Progressive performer – Loftsails Oxygen 7.3m HD 2018 sail test

Pics: James Jagger

Having used a number of Monty Spindler’s windsurf sail designs there’s a glaringly obvious trait running through all. Every design has two faces – the Oxygen 7.3m being no different. Once sheathed to its ideal mast the minimum setting displays an impressively bellied out main section that’s shaped for pure power and low end planing. Whack the downhaul and outhaul on and suddenly you end up with a much more trimmed looking high wind performer. But looks are only skin deep. How would it perform on the water?

In marginal conditions Loft’s Oxygen 7.3m does indeed provide an immense amount of down low grunt that’ll have riders up and planing in the bare minimum of breeze. Feeling quite freeride orientated in this setting it’s a very drivey sail that pulls riders along all manner of windsurfing lines and through transitions – although not in unmanageable fashion. As much as there’s plenty of boost it’s also comfortable.

With wind strengths increasing riders will need to tune accordingly. The upper limits of the Oxygen 7.3m are impressive. We had it out when other riders were blasting back and forth on much smaller rigs. Yet the Oxygen maintained its manners and simply converted gusts into efficient forward momentum. As such we could easily see the 7.3m being utilised in a race environment, even without cams.

Through transitions and the sail’s pull is whippy. It begs sailors to commit fully and aim for those planing exits, which are achievable with power on tap allowing boards to knife through even the choppiest of conditions.

As is such here at WSUK Towers we used the Oxygen 7.3m in foiling mode. (Whilst on test it was also up again the brand’s Skyscape 7m – stay tuned for that report in next issue). With barely any breeze puffing the Oxygen 7.3m is an efficient boost of turbo power to pop foils on the fly and keep them blasting through lulls. A great sail to partner with a high aspect foil for some fun back and forth hovering.

Conclusion

Very much a sail of two faces Loft’s Oxygen 7.3m is an efficient early planing machine, that’ll surprise just how quickly up to speed it can be. In contrast the sail’s top end is very akin to that of slalom engines with it coping well when erratic gusts and blowier conditions appear. Partner with a freeride, freerace, slalom or foil sled for versatile and fun windsurfing shenanigans.

Price: £549 (buy from https://4boards.co.uk/product/windsurf/windsurf-sails/loftsails-oxygen-hd-blue-2018/)

Info: https://www.loftsails.com/windsurf-gear/sails/oxygen

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