Words: Tez Plavenieks
Pics: Tez Plavenieks, Oli Lane-Peirce
Designed by the highly regarded Teiva Sails of France I’ve spent a considerable amount of time with the new Nautix Windsurfing Freeride 5.2m. A four batten, multi use windsurf sail this is a step up in terms of performance for long time brand Nautix.
Being designed by Teiva Sails (who also produce shapes for other well known brands) it’s a sail that’s modern, well constructed and looks tip top. Easy to rig, forgiving of dodgy rigging it sets easily on the beach and works fine straight off the bat. For those prepared to spend time tweaking, however, you’ll find what works best for you. For me, I prefer the Nautix 5.2m with a moderate amount of downhaul and a degree of positive outhaul. This ensures enough power to plane (or foil) but ensures light and easy handling.
As any seasoned windsurfer will know (generally) traditionally four batten sails have loads of low end grunt. The more compact nature of four batten sails also means bigger sizes don’t always feel the best, often being sluggish and back hand heavy with lots of drag. Nautix’s 5.2m certainly has the grunt but also incorporates the nicer handling of a higher aspect windsurf sail. The best of both worlds in this size. So hats off to the shaper for making it so.
Heading onto the water I windfoiled the first few sessions in around 12 knots. Knowing the performance of my go to sails in such light breeze I was a tad nervous how the Nautix sail would work. Not all windsurf sails allow efficient and easy take offs in light breeze. Fortunately, Nautix’s 5.2m is pumpable and reactive. Spot the gust, put the hammer down and it’s up and away no trouble…
In flight the 5.2m feels like there’s nothing there (in the best way). Yet when you need it – such as through moves – there’s a dependable pull to drag rider’s round to the exit or completion. For experienced foilers this light handling allows all manner of carving and sail flicking manouevrability. Foiling double duck gybes or 360s, for instance, are super easy to achieve.
With the wind ramping up it was time to throw the Nautix 5.2m at some proper breeze. With gusts up to 25 knots a tweak to the rigging ensures a comfortable session. Surging forwards on a gust the Nautix Freeride 5.2m unsticks boards quickly and efficiently. It remains balanced in the hands and doesn’t bend rider’s out of shape – even when rattling over nasty chop. Blasting is pretty comfortable but the 5.2m really shines when chucking in a few tricks.
It’s not a freestyle or wave sail but certainly copes well with carving moves (downwind 360s), more modern (ish) showboating (vulcans/spocks) and airborne throw downs like forward loops. And for those who like a bottom turn the sail switches as neutral as most will like, but still with power back on when you need to fang along the rest of your wave. And all done with a distinct and attractive aesthetic – you’ll certainly get questions about the Nautix Windsurfing Freeride 5.2m if choosing to sail one.
Nautix’s Freeride 5.2m is a lovely windsurfing sail to use. Looking great, being well built the brand have nailed their brief by delivering an ‘engine’ that’s truly all round. Yet by that, I don’t mean a nothing type sail. Instead, you get a versatile ‘machine’ that straddles disciplines and is as performance orientated as any other windsurf sail of type on the market. For windfoiling the 5.2m’s a featherweight, early flying propulsion system that loves a bit of whirling and twirling at height. In windsurf mode riders are free to switch between flat water free move (freestyle wave) and bump and jump riding at will with the Nautix Windsurfing Freeride 5.2m. Also, for me, it’s nice to sail something different and unique.