A right pair! – Witchcraft Karma 5.6m/Slayer 5.5m windsurf sail comparison test

Pics: James Jagger, Nick Kingston

Having used most sizes of Witchcraft’s five batten Karma sail range we were intrigued by the brand’s 5.5m four batten power house Slayer. Putting one of the only Karma’s we haven’t tested (the 5.6m) next to the Slayer also makes sense in terms of comparing. With this size bracket being a go to for a good many sailors it’d be interesting to see how they both match up.

First off is the build quality of both. We’re pretty aux fait with the Karma range but the Slayer is also bomb proof. Both have to be when you consider the rigours of windsurfing along that sharp, rocky coastline of Fuerteventura where much of Witchcraft’s R&D is carried out.

Extensive reinforcements cover both sails – there’s no question both the Karma and Slayer sails will take a serious beating before they fail. And that’s whether they do at all. We know for a fact WC’s head honcho, Bouke Becker, demands the highest performance from any product he puts his name to so we’d suggest you wouldn’t see either sail let you down. They haven’t done us…

We’ve said in past reviews of Karma sails we prefer a fuller set to eek the most amount of power from. It’s the same with the 5.6. Of course, you can yank on downhaul and outhaul tension to accommodate fluctuating wind strengths but such is the balance and poise of the Karma range we never feel the need to. And there’s enough oomph with the 5.6m to make dropping a sail size smaller quicker all the more possible.

With WC’s Slayer 5.5m you get a slightly more compact shape. Four battens are traditionally more grunty but that bottom end doesn’t always translate to efficient propulsion and balance. Once afloat you can feel the additional power of the Slayer. It’s more like a snarling tiger than a sleeping lion (such is the Karma). It does have a softer profile with less tension but stability, and top end, is therefore reduced. It just depends how much wave riding or general sailing are priorities.

So dropping a sail size with the five batten is doable. The Slayer, meanwhile, allows another half metre (possibly a full two sizes) drop. This is good news for anyone looking to use less sail more often. We found that whilst the Karma will plane early in marginal conditions the Slayer does so slightly quicker. And once up to speed both sails offer composed performance. The Karma is slightly smoother whereas the Slayer is great for keeping the accelerator depressed.

Conclusion

We love both the Karma 5.6m and Slayer 5.5m. As much as they deliver distinctive feels you can also tell they’re from the same stable. Bombproof construction with super early planing performance – the Slayer being a tad sooner – they’re decent wave sails that’ll cope with varied surf environments. But it doesn’t stop there. As much as Witchcraft have wave pedigree these two siblings work well in bump and jump conditions and have found favour with us for windfoiling. More than meets the eye then!

Prices:

Karma 5.6: 752 Euro

Slayer 5.5: 772 Euro

Info:

https://witchcraft.nu/sails/karma/

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