FREERIDE SAILS? What does freeride mean?

We have often discussed the differences between Slalom sails. How about freeride sails?

Freeride sails are sails which are not taken into competition, and free riding is what most windsurfers do. It’s not about being a beginner but going for the pleasure of pure free windsurfing.

The real feeling of hearing the water hitting against the board in smooth way, in total control and in fast easy feeling. Inserting some quick chop hop, fast planning basic manoeuvres as jibing, duck-jibing and for those who like a bit of competition, also a little blast to overtake the friend.

The real holiday feel windsurfing can give, that you almost forget when you are a tester, a pro windsurfer in the dedicated disciplines as wave, freestyle or slalom. When our team test the freeride gear, they come back to the beach almost happier than when they win a competition. They have big smiles, and say, ‘this was fun!’ It’s relaxing and taking our all the stress you might accumulate in a working week!

The word?

Freeride is very general as a word in our sport. As said before it means, mainly to cruise. You can although decide to cruise super-fast, cruise along the chop or cruise around the waves, or play with basic manoeuvres.

When we look at the sail range, we often see lots of new words to describe the freeride world in windsurfing. Starting from the very basic freeride, then free-move, free-wave, free-slalom, crossover, ‘bump and jump’.

What are the difference between these words? What exactly do they mean? In our sail range you can find different types of freeride sails to fit the fun of everyone. You can decide to free-slalom in light wind, you can decide to ‘bump and jump’ in medium wind, or free-wave in stronger wind, or do one of those in all type of winds.

In our range we have the Spy which is a free-wave sail. It’s generally a wave sail with the extra power and stability. They are mainly designed with a 5-batten set up.  These sails are also a best choice if our wave level is not very high, (wave level very high, means not doing 360° or new school moves on the lip of a big wave). The Spy is loved also from heavy sailors, or if we use a wave sail for strong wind cruising and going for big fast long jumps, this is still the one. The classical bump and jump sail. These sails can be used on smaller free ride board as well. In our case, the Spy is given to be one of the fastest wave sails on the market, with the purpose to hit hard any ramp and go high. It’s mainly a freeride sail, with blended bit of slalom influence for having the extra speed, with the outline and batten displacement as wave sail.

A freeride sail, often, along its range, can change its character according to the size. Take for example our AC-F. The 3 smaller sizes have a 5-batten set up and a wave outline and can be more called as Free-Move. As these are freeride sails, they have more power than wave sails, and they can plane in very light wind and even push a bigger volume board. This is due to different batten set up and longer booms. It’s great for cruising fully in a comfortable situation and at a same time, if you find a wave, it will welcome you to the experience. The 2 bigger sizes are having a more slalom outline with 6-batten set up, and they are more under the name of Free-Slalom. Made to fully close the gap but keeping the real freeride fast experience. Therefore, our AC-F is called crossover, more than simply freeride.

Free-Slalom before, has now taken a new name due to their higher performance. Mainly called nowadays, Slalom no Cams, like our AC-X! These are free ride sail with an extra batten, and a more slalom outline. If you want to get that extra speed to challenge anyone, without having the hassle of having a too technical slalom sail. The profile and mast sleeve curve allow to have a very friendly use while sailing. The sail has a lot of power, and you do not need a bigger sail size to get planning as a real slalom sail requires, but you will still require a little more wind against a pure free-slalom or crossover sail explained before. These are a good on slalom, free slalom and free ride boards.

These 3 types of sails mentioned till now, can have the same size and be used on the same boards. It can be still a hard choice to choose between them, but not if you considered this:

Free-wave VS Free-move: Free-wave has a shorter boom, and therefore fits better on a smaller board. This allows to have more control in stronger wind and be more radical. They are normally also more reinforced. The free-move has a longer boom, to push bigger boards. If you have the same size from both sails, the Free-move will have more power to get planning, and due to the batten displacement, it will gain in a light fast feeling against the more hardcore Free-wave, but will be slower for quick moves, bulkier for riding waves.

Free-Slalom VS Slalom No cam. It’s mainly about wind range and speed. If you use the Free-slalom in the same size of a No cam, it will plane a little easier in the same wind, but it will feel more comfortable when the wind is not so powerful inside, while a no cam will be still seeking for the extra gust to express it’s potential.  It will be more automatic and a more forgiving feeling against a pure no cam slalom sail. As the wind increases, a free-slalom will get not get to the same max speed as the No cam and will be needed to go to a smaller size also earlier.


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