RRD EVOLUTION 6.3M 2016 TEST REVIEW
Piping hot off the production line, the MKVIII Evolution tested here is so new to the RRD sail line-up that, at the time of writing, it’s not even mentioned on their website! With refinements outlined below by RRD’s head sail-designer – our own John Skye – the Evolution remains in the RRD fold as their easy handling performance freeride sail. The two smaller sizes in the range opt for a 5-batten layout, moving up to 6 battens from this 6.3m, and like the Vogue and Move tested earlier in the season, the Evolution sees a reduction in the length of its head batten to reduce swing weight in the top of the sail. At just 450cm in height yet 197cm in boom length, it is the shortest yet widest on test here, providing a distinctly low aspect ratio outline. Ideally used on an RDM mast, it sets quite neutral at idle, with a moderately loose upper leech yet very loose mid-leech, the two main battens protruding beyond the leading edge of the mast.
“The Mk8 sees an additional sail in the line up. Offering more in the key 6.0-7.5m size range, we now feature 6.3, 6.8 and 7.3, giving more options to everyone. Learning from our Firewing development program we modified the lower leech tension, increasing the bottom end power and locking this power low down in the sail. We then added negative leech curve to the outline to improve the control and by doing so increase the overall range of the sail.”
Light and compact in the hands, the Evolution feels very manageable from the off, the movement in the luff tube enabling the profile to expand to a more powerful shape as a gust hits. The centre of effort is very low in the draft, encouraging the rider into quite a secure, locked in stance, the longer boom resulting in positive feedback even in marginal winds, making it easy to transfer the energy to the board.Used on a large freeride board in light winds, it could be used to pump and punch them clear of the water, feeling firm and responsive through the tension in the leading edge, and delivering useable power through the backhand.
Yet as with the MKVII Evolution we tested last year our attention for the sail really began to ramp up when we partnered it with a high-end board and took it out in stronger winds. It is then that the Evolution lights up, remaining positive and balanced in the hands, and accelerating with every gust more akin to a no-cam freerace sail. In extreme winds, the Evolution just seems to keep going with impunity, the new leech twist seeming to force the centre of effort further forward in a gust and help to pin the board down. As with its predecessor, the longer boom and low drive do seem to make the sail rotate slower in transition, yet its light handling remains … and it’s a small price to pay for the sail’s electric top end capabilities.
Balanced and light in the hands, the low forward drive of the Evolution is both obvious and manageable across a wide wind range, giving it masses of user appeal. A real favourite amongst the team for high wind blasting, it comes well recommended.
Other sails in this test: