NEILPRYDE ATLAS 5.4M 2014 TEST REVIEW
A good pairing for fast-rockered wave boards and FSWs
Set the downhaul with the leech still fairly tight and tune to suit starting from a slight amount of positive outhaul upwards.
“Atlas offers predictable, steady and user-friendly drive, ideal for use in all wind and wave conditions. Early to plane, the Atlas is up and ready for action with efficient, usable power at all times. Featuring great upwind ability and acceleration, it pushes hard when conditions are less than ideal and its high lift characteristics ensure massive jumping performance. Atlas features the revolutionary Forceline Frame construction for dynamic load and shape control and even more durability.”
Due to some shipping and customs holdups beyond anyone’s control, the Atlas missed the beginning of our test trip. That meant our priority was to get it wet as soon as possible and so it missed our more comprehensive overview assessment session.
Outline: In a nutshell, like all Pryde wave sails, the Atlas is quite compact in aspect ratio, with a stepped leech, most of the luff curve up high and quite a narrow head.
Build Quality: The Atlas’ all boast laminated clew and tack panels containing woven Kevlar and polyester yarn that disperse the high loads from these sections and prevent stretch. All these panels are stitch free, which bodes well for long-term durability. Elsewhere Pryde are generous with the dyneema x-ply and all the graphics are printed prior to lamination so should stay pin-sharp for some time to come. There’s a moulded PU and rubber head protector piece, key-less batten tensioners and batten tip protection on each tack, nice flat sewn-in mini battens, and loads of double-stitched seams as well. There’s also all the usual foot protection piping and a nice moulded, padded tack fairing with a stainless 3-block pulley.
OK so the first thing you’ll notice on sheeting in is how super stable and steady the Atlas is. Absolutely everything about this sail is smooth and all the power is refined – there’s heaps of it, but it’s not over pully or tiring and the light level of spring seemed to suit both heavier and lighter testers. In terms of speed it absolutely hoons around and flys upwind – so much so we became guilty of forgetting we were wave sailing and got sucked into jumping and then drag racing out to sea. The pull is nice and central and lifts you into a good upright stance that helps the sensation of complete control. Needless to say, early planing is a pleasure. On the wave face we found it better in longer turns, though a good fit with all the different feeling types of boards on-hand, especially freestyle waves or the faster, flatter hulls. After expecting a handful of a ‘power wave’ sail were all pleasantly surprised at how controllable, manoeuvrable and capable the Atlas was in these tricky onshore conditions.
Perhaps the ultimate smooth operator, the Atlas oozes sophistication and purrs around the break with ease. As you’d expect from NeilPryde, the build is high tech and light with every little attention to detail paying dividends on the water.
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