Ok, Robby Naish I will give you an out, you don’t have to do any more reading if you just bring the chopper back………………………… No! you say? Now you’re going to get it!
For some crazy unknown reason, 4 years ago now, Naish Sails stopped producing the greatest windsurfing sail ever made in the history of windsurfing known as the “Naish chopper”. Rumor had it, that it was the brainchild of Mark Angulo. This wouldn’t surprise me a bit since he seems very open minded and he pretty much invented 80% of what is cool and awesome in windsurfing today (moves,style,gear,ect). The chopper is a very innovative and simple concept which works so well in the real world conditions. It’s a wave sail that is super compact(manuverable), very powerful, provides instant input and is Uber forgiving. Oh and the “Key” to the Chopper is the whole range (4-sails, 5.7-3.7) all rig on one size mast, A nice short 370 mast, and one 140-190 boom. Yes! How Insanely simple is that? You can go to the beach any day from 15 to 40kts with just 4-sails, 1-mast, 1-boom and you have everything covered! So freaking simple. Just that concept alone is worth gold. Now given the option, which quiver would you chose?
“Old windsurfing way”= 6-sails, 3-mast, 2-booms
“Chopper way”= 4-sails, 1-mast, 1-boom.
No brainer right? Think about it, if you were new to the sport or you’re a parent of a Kid that just got the “Windsurfing Bug” and you were looking into to buying some new gear. Which option is: 1) Way easier to sell. 2) Way easier to explain. 3) Total cost is way less. 4) Much Simpler and 5) More attractive! Yup! The “Chopper way” (Did you understand that? Dumb windsurfing marketing people!).
Another first on the chopper is they changed the sail sizing system. They changed it yet again to a simple system called: small, medium, large and extra-large. Just like your T-shirt size that’s how the different sizes of the Choppers are described. Now anybody “new” to the sport has no problems adapting to this simplified system, but most windsurfers have a complete melt down with this. They are so used to the number system they can’t envision it any other way. They ask me what I am riding and I say “medium” and you almost can see the gears & cogs exploding out of there head. It’s really funny stuff! Look, it’s hard to teach old dogs new tricks, so probably Naish should have put some sail numbers on the sail along with the sizing system to keep the melt-downs to a minimum. The main reason for the sizing change is in the chopper design itself. The choppers pack more power per square meter than any other sail ever made. For example, the Extra Large is really a 5.3m, but it sails and has the power of a 5.7-6.0. So is it really a traditional 5.3m!? No, not really. Thus the need for a new sizing system. Once you get used to the system you can’t go back to numbers. Say if a Large is too much then you go to a Medium, if it’s too light you go to a XL. Sooooo Simple! I don’t ever think about what size to be on anymore! It’s such a nice feeling and mind relief.
Now as for the amazing performance of the chopper, I have written reviews, and other people and magazines have written reviews so I could go on and on but I am going to just sum it up. The chopper is so different in every way that even the way you rig it up is completely backwards from normal sails. The “Trick” is just a hint of downhaul to make a guitar string leech and then lots of outhaul, and adjust the outhaul for desired power. That’s it! Done! No more saying “is that enough downhaul?” or “Does that look right?”. Again so simple! This sail, in some magical way is both a “powerful” and “soft” wave sail at the same time. I think it defies the laws of physics…or it’s just really short! It can power up to 100 and then depower to zero in an instant. It feels so light and maneuverable that you will forget you even have a sail in your hands. It truly is a surfer’s sail by just disappearing and allowing you to focus on surfing the wave and being in the right spot to Hit the Lip!
Look is the chopper the best sail for onshore wave? No. Is it the best for sideshore wave? No. Is it the best for down the line waves? No. Is it the best for bump and jump? No. Is it the fastest sail? Definitely not. Is it the most stable sail? Nope. Is it the best freestyle sail? No. Is it the lightest sail? No. Look The Chopper would not win an award for best sail in any technical category, but yet it would be right up there near the top of every single one. There are things I can do on a chopper, that I can’t do on any other sail. In real life it would win the category hands down for “having the most fun”. The category for making you “a better wave sailor”. The category for “keeping life simple and easy”. The category of “saving you money by not having so much gear”. Ect.
The chopper has developed a cult-like following. I know about dozen people who have quivers of them and they all love and rave about them! Heck I know a couple of Naish Team riders that loved their Choppers and miss them so much. They said the Choppers were way better compared to what they are currently riding. I get monthly emails of people looking for quivers of them so there is still clearly a ton of interest there. I just can’t think of any good reason why Naish sails would just stop making them (other than listening to dumb marketing people?). I have tried many brands of 3-batten sails including Naish and they are all Floppy pieces of junk with little to no range. They probably work at Hookipa but that is the only place where they work. All brands 5 batten sails will always have there place on the water, as they are all locked down and super stable rigs that will pretty much sail themselves. All the other 4-battens sails out there are just lightened up 5 battens (the same sail just a little lighter) and maybe in some cases a little less range. The end result is they are all the “same old” and none of them have a compact, 1 mast/boom concept.
I have 2 quivers of choppers so I should be good for a while especially with that Naish quality. I will never go back to a normal windsurfing sail ever again! Oh, every year I try the latest and greatest sails, and just one session on the newest stuff, reminds me how freaken awesome the choppers truly are. The difference is like night and day! So, when that day comes and all my choppers are worn out and I need new ones, I am coming for you Robby Naish! I will hunt you down and you will make me a new set or “there is going to be trouble”! We are Called REEF “WARRIORS” for a reason. Arrrrrrr!
Anybody else who wants to pick up the Chopper torch you got my support. Goya, Simmer, Sailworks, Hotsails, anybody? You would be an instant hero and legend, and probably your bank account would like it too!
If anybody is looking for some leftover Naish choppers there might be some left at “BigWinds” so check them out!