NORTH IDOL 5.3M 2014 TEST REVIEW
Those wanting to get up-to-speed rapidly or in gusty locations. Could be a useful sail for float and ride situations in faster, more powerful breaks.
When the wind’s up, tuning by outhaul becomes more important to avoid excessive leech flutter.
“The new IDOL is the ultimate competition freestyle sail that, because of its origin, even works remarkably well even in waves.”
Outline: 4-batten outline looks quite squat but actually has the longest luff in the group. Straight-cut foot and low clew position. Quite straight luff.
Build Quality: Things we noticed included: Fixed plug in head. Silicon head protector. 4-piece luff sleeve. Mainly printed film in upper section, x-ply in foot. Large film window. Double seams. 2 x flat plastic mini battens. Small silicon anti-rub bumpers standing proud on leech. Flush lightweight batten adjusters with load-spreaders. Mark cloth trim on head and leech. Extra internal film in head. 4-part sleeve with internal seam protection tape. Battens above boom on port, below boom on starboard. Individual sail serial number in logo. Moulded luff sleever. Rudimentary cringle with multi-layer protection. Silicon foot bumper and silicon seam protection on foot seams. Tall silver EVA-moulded tack fairing with handle, uphaul hole, stash pocket, metal 90-deg pulley with ‘guard’ to prevent slippage. Visual trim and boom height markings.
Normally we’re extolling the virtues of North Sails’ high-end ability, but with the Idol it’s all about the low-end. Looking at the numbers this is interesting as the outline has both the lengthiest luff and one of the longest boom lengths in the group as well, being quite tall with a medium aspect ratio but having the sensation of a much lower aspect ratio sail. This 5.3 is nice and light as well as torquey – feeling like it’s itching to accelerate up-to-speed as fast as possible in the lighter air. Sailing around you’d expect a freestyley sail to be quite soft and elasticy, but the Idol’s actually got quite a stiff behaviour, as in it’s pretty solid, with the film keeping good shape and structure. Transitions-wise it’s particularly light and manoeuvrable and nice and easy to chuck about. The wind range is pretty good, with only heavier testers finding some limit to the tuning band. In the turning department there’s some subtle backhand feedback element, with it going to a pretty neutral feel after some light initial pressure. Overall we’d say the Idol’s more of a ‘front-foot sail’, preferring more draw-out turns rather than instantly being an onshore, snappier turn specialist. That said we didn’t take long to adapt a little and, particularly on some of the more ‘tear drop’ board shapes, found it easier to cut some nicer backfoot angles.
A strong choice for winding-up power to catch waves or get going early, the Idol is light and flicky and fairly neutral-feeling for turning in the surf.
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