Ahh the Naish Choppers are my new favorite sails! Hands down! Here’s why: First I loved the concept for a wave sail. For a complete quiver all you need is 4 sails, one 370 mast, and one boom. That’s it! Plus the choppers are a Super light 4 batten, short luff, maneuverable wave sail. Sounds great right? Almost too good to be true? Well I bought into it (literally! Stupid expensive sport), but I am so glad I did since they work exactly as advertised!
First, let’s start off with the sizes since everybody is freaks out about that. Small, Medium, Large, and Extra Large. Yup no numbers any more. I love it! It’s so easy. When the small is too little you go up to the medium. When Extra Large is too much you go down to the Large. Soo simple but people on the beach can’t handle it. They are adamant they want to know the number size. It soo funny! I am pissing people off like crazy. I just say “small dude” or “I am on a large” then they say “WTF”. Hehe. Fun stuff. After sailing these things for awhile, now I know why Naish went this way for the sizing. These sails are crazy powerful and efficient for their size. Let’s say the medium is actually a 4.2. I have been out on that sail when everybody else has been out on 5.3 to 5.7 and I am perfectly powered up on the 4.2/medium. So is a 4.2 really a 4.2 anymore with these sails? Nope! That’s why they changed the size scale! The choppers don’t apply to the traditional sizing.
Now how do choppers sail? Well on a “wave”- Freaken Amazing! In the “Air” -Freaken Amazing! Everything else, average at best but they are really only designed for hardcore side/side off wave riding and you have to keep that in mind. On a wave the power is very constant, even on the top of the lip with crazy gusty winds. I always felt in control. The maneuverability of these things is so sweet you can throw them wherever you want with ease. Now, when jumping, Naish should put a big “Warning” sticker on these sails. My first few back and push loops, I about killed myself because they rotate so fast! Once you get used to it, they are so controllable in the air I feel like I am flying a plane.
When just blasting back and forth they are a very “slow” sail. Not going to win any races, probably cause of the tight leach. The draft moves around quite a bit (moreso on the bigger sizes). A 400 mast on the XL size probably would help with that, though haven’t tried that yet. The choppers I find are a very tweaky sail. I always found myself tuning it to the conditions, and even more so on the bigger sizes (Maybe because my 200lb “butt” is a bit overweight for this design?) but I can get the perfect set-up by doing so. For instance on the Medium, the wind picked up and I had way too much power, so I gave it just 2cm more of outhaul and presto, it was perfect! It felt like I came in and rigged a 1/2 square meter less sail. Pretty neat. Knowing how to tune sails is a must and can be challenging.
To sum up these sails’ performance: For me, in the waves for side/side off wind it’s perfect, especially when paired up to today’s newer short, compact wave boards. However, there are very few people I know that I could recommend this sail to. I think the size “Small” is a size everybody could use in all conditions. That size seemed the best for just hopping-on-and- going and at eating up every gust like butter. As for the rest, you really need to be a hardcore wave sailor and sailing in good wave conditions all the time to get the most out of these sails. Happy Chopping!