NEIL PRYDE V8 7.7M 2019 TEST REVIEW
The V8 gives race like feel and performance thanks to a race inspired luff sleeve and deep, powerful profile, alongside the easy handling of a freeride sail. But that’s not all. It actually became our sail of choice when learning, testing and developing our windfoil programme. Suitable for freeride, freerace, slalom and pure foil boards.
Rigged on a TPX 460 SDM, the V8 is largely unchanged from last year’s series, except for a visual update in new graphics and colourways, and a slightly different cut in the outline below the clew eyelets. Downhaul tension is easy to apply and the ‘Integracams’ cams (either side of the boom-cutout) pop onto the mast easily once moderate tension is applied. There’s some good tuning range available in the V8’s set, with plenty of twist in the leech and a moderate to shallow profile forced high and forwards in the draft. Exhibiting all the usual features and structural innovations you’d expect from the Neil Pryde name, the sail looks like it means business.
In marginal winds, the V8 feels light and neutral in the hands at rest, its power subtle and easy rather than forceful or overwhelming. Tall in stature, with a long luff and high centre of effort, the extra boom length and higher geometry provided by the upper clew eyelet certainly helps to infer more useful feedback as a gust hits. The delivery remains crisp and precise, but with a few well-timed pumps the V8 injects energy quickly into the board, supplying instant early planing efficiency that can easily take you by surprise. Acceleration is rapid, the sail settling naturally into a comfortable locked in position. The faster it goes, the lighter and more balanced the V8 feels, accelerating in the hands and cutting an efficient, rewarding path through the air. For foiling it pulls the rider over the board into a more upright stance, thanks to the higher pull position, slipping through lulls as if immune and pointing at impressive angles upwind.
Applying more downhaul and opting for the lower clew eyelet as the wind increases, the V8 continues to impress, its tuning range allowing it to retain its manners and performance edge. In transition, the cams rotate without sticking or hesitating, actively snapping into place on the new tack. They aren’t the softest here, so be prepared to counter there firmness, but embrace it and the force can be used to punch positively out of the corners. For normal windsurfing, the V8 delivers the crispness and excitement of a thoroughbred race sail, combined with the handling and range of a freeride exemplar. In foiling terms, it is clear to see why the Pryde team use the V8 when developing their foiling products. Its efficiency and range count for a lot, meaning you can tackle varying conditions with just one sail, from the most marginal winds, to full-powered flying.
Other sails in this test: