VANDAL RIOT 4.7M 2016 TEST REVIEW
The Riot was one of the benchmark sails of the 4-batten wave sail movement back in 2010 and remains in the Vandal line-up as their ‘best handling performance wave / freestyle sail’. Unaltered in this size for 2016, save for a few graphic refinements, it is recommended for use with a 370cm mast, yet comes with an adjustable head cap, Vandal keen to point out that all the Riot sizes (from 3.3 to 5.8) can be used on a 400cm mast. When rigged, this 4.7m has minimal rotation in the bottom two battens, setting flat above the boom and only a subtle amount of shape below. There is some stretch in the sleeve and Dacron luff panel to help deepen the profile as the wind fills, yet the elastic limit is reached sooner than most in this group, keeping the draft quite shallow.
“All wave sailors out there want that lightweight feel in their hands whilst receiving constant power throughout their turns, and all freestylers want that power instantly to pop into their moves. For 2016 we knew there was no need for an overhaul to an already test winning proven sail.”
Although possessing very similar dimensions to the GA Sails IQ in this test, and effectively coming from the same loft, the Riot sets and performs very differently on the water. Light and balanced in the hands from the off, it soon breathes into life as the wind fills, yet retains a moderate to shallow profile, generating a more modest amount of bottom end power. Easy to handle, the centre of effort is placed relatively high and forward in the draft, encouraging the sailor into an upright stance over the board. The large Dacron luff panel helps to ensure the power delivery is smooth and masks over any hard direct reaction from the board. Yet, at the Dacron’s elastic limit, the x-ply in the second part of the panel comes into play, delivering crisper feedback for use in manoeuvres and transitions. It’s a conventional panel lay-up, yet remains no less effective today as it was when first introduced. As the wind increases, the Riot seems to turn on and come into its element even more. Its stability is not in any doubt, the sail twisting in its upper panels to spill any excess power, whilst its on-off character allows the rider to use or dump the power on demand. As such, the Riot might not represent the cutting edge of sail development in today’s market, but it still performs admirably and at £359.00 represents superb value for money.
With a classic panel layup and stance that is no less relevant today, the Riot is a manoeuvre machine with medium power levels and light easy handling, coming in at an exceedingly competitive price.
Other sails in this test: