Three Batten Featherweight
The Delta (Not so) Quick Review: Jumping on the Fringe for the first time I promised myself to keep an open mind, but hedging my bets I had rigged up one an extra sail just in case the Fringe was not my cup of tea. Well I never touched that other sail, and shortly there after had a full quiver of Fringe's in my car with my old sails up for sale. The Fringe had a different "feel" than what I was used to, and on that first day it was this "feel" that kept me going as I wanted to figure out what is was all about. It took me a couple runs to further dial in the sail tuning wise, and I realized very small changes in tension made noticeable changes in the feel. Once I got it dialed, I had zeroed in on the Fringe's efficiency as its feature that had me so intrigued. It felt super light in the hands both in static weight and in how I felt it pull against me. I'm sure some, due to the light feel, would call the sail gutless, but with this efficiency I was still planing on this same size sail I would normally rig up, and I was still accelerating to speed just as quickly. The reduced rig weight on the nose of my board also seemed to make it feel more alive and every gust became instant acceleration. In a straight line there was a bit more movement to the sail than I was used to, but after a couple of runs I learned to just kind of let it do it's thing as the movement never lead to anything of concern. Setting the rail to try a little swell ride I felt the Fringe drive more of the rail into the water than I was expecting and the radius of my turn was way tighter than expected. Pretty cool. Next I went for a loop, and remembering my experience on other experimental sails like the Naish Chopper, I said a quick prayer before take-off. Much to my surprise, when I opened my eyes, the Fringe held it's power all the way around and I was a sailing away fairly clean. Maybe that Stretch Control System really does do something? So after positive results with the basics it was time to try my luck at a few freestyle moves. Spook's, Shove-it's, Flaka's and the like went just fine, so I moved onto my big moves, the Switch Kono and Funnel. The sail ducked well and had enough pop to do everything I wanted. Wait this sail only has three battens! After my positive experience I forced a couple local riders to try this sail as well. I didn't mention the three battens to them and it wasn't until after they came back that I pointed it out. They knew it looked different but they didn't realize it was the battens. These first two locals who tried it also came in the shop within a couple days and bought their own. With that said I know the sail is not for everyone. To make use of the efficiency, which is it's biggest selling point, you have to be an efficient rider yourself. I'm certainly not a little guy, but I've been likened to something of a Dancing Bear so I feel like I can make it work. Usually smaller riders tend to be the more efficient riders out there and the Fringe has quickly gained a following amongst our local women. It's other limitation to the Fringe, which once again lead to it being best for smaller riders, is that above 5.0 the sail's wind range becomes much smaller than sails with more battens so we only focus on the smaller sizes.
PURGE WHAT YOU THOUGHT ABOUT THREE BATTEN SAILS
The all new Fringe is a super lightweight sail for easy handling through radical maneuvers. An all new carbon stretch control layout provides excellent stability through a big wind range; Steadiness that you won’t find elsewhere.
The Fringe is a very progressive wave sail targeting riders looking for excellent low end, wide range and effortless handling in the most radical carving conditions. It delivers a very flexible “up” lift, gets you moving and keeps you loose and incredibly reactive on the water. On top, it comes with an extra large monofilm window for easy visibility through the sail.
Surfing with a Sail
The Fringe is the closest thing to surfing with a sail. And a small sail in that, because the Fringe is a “lifting” type sail that is best used in a smaller size on a higher volume board to benefit from its surfing characteristics.
“My goal is for the sails to have a certain feeling when new, and for the sail to keep that feeling for a very long time, years in fact if the sail is reasonably taken care of. When people think of durability they think of puncture and panel tear, but that is only part of the story. Foil integrity, to me, is a critical part of the durability package, and to achieve it, load points need to be engineered to withstand the impacts, the long term tensions and also function to disperse attachment point loads in to the body of the sail without damaging the sail. Panel distortion under load also needs to be managed in order to ensure range in the sails. Achieving this requires materials. Considering, trying and testing these assignments of materials is a big part of the fun of designing new sails for me. I’m so stoked with how much weight we’ve lost over the years, and I think there is less to come. Pun intended.”