REVIEW: EZZY ELITE (2014)
Summer has come which means Ezzy releases a new version of their flagship wave sail the Elite. The 2014 Elite sail range has evolved in different areas since the previous version. No major changes but small improvements that make the sail an even bigger joy to sail. I’ve recently received mine and I’m keen to share my take on the 2014 Elite in this post.
Two sizes have been added to the Elite range. The 3.4 has been added for those days when you can’ t go small enough (storm chase anyone?). The 6.1 has been added for those days when conditions are light and you need your XL wave gear to get out. I’ve personally been waiting for the past year for a 6.1 and I’m really happy it’s finally here. I’ll tell you a bit more about it a little further down.
The first thing you notice when you see the Elite are the colors that have been used. The sail is beautiful and the colors make me think of summer even though the skies may be grey and rainy when I’m sailing. Even the clew and seams got colorful. It doesn’t make you sail any better but it will definitely make you happy when the sail comes out of the bag.
How do you improve a sail that’s already great? By looking at the details. David Ezzy made some (small) changes that improve the sail on and of the water. Here are the ones I’m aware of:
- The shape in the back of batten #3 (above boom) has been slightly reduced for better performance and handling.
- The vertical panel at head has been split in two. This helps keep the draft forward in the #2 batten (from top).
- The factory calibration has been improved. This results in a wider wind range. You can clearly see the difference in the images below. Especially the low end will benefit from this. Ezzy is the only brand who rig their sails in the factory and use this calibration system. Ensuring each sail is build to the high Ezzy standards.
- The strap at the base of the sail is now pointy not round (see images below). This may well be my favorite improvement. It’s like Ezzy read my mind. I would often struggle to get the strap through the buckle, especially if there would be a little sand in the buckle. This change has eliminated that problem. It won’t make you sail better, but it will make rigging a little more enjoyable.
- The 2013 Elite was (for the first time) aimed at use with Ezzy masts. Ezzy sails have always been build to work with any mast so they spend time to make sure the new Elite can now be rigged on non-Ezzy masts as easy as on an Ezzy mast. More on that in the next paragraph.
All in all no revolutionary changes, but enough to make a noticeable difference.
Non Ezzy masts
Ezzy has spend extra attention to the sails to make sure that they can be used by other masts beside the Ezzy masts. The sail has three white dots printed between battens #2 and #3 which enable you to get the correct amount of downhaul to set the downhaul to medium. Here’s what you do:
- With no outhaul (so before you put the boom on), you downhaul the sail until the looseness comes to the dots.
- Then you move the gauge so that the medium mark lines up with the bottom of the mast. Most people overlook that the gauge isn’t stitched or glued to the sail but rather attached to the velcro. This means you can tune the sail ahead of time (for example at home), you can move the gauge and you never have to think about tuning the sail again. It just doesn’t get any easier then this!
That’s all! Two steps and your mast and sail are matched perfectly. I’ll be trying this soon myself as I have some masts I want to test. Watch this website for that upcoming review.
Elite 6.1 (new)
Last year there was no 6.0 Elite so I used my Wave Panther LTD 6.0 for another year. Below I will compare the two. I sailed my Quatro Quad LS 110 with the 6.1. This is my XL wave board which turns like a small board and is perfect for this size of sail.
- First impression: As mentioned before, the sail looks great. The calibration gauge makes rigging easier. I found I had to do little tuning afterwards compared to Wave Panther LTD. To be honest I always had to spend some time to get the tuning right on the 6.0 (not on the smaller sizes). No more on the Elite 6.1.
- Conditions: The waves were about waist high. The wind was between powered and really powered. Most others sailors were on 5.3 and later 4.7. I’m one of the heavy guys so I prefer to go a little bigger. I wanted to give the sail a good test so I didn’t switch to a smaller size when the wind got stronger.
- Acceleration: Accelerator is excellent. It’s better then the WP LTD. Each time I quickly got out through the white water and was ready to jump.
- Control: Control is on par with the WP LTD. Excellent even fully powered.This is quite surprising for a four batten sail in this size. The battens make the sail stable and keep the shape in the right place. Missing one batten should have an effect but in my opnion there is none with the Elite.
- Speed: Speed is good. 4-batten sails in general have a little less top end speed compared to 5 batten sails. That is no surprise as the 4-batten sails are designed to be lighter and more manoeuvrable. The Elite has good average speed. If you want to blast at full speed then the WP LTD has slightly better top end speed.
- Range: Great. As mentioned before I was still sailing my 6.1 when others were on 4.7. Ezzy has always had great range on their sails. Just tune the sail a little when the wind drops are picks up and you can keep on using the same sail. There is no major difference here between the WP LTD and the Elite.
- On the wave: To me this is the most important part. How does the sail perform on the wave? The Elite feels a lot smaller on the wave. The sail feels light and is very neutral when wave riding. The WP LTD will keep on pulling you forward and doesn’t feel as light. This is where the Elite really shines. Especially considering you’re using such a big size.
Elite 5.3 vs 5.3
My 5.3 is the size I use the most and I’m really used to how it feels when sailing. There’s no better size for me to compare the 2013 and 2014 sails. I sailed my Quatro Quad LS 84.
- First impression: As with all Ezzy sails, the sail looks great and well build. Ready to charge the waves.
- Conditions: The day started quite flat but with building waves we were sure to have some fun later in the day. There was a good solid wind which kept me powered all the way. The waves eventually got up to shoulder high and were clean enough for some nice waveriding.
- Acceleration: Acceleration of new Elite is slightly better. Not something you will notice when your well powered but when the wind is lighter and you need a gust to get going there is a small difference.
- Control: This hasn’t changed. The sail stays controllable even in strong wind.
- Speed: This also is the same.
- Range: I couldn’t really tell because the wind was strong enough all day long. Top end is the same. The sail improvements mean there is better low end performance. Maybe I’ll find out in a future session.
- On the wave: Control on the wave is slightly better. The sail feels a little more neutral. Not much, but enough to notice.
The Elite is one of the finest wave sails available today. Regardless whether you sails the current 2013 or the new 2014 model. The sail performs and is build to last. You can’t go wrong with either one. The big question is: do you need to go out and get yourself the new Elite? There are a few different answers depending on your situation:
- You already own the Elite 2013 – There is no need to run out and get the 2014 model. The 2013 model is already a great sail. There are some improvements but most sailors won’t even feel the difference unless they sail at a high performance level. Continue to enjoy your 2013 Elite as much as you can (and use the money you save for a windsurf trip).
- You own an older Ezzy sail – See if you can test the new Elite and determine whether a four batten wave sail is something you would like. The sails have been improved over the past few years and you might just like this one a lot.
- Money is no issue – Get yourself an new set of 2014 Elite’s!
- On a budget – See if you can still get your hands on the 2013 Elite (new/demo/used). You’ll love them!
- Looking for a fast sail or more freestyle/wave oriented – Want to blast out through the waves faster then anyone else? Want to jump higher then anyone else? Or you sail a lot on lakes instead of the sea? You might want to take a look at one of the five batten sails Ezzy offers. Give the Legacy or the Tiger a try. They will give you the best ride in those conditions.
- Best wave sail – You just want the best sail for hard core wave riding, jumping and wave conditions? The Elite 2014 is the sail for you!
It’s extremely important to rigg and de-rigg your sail properly. Take some time to watch the video below were David Ezzy gives you detailed instructions for the Elite. It will only make you enjoy your sails more and help them last longer. See you on the water!
Please leave any comments or questions you have below.