So other than the new s'1 being substantially prettier than last year's swats (IMO) what are the differences here? i can get 2015 swats for significantly cheaper and perhaps upgrade to a gorrila mast from my powerex rdm85 masts that I currently run my 2011/2012 s1's on. 68kg rider riding in mushy waves onshore to cross-on usually with some side/ very occasional side off mixed in there occasionally. would rather optimize for the side/ side off days even if they come less often. 74l sb quad from '13 is my go to board with 88l fanatic triwave from '14 for the lighter/ more marginal days. have the chance to replace my s1's and wondering whats my best bet or if i should just keep the s1's?? would love to hear from severne guys re. mast compatibility with the new s1's and the swats.. they seem to be working fairly well with my s1's at the moment.
any and all advice is greatly appreciated!
The S-1 has always been the sail that has had all the latest ideas and materials poured into it. So your current 2011 S-1 was what Ben and Jaeger were sailing in 2010. In the last 5 or so years, there has been a big change in wave sailing, not only at the elite level, but the local hero is getting into moves that were previously only attempted by the PWA level sailors too. This has driven a shift to the 4 batten layout. The S-1 is now a lot easier to throw about than the old 5 batten version, this is good for those wanting to get into some wave moves, but it also helps the average sailor get the most out of their riding..
The 4 batten layout is not for everyone. The traditional 5 batten wave sail with moderate twist is still the best sail for most sailors, and the closest sail in the current range to your 2011 S-1 would be the Blade. This sail outsells everything, and with good reason. So make sure you don't get locked into the S-1 trap.
The S.W.A.T (early spelling) was brought in as a real cheap sail, but by the end it was being built at the main factory using industry standard materials (that cammo X-ply with the printing on the inside is the same stuff that many of the other brands use)..
The SWAT lost a bit of popularity towards the end. You see people on Seabreeze complain all day long about the price of gear, but in the end, if you're gonna spend $750 bucks on a SWAT, why not spend $200 more and get an S-1 or Blade.. (whatever the prices, that was about the difference)
In the last few years, the membrane technology has come out, and this has pushed the price of the S-1 up. This left a few people out in the lurch. But this year the S-1 in the regular construction is back to fill the void of both the pre-membrane S-1 and the SWAT. I say regular construction, as it's got the same EM3 X-ply that's been used in the Blade for years, but EM3 is still much better than what was in the SWAT. The S-1 also has the monofilm window, which has better visibility than what you'll find in the SWAT.
Performance wise, the new S-1 is going to get you to a closer level to your current S-1, even if the feeling is a little different. You'll find the SWAT heavy.
The second question is whether to save cash on the sails and get a Gorilla, or stick with your Powerex and get the new S-1. I'm assuming you're talking about the S-1 in the standard construction, because we don't see too many people splash out on the Pro's unless they're using at least the RDM90.
It's a tough one, Powerex masts are good for backups. I had to use one in my 2011 S-1 for a while after a summer in WA breaking stuff and I felt it it was a bit like throwing a wet blanket over the sail (I was running Gaastra 100's)
If you really wanted to improve performance, and your S-1's aren't in bad shape, then I'd go for an RDM90.
The reason is, you're not going to save any weight on a new sail, but you stand to save maybe 350 grams on the mast, and you'll inject more life into those 2011 S-1's.
Thank you for the detailed response Barn I appreciate it. Basically what I am getting from you that I am better off sticking with the my sails and looking for a new mast? It is good to know, always hard to tell without trying gear if it will work better for you.. I guess the weight savings have been more substantial in the new sails than the difference in shape? my s1's are about the same weight as the 16' s1's (not pro) and a smiggen lighter than the swats, I guess part of the allure of the swat was that from what I read it still is very neutral on the wave but has a bit more drive than the s1's which could help in the less than perfect days. the other allure was that I have the opportunity to renew my quiver for little investment as my sails are still in decent shape so I can still get something for them, so good time to be thinking about changing I guess. Then I saw the new s1's which from what I saw were basically a better swat and there came my interest in them. Obviously lighter is always better but even at the moment with a full carbon boom and very lite sails my set up is quite lite and keeping the same weight would satisfy me if it came with a performance gain like better wind range/ better maneuverability/ earlier planning which I was under the impression the newer shapes may yield??
A side related question or two -
Is the 16 s1 different in terms of feel and handling compared to the pro version ?
As a sail for light wind float and ride with big Nuevo or quad (I'm 85kg) which of the Severne line up would beat suit that role? I currently have blades but considering trying an s1 (pro or std)