Windfoiling is evolving rapidly and one of the groundbreaking news this year is the launch of the Ezzy Hydra, an eye-catching windfoil sail to say the least. To better understand the concept behind the Hydra, we have asked some questions to David Ezzy himself.
Hydra Sail Overview
The first thing we can say about the Hydra is that it has a very unusual design. The sail is derived from the EZZY Taka 4, which is a pure wave sail. Like the Taka, the Hydra has a ¾ batten above the boom, offering lightness and power.
The sail has also a small mast thanks to the top batten, a small boom and no cams, resulting in a very light sail and enhanced manoeuvrability.
The main difference with the Taka 4 is obviously the enormous bottom batten, which gives the sail a somewhat whacky look. But knowing what Dave Ezzy has achieved before, we can trust that he has not just created this design by chance!
The long bottom batten makes the center of effort on the lower part of the sail, which is best for foiling, as it gives more stability and power. The long batten is also optimal for pumping to plan and to keep the board flying in the lulls.
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But first of all, watch the film below where David is describing the feeling of foiling. Meditative and beautiful:
“If I were to describe the feeling when I foil, I would say that the ocean is my canvas and every upwind and downwind tack are my invisible brush strokes.
With the foil you can cover distances that aren’t simply possible with a regular windsurf board.
Sometimes I find myself miles off shore and I have to remind myself to turn around.
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The wide angles you can achieve upwind and off the wind still amaze me about foiling.
Upwind, flying above the chop, hooked in and out on the rail. Each gust accelerates you further upwind.
Downwind reminds me of a perfect powder day on the mountain, effortless and quiet.
The stronger the gust, further off the wind you fly.
Jibe just like surfing on a cloud.
Each day foiling becomes a new masterpiece that I look forward to creating.”
David Ezzy Interview, Creator of the Hydra Sail
Name: David Ezzy
Citizenship: USA (originally from Vancouver, Canada. Have lived in Maui since 1981)
Home spot: Kanaha, Maui
Home town: Haiku
Winfoil Zone: David, thanks for answering our questions. You are one of the big names in the windsurfing business, and it’san honour to have you on the blog.
You launched Ezzy Sails in the previous century, and the brand has established itself as one of the top players in the market. Tell us more about it.
David Ezzy: I launched Ezzy Sails back in 1983. I built my factory in Sri Lanka in 1992, We employ 100 full-time employees that are dedicated to make Ezzy Sails. These people are gems and what makes (literally and figuratively) Ezzy Sails what it is. We have worked together for the past 30 years and we are like family. I should also note that we are one of only three sail companies in windsurfing (Neilpryde and Gaastra are the other two) that own their own factory. All the other sail companies contract in either China or Sri Lanka. I need my own factory so that I am able to get the quality I demand.
WZ: When was the first time you heard about foil windsurfing and what were your first thoughts?
DE: Foiling has always intrigued me. Back in the early 90’s, I saw Rush Randle doing it and it looked so amazing. But, back then I was too into wave sailing to give it much thought. Then about 10 years ago I saw the work that was being done in France with foils and thought, this is the future of windsurfing!
WZ: When did you try windfoiling the first time? Can you describe the feeling?
DE: I started foiling in the summer of 2017. The feeling was surreal. After the past 45 years of riding on the surface of the water, I was now flying above the water effortlessly.
WZ: Ezzy Sails is now launching the Hydra, dedicated to foil windsurfing. Could you tell us more about the concept and explain the concept behind the uncommon shape of the sail?
DE: During my learning process I noticed how sensitive the foil was to sheeting and movement of the sail. Sheet in, you go up, sheet out, you go down. Combine this with shifting and gusty wind, along with some swell, and learning to foil was like riding a bucking bronco. So, I wanted to find a way to smooth the sail out.
I knew that a longer boom would reduce the reactiveness of the sail, but I didn’t want the long boom once up on the foil. My eureka came when I thought, what happens if I extend the foot below the clew, sort of like a long boom sail, but at the same time still having a short boom? The first sail I tried this idea on was markedly better.
The Hydra has incredible low-end to get you up, then once up, the power goes away, which is what you want with a foil sail.
The interesting thing is that I developed the Hydra to make it easier for me to learn to foil, but now that I am a much better foiler, I am finding it has a nice “slippery feeling” for going fast on the foil.
WZ: Is it also possible to use the Hydra for regular windsurfing?
I doubt it. The foot would be dragging in the water. That’s why I split the Hydra into Pro and Sport:
- The Hydra Sport has a smaller foot and 4 battens up to the 5.7 and 5 battens for the 6.7 and 8.1.
- The Hydra Pro is 5 batten in all sizes.
I made the Hydra Sport for people that don’t want a foil-only sail. It has a higher foot and can be used for windsurf freeriding in addition to foiling.
I made the Hydra Pro for people that want to go fast on a foil, without using a cambered sail.
WZ: Windfoiling for the large public really started in 2017 and the interest is growing. How do you see the future of windfoiling? Will it remain a niche within windsurfing, or will windfoil equipment be something most windsurfers will have in their quiver?
DE: Foiling is just so much fun, it is hard to believe it isn’t going to take off. I think I am more addicted to foiling than I was when I first learned to windsurf, 45 years ago. I can’t miss a day of foiling. And with foiling, light wind is as fun as strong wind, so end up foiling every day there is some kind of wind. I usually have to force myself to take a day off.
The other plus about foiling is that it requires much less equipment. I can cover 10 knts to 30 knts with just a 4.0, 5.0 and 6.0. I might even be able to do it with just the 4.0 and 6.0.
I use just one board, 140L.
The one thing that is important to cover wind range is having the ability to swap wings according to the wind. You need to have more than just one set of wings if you want to cover all wind strengths. But, changing wings is much easier than changing sails. And wings take up a lot less space than sails.
WZ: Many remember Ezzy Sails has one of the pioneer within CSR in the 90’s, offering great working conditions for the employees at your factory in Sri Lanka. Ezzy Foundation is yet another philanthropic action, which deserves some attention. What is this foundation about?
DE: Before I started my own factory, I worked for another company that had a factory in Sri Lanka. I ended up resigning over how they treated their workers. I realized that as much as we benefit from the lower cost of labor in Sri Lanka, it was my responsibility to give back.
So, when I started Ezzy Sails I vowed to make a factory that treated the workers as equals with a nurturing work environment. I also wanted to be able to enrich my workers’ lives as much as I could. This involved no-interest loans so they could build houses and helping with their kid’s education.
We have an education fund that grows from each sail we sell. This money is spent on school books, uniforms, and tuitions and whatever else is need for their kid’s education.
WZ: Thank you for answering our questions, David. Do you have anything to add as a final word?
DE: If anyone has questions about the Hydra or any of my sails, please send me your question via Windfoil Zone’s team (Contact form). I’ll make sure to answer all your questions!