RRD EVOLUTION 6.4M 2015 TEST REVIEW
This is the seventh generation of the Evolution freeride series, which has been in the RRD range since they started making sails. For 2015, the 6.4m emulates the two larger sizes in the line-up, with a 6-batten configuration and incorporating tube-rod battens to improve top end stability. It has a boxy outline, being the shortest yet widest on test here, despite the inset clew eyelet. Rigged on an RDM mast, it has an excellent tuning range, from its minimum setting with good rotation in the bottom three battens and moderate looseness in the leech, to full tension which sees the leech loose all the way down to the clew and profile still present but becoming much shallower.
“A performance freeride sail that mixes superb handling, great acceleration and massive top end. A sail line that evolves through the sizes, from a great handling 4.4 to a powerful and stable 8.0.”
Taking the Evolution out in marginal winds, it feels balanced and comfortable in the hands, poised ready for a gust to arrive. There is quite a bit of play in the luff tube, enabling it to adopt a deeper, more powerful profile as the wind arrives; the long boom making the energy very useable and easy to transfer to the board. The centre of effort is low and forward in the sail, which coupled with its low cut foot, encourages the rider into quite a locked in and committed stance. The style of feedback is very soft and easy, coping with gusts excellently as it pins the board down and accelerates further, although it does tend to lag a bit in prolonged lulls, the draft deferring to a more shallow profile as the battens push back round the mast. Instead, the Evolution really comes into its own as the wind increases and it’s partnered with an efficient board. Charging around the most confused sea states, it pushes more and more power into the board, whilst retaining its dampened almost shock-absorbing character so as not to pull the rider’s stance out of shape. In these conditions, it was a real delight to use, and was particularly quick and exciting to use off the wind, translating every gust that hit into seemingly more speed. In transition, the Evolution is not the fastest to rotate due to its low cut and long boom, but it does so very smoothly, going neutral and allowing the rider to reposition themselves before turning the power back on progressively.
The Evolution offers smooth, progressive power over a wide wind range, encouraging a more locked in stance. It really comes into its own when partnered with a fast efficient board, where it is electric off the wind and exhibits its true thoroughbred blasting abilities.
Other sails in this test: