Pics: Nick Kingston
We loved the Neil Pryde Ryde 7.5m when we tested it a few seasons back. We were therefore looking forward to getting our mitts on the brand’s 2019 7.2m X:Ryde version.
Having unfurled the X:Ryde there’s no denying its quality, even though NP themselves say that some of the materials you’ll find in their CORE series of sails has been left out of this design. You wouldn’t know it! There’s still plenty of Neil Pryde premium going into the 7.2m despite it being a more affordable product.
We rigged the 7.2m on both a 430 and 460 as per manufacturing spec. It was on a 460 we felt there was the best early planing performance and most locked in feel. It was the same when we tested the X:Ryde in foil mode as well. If a bump materialised we’d simply swap to a 430 and iron out the choppy wrinkles.
Power is certainly on tap, particularly the 7.2m’s bottom end which is seriously grunty. Yet it’s not a sail that easily overpowers. Instead the sail’s design absorbs strong gusts and simply transfers all that power to forwards momentum. It may not be a slalom sail but it certainly holds its own in the speed department. And back in foil mode that bottom end oomph is what allowed us to fly in 6-8 knots, all the time the X:Ryde displaying good manners.
Gybing is efficient and as long as sailors concentrate there’s no question about planing exits. The key is to not back off instead keep your pedal to the mettle and claim it. NP’s Dynamic Compact Clew feature really shows its face during overpowered transitions as the X:Ryde keeps its shape and doesn’t warp thereby allowing proper turns without loss of forwards glide.
And it’s not bad in the air if riders fancy a bit of boost time. OK, we appreciate not everyone is going to want to jump a sail this size. But if you do then take comfort the X:Ryde can handle it no problem.
A proper power house of sail, yet one that retains impeccable manners, if you’re after a suitable turbo charged freeride sail then Neil Pryde’s X:Ryde 7.2m could fit the bill. Versatile enough for straddling multiple windsurfing environments – from swell/bumps to flat water – it’s also great for ultra light wind foiling where you need a decent engine to take flight. Robust and premium in quality the X:Ryde 7.2m is a worthy contender for any sailor’s kit box.