NEILPRYDE FUSION 6.0M 2016 TEST REVIEW
Used on an RDM mast, the Fusion sets with plenty of looseness to its leech even on its minimum setting, displaying shape low down in the foil and a reasonable amount of skin tension, the two bottom battens sitting flush with the mast’s leading edge. There is a moderate amount of tuning range in the downhaul, coupled with masses of play in the outhaul – in severe winds we outhauled the sail 3.0 cms beyond its stated maximum.
“Fusion is a sail I really enjoy riding as it does everything well. There is plenty of profile shaping on the battens to get lots of power and good speed essential for jumping in on-shore, choppy conditions. Outline is inspired by five batten wave sails, making the Fusion really fun to play with in small waves.” Neil Pryde designer
With a boom length significantly larger than any other sail in the group, it is not surprising that the Fusion generates masses of obvious bottom end grunt. On minimum setting it is as if you’ve gained half a square metre of sail, its deep profile generating solid power that can be used to great effect, getting going quicker than most.The centre of effort is low and back, focussed around the rider, making the power obvious and useable in both hands. Whilst happy to be used cruising at half speed in marginal winds, the Fusion seemed to settle easily into a more locked in stance as the wind increased, the large foot area and low aspect of the sail helping to pin the board down and drive to a good top speed. More blasting than manoeuvre-oriented, in lulls the Fusion continues to pull when others lose impetus – it is almost as if you’re cheating! It is when the wind continued to increase, however, that the Fusion became interesting. On its minimal setting it soon began to protest, with too much movement in the draft for the sail to remain comfortable. Returning to shore, we ploughed some extra tension into the sail, extending beyond the suggested increments. The result is the Fusion actually sits quite flat at rest, whilst the leech falls away right down to the clew; but how this translates to performance on the water left us captivated! The Fusion’s stability returns and it regains its mojo for some exciting high-end blasting fun, reminding us of the brand’s fantastic freeride sail, the Ryde. Our suspicion is that the Fusion is quite mast specific, and requires a good mast such as the one we’re using here to really make the most of its massive range. But play with its settings and you wont be disappointed.
More for blasting than manoeuvres, the Fusion has a simply stunning, tuneable wind range, providing constant dependable power and easy forgiving handling. Just be prepared to tinker with its tuning to make the most of its potential.
Other sails in this test: