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.

Range

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.Ezzy sizes

Graphics

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.ezzy wave panther colors 2014

Improvements

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:ezzy-mast

  • 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.Ezzy Quatro

  • 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.

two-ezzy-sails

  • 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.

Summary

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!ezzy-sails-2013-2014

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.

Aloha,
Peter.

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22 Comments to "REVIEW: EZZY ELITE (2014)"

  1. Massimo Manarin says:

    good morning
    I apologize for my English,
    currently use a Panther 2011
    I play mostly classic maneuvers but I want
    to try the freestyle, I would love to buy a
    Elite 2014, but it seems that for freestyle
    the Ezzy Panter 2011 be better.
    What do you think, and what do you recommend
    Best Regards
    Massimo

    • Peter says:

      Hi Massimo,

      I’m not a freestyler myself but I would prefer to have a sail with less battens when doing freestyle manoeuvres. It makes the sail more manoeuvrable. Also, the Elite has great range and you can go for a smaller size (which freestylers prefer).

      Ezzy sails have been designed with wave sailing in mind, but there are some guys around who can do some great freestyle stuff with them. Tune them a little flatter and you’ll be fine.

      I hope this helps.

      Kind regards,
      Peter.

  2. Dan says:

    I mostly sail open beach on-shore slop with alot of long shore current. Often light wind 18-20kts.
    Which Ezzy sail is best suited for this

    • Peter says:

      Hi Dan,

      I assume wave riding is less of a requirement. You need some more power to get out there, fight the current and hit the ‘slop’ as hard as you can. I would suggest the Tiger.

      Kind regards,
      Peter.

  3. Ivan says:

    Hello, I’m from Italy, I love 4 batten sails and probably I’ll get a new set of 2014 Elite within the next month, in the sizes of 4.2 4.7 5.2.
    You tell that Elite top end speed isn’t as good as in WP, so do you think it’s a good sail also for jumping?
    best regards

    • Peter says:

      Hi Ivan,

      It’s an excellent sail for jumping. Lots of control in the air. The Elite has plenty of speed. When you want to hit the lip hard, just make sure you go downwing a little when you go towards the wave. The sail isn’t slow but is no racing sail either. The WP is marginaly faster in a straight line, but that won’t keep you from flying high with the Elite. I know I do. ;)

      Kind regards,
      Peter.

  4. Wolfram says:

    hiho,

    Peter, you sailed the Elite 6.1, did you use the Ezzy Hookipa mast or any other. I own a 430 HSM Hotrod, think, maybe that one would fit, but i am around 90 Kg, so not sure about if the s6.1 might feel too soft?

    Any advises?

    Kind regards
    Wolfram

    • Peter says:

      Hi Wolfram,

      I use the Ezzy Hookipa mast. The hotrod has roughly the same bend curve as the Ezzy masts, so I would assume performance will be similar. It shouldn’t make the sail too soft. Have you sailed other Elite sizes or will this be your first Elite?

      Kind regards,
      Peter.

      • Wolfram says:

        Hi Peter,

        its my first Elite, i am sailing the last past 8 years with Hot Sails, so i am thinking about to switch my sail quiver to 5.3 and 4.7 as Elites too.

        cheers
        Wolfram

        • Peter says:

          Hi Wolfram,

          I just wanted to make sure you haven’t been using full power wave sails because you might find the Ezzy a bit soft in comparison. You should be accustomed to Ezzy quickly coming from Hot Sails. Keep in mind the 6.1 is a big size for a wave sail, but it feels a lot smaller. I personally love my 5.3 and 4.7. The gap between 6.1 and 5.3 isn’t big in my opinion.

          Happy sailing,
          Peter.

          • Wolfram says:

            Hi Peter,

            do you think a step down from 6.1 to 5.0 is possible? Seems a bit huge in my opinion?!?!

            cheers
            Wolfram

  5. Peter says:

    I think that may indeed be a bit much. Ezzy sails have huge wind range but that may be stretching it a bit. ;)

  6. Jens says:

    Hi Peter
    Nice review. Now that you have had some time with the 6.1 I’m wondering how it compares to the 5.7. This is my light wind option with the Goya 118. I really like its light feel in the waves and so find myself hardly ever using my 6.5 2007 SE. I’m hoping that the Elite 6.1 doesn’t lose that lightness in supplying its extra power.
    Cheers Jens

    • Peter says:

      I think the 6.1 is as light as a 6.1 can get without sacrificing build quality etc. It’s difficult to explain but you have to remember that in general a 6.1 is a big sail for wave sailing so it will never feel like a 4.7 (for example). David Ezzy was reluctant to release the 6.1 at first because he wasn’t happy about the feel of the sail as he wanted it to feel like a real wave sail. He spend another year perfecting it before he was satisfied. I personally feel this is the best 6+ wave sail in terms of handling, lightness and performance. You won’t be disappointed. I would suggest you try and get one first to test it so that you’re sure. You probably don’t want to give it back after that. ;)

  7. Mike says:

    Hi Peter,
    I am getting a 5.7 Elite next week. Thing is, my wave area only average winds of 8 to 10 MPH, sometime 15mph and averaging 3 to 6ft waves and the other spot i can ride gets 10 to 25mph and sometime 30mph but all flat and no waves. I also have a used Naish Chopper L coming. Do you think those two sails will do? or what size sail would you think i need with my weight of 120lbs/53 kilos and a 102 liter 2014 RRD Fire wave (tri fin)

    • Peter says:

      Hi Mike,

      I had to do a little math to convert from mph to knots/bft. ;)

      8 to 10 mph converts to 3 bft which is very little wind. Even 15 mph is only 4 bft. Since you’re only 53kg you could probably float out (maybe even plane) and catch waves. I do need some more information first. What age are you? I’m asking because I’m curious to know whether you will gain weight in the future.

      Kind regards,
      Peter.

  8. Mike says:

    hi Peter,
    Thanks for your feedback. No hope on getting more pounds lol, i am 51 years old. best hope could be an additional one or two kilos. However i have always been a very competitive athlete in all disciplines i practice, all gliding sports may it be on blades, rollors or on the water. So my only concerne is the right gear for the windurfing venture and i’ll let my skills take care of the rest.
    Cheer

    • Peter says:

      Hi Mike,

      I have to be honest. I’m more than double your weight so it’s a bit hard for me to give you any advice based on my own experience. I have a number of friends who are light (although maybe not as light as you) and they usually have the following gear:

      Sails: Most stay below 5.0 as their biggest wave sail or slighter over, so 5,3 (MAX). The bigger sails become more difficult to handle and add little value as these guys need very little wind to get going. When I’m on my 6.1 they are usually already a square meter lower in sail size and get going faster than me (very frustrating for me :).

      Boards: They usually have only one small wave board below 75l as that already has enough buoyancy to support their weight. Some will have a board around 85l as their Wave XL board. Which works the same as me on my 110l quad. If you only use one board it’s usually best to go about 10l above your body weight. So around 60-65l in your case (which will be hard to find).

      To answer your question; you will now be using a 5.7 and 4.7 sail (I think that’s what the Chopper is). The sails will do, but they might very quickly feel big to you. On windier days you might find yourself quickly looking for a smaller sail especially as the Chopper provides quite a bit of pull. The board will do as well. If in doubt always go for volume over sails size. You see the same in places like Maui where the sailors will opt for a bigger board and still use a small sail in light conditions. Also go for longer harness lines as that will position your sail in a more upright position and provide more power.

      You may find the board a bit big after a while as it has a lot of volume for you to move around which is harder if your lighter (even for me this is already a big wave board).This doesn’t mean you should switch you windsurf gear right away. I suggest you go sailing as much as possible and get familiar with the conditions and your gear. Once you feel you’re getting everything out of your gear that you can, you can always start to look for some gear that is a bit closer to what I described above.

      Hope this helps (at least a little bit).

      Kind regards,
      Peter.

  9. Mike says:

    Thanks a lot for your feedback peter. Sorry for the late reply. I will be sure to keep you updated on my progress.
    cheers

  10. Ivan_ says:

    Hi Peter. Really interested in 6.1 Elite. I’m 95 kg and looking for biggest sail for my RRD Firewave 102. My biggest sail now is an old 6.2 Gun Sails Pearl from 2006 which is falling apart. I sail small (up to 1.5 meter) side on waves and sometimes bump and jump during summer.

    What is minimum wind speed for your Elite 6.1 and LS 110?

    Thanks,
    Ivan

    • Peter says:

      Hi Ivan,

      I’m 100kg+ and need a solid force 5 to get going. Lighter guys will probably get going with a little less. You can trim the sail with limited down- and outhaul to squeeze out that extra bit of forward momentum, but I prefer to stick to the normal trim as the 6.1 will feel a bit bulky otherwise. I guess you should think of your Gun sails and take off two or three knots.

      Hope this helps.
      Peter.

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