NEIL PRYDE RYDE 6.5M 2016 TEST REVIEW
The Ryde is back for its second season, taking up the “classic flat-water freeride” post in the Neil Pryde line-up. Designed to offer stability and control over a wide wind range, it is said to be the ideal choice for the wide-and-thin boards, as well as more conventional freeride shapes. Available in standard or HD construction (the former tested here; the latter incorporates x-ply throughout its panels) it has the brand’s Forceline material in its tack panel as well as clew for 2016 –said to disperse loads seamlessly into the body of the sail. Rigged on an FLX100 SDM for test (yet compatible with an RDM), it sets with a good amount of depth to its profile, yet plenty of play in the luff tube for the sail to fill to an even deeper shape when the wind kicks in. Seeming to work superbly on one downhaul setting, with just a fine tune on the outhaul, the Ryde has plenty of luff curve in its leading edge and lots of progressive twist in its leech, the centre of effort locked low and forward to help pin the board down.
“With a shorter boom and higher cut foot than the Hellcat, the Ryde perfectly combines freemove and freeride characteristics. Six battens and the Dynamic Compact Clew make it fast and controllable in straight lines with a wide wind range that provides a truly fun freeriding experience.”
Last year the Ryde impressed us with its efficient character and slippery feel, continually accelerating in gusts without ever losing its balance or composure. So we are pleased to report that this remains very much the case for 2016. It is a simply stunning performer when partnered with an efficient freeride/freerace hull, providing useable feedback and craving to be locked into a committed powerful stance. It can’t help but inspire and will have even the nervous passenger thinking that they’re the next speedway icon, such is the ease and accessibility of its performance! With the same increments and identical panel layout, the only change that seems to have occurred to the Ryde this year is cosmetic, with one colourway available for the HD and this blue/yellow version for the standard model. Light and easy in the hands at rest, it doesn’t have the most obvious or forceful of natures when it comes to bottom end power, but rather it generates the energy and delivers it cleanly to the rider’s hands, encouraging them to use it. Perfectly balanced and precise, it can be used with any number of board styles, from crossover to freerace and has the manners to compliment a variety of rider abilities, from a progressing sailor’s upright half-speed posture, to an expert’s locked in charge. The lightness and precision are also evident in transition, where the sail eases into a shallower profile when sheeted out, making it smooth and silky for relocating.
Crisp, light and impeccably balanced, the Ryde is wonderfully efficient making it more and more fun as the wind turns on. What price for such a high caliber performance?
Other sails in this test: