NEILPRYDE RYDE 6.5M 2015 TEST REVIEW
Designed for ‘classic flat water freeriding’, the Ryde is new for 2015 and is available in standard monofilm construction as tested here, or in the brand’s ‘Armour Web’ x-ply layup. Rigged on Pryde’s 100% SDM mast, it sets with a relatively shallow profile, the bottom three battens just retaining some rotation around the mast, whilst the leech sees a lot of looseness in the top two panels. It does require a fair bit of downhaul to set the Ryde correctly, and there isn’t a massive tuning range available. (We tried to exact more bottom end power with less tension, but it came at the detriment of the Ryde’s light balanced handling.) But as we were to find out, the natural range of the sail more than makes up for any loss in tuning available.
“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.”
On the water, the Ryde is light and balanced in the hands at idle, the reduced clew and luff length making it feel one of the more compact in the group. Early planing is good if not exceptional, the low and back centre of effort delivering balanced useable power progressively to the board. It has a measured nature to its power– it doesn’t pull the rider to their toes, but rather generates the energy, delivers it to their hands and welcomes the rider to use it. Once on the plane, the stability of the Ryde is very apparent, blessing it with the ability to compliment various riding styles, either upright and cruising or more locking in and driving hard. And it was whilst adopting the latter that we really began to discover the Ryde’s true potential. As the wind increased, the sail kept issuing the power and pushing the board to a faster and faster top speed. It has an impressively efficient character, slipping through the air and pinning the board down – particularly useful when partnered with a modern ‘wide and thin’ style freeride board. Even in the most violent gust, the Ryde’s stability and poise is unaffected, so much so that you begin to feel yourself hunting for the next gust, to see how much faster you can go. And yet, in transition, the lightness in the handling returns, the sail returning to its shallow profile as it is eased out, allowing it to be repositioned effortlessly.
With an impressive range of use on one setting, the Ryde comes alive as the wind increases, leaving you in no doubt of its pedigree. A classy freeride sail, it was a real favourite amongst the team. Recommended.
Other sails in this test: