its stated area and capable of generating a real surge of power when pumped. Partnered with large freeride hulls, it has the grunt to get the most out of them in marginal winds, providing constant torque and dependency. As the wind increases and the Fusion’s balance begins to show signs of decay, a quick re-tune with more tension totally transforms its credentials, from a low-end muscle car to high-end hair-raising electric flyer! It demands to be paired with a board that will keep up with it, accelerating with every gust and possessing an efficient slippery nature akin to its stable-mates – the Hellcat and Ryde. We tensioned it well beyond the increments stated on the Fusion to get this response, giving it easily the longest boom length in the group. As such, it is more of a straight-line blasting sail with neutral balanced handling for ease in transitions, rather than a sail that likes to be thrown into the latest stunts or used in waves.
With a massive tuneable range, the Fusion can be set as a low-end powerhouse, or efficient straight-line blaster, with easy balanced handling for mastering the corners.
Other sails in this test: