I have been trying out the new XS-3s. As they're new on the market I thought I'd write a review so that people looking for something smaller (parents for their kids, women, or shorter guys) know what to expect!
The sail dimensions have been designed to suit kids and short adults. The result is a lighter sail with a lower cut out and clew which allows the boom height to be adjusted to a much lower position than on the S-1 without affecting the performance and centre of power the sail.
Features and performance
Lower cut out and clew: Being shorter than the average adult, I have always had to have my boom at the very bottom of the cut-out. It’s what I’m used to and it works fine but sailing the XS-3s made me realise just how much easier it was to sail with a boom at a comfortable height (about shoulder high for me) with the centre of power in the right place. The lower boom height increased the manoeuvrability of the sail and made everything, from tacking to looping, easier. The rig feels closer so that I was no longer finding myself in awkward positions having to over reach or hang off the sail. I could push down on the boom to go into bottom turns more aggressively and not feel like I was hanging off the sail in the top turn.
Ridiculously light: S-1s are already amongst the lightest sails on the market. The XS-3 is another level of light. Rigged on the 300 mast and enigma boom, this is by far the lightest performance rig around. This makes for a forgiving and playful sail which is easy to position and handle. The light feel makes it easier to control in a wide range of wave-riding conditions (from cross-off down the line to onshore mush) allowing me to be more confident and adventurous on the waves. Jumping and looping with it is a pleasure as it goes into rotation effortlessly. Three battens over four give the sail a deeper profile offering excellent power which will get you planning quickly, give you great drive on the wave, and good lift in jumps. The low clew gives the sail good bottom end power so that it engages well in the bottom turn and is effortless to reposition in the top turn.
Cons: Being a novice to 3 battens (usually sail 4 or 5 batten sails), the XS-3 did feel less stable in gusty winds. I found it harder to handle in very overpowered conditions. As with most small sails it can feel very flicky - so that it tends to be harder to handle in overpowered conditions. As the sail is more box shaped than the S-1, the wider clew and lower luff can sometimes make the sail feel like the power is lower and in the back hand.
Durability: The lightness of the sails and mast and the fact that they are designed for groms or small adults made me sceptical about the durability of the rig. I’m not the most careful of sailors and so was initially apprehensive to take it out in anything above logo high or in waves with any power. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that they survived a lot of end over forwards, wave washes and swims in mast high dumpy waves with no visible damage to mast or sail. There is a brand new boom head design that is much stronger than the old model.
Looks: Large enough main panel for good visibility. Simple minimalist design, with bright contrasting colour which works well in bright and low light, it stands out from the standard red S-1. My opinion is biased as turquoise is also one of my favourite colours…
Great performance sail ideal for kids, adults and women shorter than 160cm and weighing under ~60kg looking to start/ improve wave-sailing, jumping, and learn new moves.
Very light: great handling, forgiving, manoeuvrable, easy to sail and carry.
Low cut out + clew: correct height, more comfortable, effortless wave riding and jumping.
Quick, reactive, and easy to control.
Keeps speed and power in bottom turn and stays light in top turn.
Does not handle gust with the same comfort as the S-1
The easy on off nature of the sail does mean that when over powered, the backhand power increases in big gusts, and when under powered the sail does not carry power through the bigger lulls.
Name: Maeli Cherel
Usually sail on: 3.6m-4.4m S1
Severne Sails tested:
3.6 XS-3 on 300 mast, 31cm extension, 143cm boom4.1
XS-3 on 300 mast, 36cm extension, 150cm boom
Boom position: low-middle of cut-out.
4.1m: 21kts- 26kts
Cross onshore wind, boom to logo high waves.
Cross offshore wind, logo to mast high waves.
Great review Maeli! I thought kids' rigs had been perfected but this new XS-3 is another big jump in performance. At first it looks like the XS-1 with a new colour scheme because the outline looks similar but there are some major refinements. It's definitely not the same rig!
You notice the difference as soon as you downhaul the sail. It has a much deeper profile with the draft more pronounced and forward. This is particularly noticeable in the two smallest sizes 2.0 and 2.5 which were previously quite flat. My kids - Alex (age 14 with a 3.6) and Elli (age 10 with a 2.5) found they were overpowered when they first hit the water in a 25 knot Southerly with the sail sizes they would normally use with an XS-1.
We just gave the sails a bit more outhaul instead of rigging a size smaller and they had a few hours of great sailing. The wind range of the XS-3 is far greater than the XS-1. This will give kids the opportunity to use an easier to handle smaller sail while having the same power. The wind backed off to 20 knots and Alex just let off the outhaul and regained the power despite the 5 knot drop in wind strength.
Alex said the XS-3 package mast is very different from the one with the XS-1. It has nothing written on it and I haven't weighed it but it seems lighter than the older 950g mast and you can see it is much higher quality. Rather than the glass look, you can see the carbon. The extension that comes in the package is also better quality than the previous one which came with the XS-1. Also, you should try the new kids' boom that came with the package Maeli - it is half the weight of the Enigma boom you used. It has an articulating head (to better suit taller kids), super skinny profile, modern shape, goes 10 cm longer than the XS-1 boom with a kids' length uphaul rope. This boom is truly a mini Enigma!
!0 year old Elli
Kye age 14,got his XS-1 rig last November,been windsurfing for 1 year
Alex getting some air.
Maeli thank you for your review. What board were you using with the 3.6 and 4.1 rigs? what is the composition of the 300 mast?
The XS-3,300 mast is a 60% carbon and weighs 900g.
Where can I buy ann XS-3 3m, and how much are they?
Any second hand ones around?
My 9yo is keen as, and it's probably time for something like this.
I used the sails on my 55l custom twin fin wave board (shaped by james hooper) and they worked well. I still haven't tried them on my freestyle board.
Great shots KA360, the kids seem to be improving heaps. I'll try and get my hands on that mini enigma!
thanks for the reply Maeli. Thinking about boards, slowly getting into waves and as I am exactly the same build as you - but nowhere near your skill level, I was curious about what board you used. Keep up the good work. Louise
I doubt there are any second hand ones around as they came out recently but there might be demo ones you could buy for cheaper. I will contact Severne and ask him.
Are you based East or West?