View Full Version : Neilpryde Helium 8.5

3rd January 2011, 12:59 AM
Anybody has his own experience with Neil Pryde Helium, especialy 8.5? I'm heavy rider (above 100 kg) and looking for very light sail for light wind, both for Formula and JP X-Cite 145. Is it true, that Heliums power is on the level 2 meters bigger sails?

3rd January 2011, 04:51 AM
Hi Marek,

I've sailed last summer NP Heliums in all sizes on different sized JP X-Cite boards in Rhodes, when I was there on holidays (rental equipment).
It's a perfect combination.

The Heliums are very light and extremely early planing sails.
But no sail of 8.5 has the same power as one of 10.5. That's a fairy tale.

These sails also have less control in the upper wind range c/w racing sails.
It's for sure not the best sail for formula.

3rd January 2011, 04:58 AM
I sailed Severne glide 8.5. Very early planing, but close to NO top end. Did not like it.

3rd January 2011, 07:41 PM
Hi BelSkorpio,

Many thanks for your opinion about X-Cite and Helium, it is very helpful for me. I know that 8,5 sail can't work as 10,5 in all conditions, but similar phrase I read on boardseekermag.com site. Of course they wrote it about light wind only: "The V8 Helium really does get you planing early and offers light wind performance that would match a sail 2m bigger.". Maybe...

Explain me please why do you claim "It's for sure not the best sail for formula"? I have problem with my backbone (temporarily, I hope) and looking for solution for light wind, normal on my spot. Actually I have only formula board, but can't sailing with big sails. Light sail with high power in light winds would be perfect answer.

3rd January 2011, 07:50 PM

Thank you for opinion about Severne, it's the same type of sail. However I think about Helium only, because I have NeilPryde X6 masts matching this sail. :)

3rd January 2011, 11:25 PM

In general, Formula boards, when used for racing, need sails with a lot of loose leech to cover a huge wind range to go very deep down wind as well as reaching and upwind.

If you're using Formula boards just to recreationally sail light winds (like I also do), you might say that a freerace sail is sufficient. But unfortunately I found it is not the case. I have a 11m2 pure race sail (Gun Mega XR) that I can hold just as long as a 9.5m2 freerace sail with much more control and power at the same time. The 9.5m2 is a light sail with very light handling that gets me going with only a few knots more than the 11m2 but then it very quickly overpowers me when the wind picks up and tends to launch my formula board into the air.
So if you're lucky with the wind range on a particular day and it fits exactly in the rather small wind range of your light freerace sail, you're OK. But I'm afraid that most of the days it doesn't and you should definitely go for a pure race sail, meant for formula.

Regarding your backbone problems, I understand that you want to go for a smaller and lighter sail.
The pure race sails are heavier and more difficult to uphaul, even with the right technique, that's for sure.
I also avoid to let my rig fall into the water. There are formula days that I don't need to uphaul at all, because I really pay attention :)

PS: Where are you sailing ? Your name is written in a Polish way, so I was thinking of Mazury or the Baltic sea ?

4th January 2011, 01:16 AM

You are right, I'm Polish. My "home" spot is Zalew Zegrzynski, relative small lake near
Warsaw. Sometimes, if I have spare time, I'm going to Zatoka Pucka, bay on the Baltic Sea.

On my spot wind is really light (8 knots 2 days a week, 12 k maybe 1/w) but very gusty and twisty. Sailing formula on this lake is neverending outhaul adjusting, keep out, change stance, reacting for changing direction of wind and terrible chop. Its great! Only problem is pure race sail 11.4 Naish Stealth, landing on water frequently. I'm not experienced windsurfer, so to pay attention is not enough for me :). I have also 9.5 NP Slalom MkIII, very nice light sail, but a little to small for my heavy weight on wind below 15 k. I hope 8.5 Helium and smaller board will be easier to control and... easier to uphaul :).

P.S. Have you ever been on Zalew Zegrzynski? Where are you sailing in Belgium?

4th January 2011, 01:50 AM
Hi Marek,

I have been several times in Poland, as my wife is Polish.

I was in Leba / Baltic sea and also in the biggest Mazurian Lake, i.e. Sniardwy.

Sniardwy is wonderful for Formula sailing. In summer almost every day 8-12 knots and rather stable. Exactly the conditions that I like for Formula.

I don't know Zalew Zegrzynski but I googled it and it seems to be a rather small lake indeed, so I expect a lot of lulls. Not that good for Formula :(

I own myself a 8.4 NP Slalom MKII that I would like to swap for a NP RS:Racing or a GUN mega XS, don't know yet. Anyway the Heliums are lighter than the NP Slaloms. The lighter weight combined with a smaller size will certainly help uphauling. But I dont think that the Helium has more power than the NP Slalom, because this latter has really a lot of power, for me too quickly uncontrollable in the upper wind range. If you need to go down in sail size because of your backbone problem, I would not go too small in board size. Perhaps the Ultrasonic147 is something for you. Should also be ideal with your 9.5 NP MKIII.

Myself, I sail a lot on the North sea and the lakes next to it, more in Holland than in Belgium.
It are similar conditions like the Baltic sea (Leba e.g.), i.e. very good in summer, but much too cold in the winter.


4th January 2011, 03:24 AM
Good morning, Marek and BelSkorpio,

For uphauling of big sails, you might consider the Easy-Uphaul, sold by Chinook dealers and shown here: http://www.chinooksailing.com/products/product_info.php?products_id=146. I use one on my 9.8m and it makes uphauling very easy.

You could also Google on Easy Uphaul to get extra information.

Hope this helps.

4th January 2011, 03:53 AM

I never sailed windsurf board on Sniardwy lake, but many years ago sailed small yacht on almost all Mazurian Lakes. Wind on Sniardwy is really convenient.

It's a fact that conditions on Zalew Zegrzynski are rather difficult. Thanks to this it is the best place for intensive training. I met there Steve Allen, Wojtek Brzozowski and other professional riders.:) On other hand it is only spot close to me - 5 km, the next nearest - 150 km.

I'm considering about iSonic 144 (2010 - very good offer now), but rather inclining to freeride board like JP X-Cite Ride, Exocet Sting or Starboard Futura. I think freeride boards are more controlable on chop and small Baltic waves. But today I still can't decide :(.

P.S. Woman with my extended family is living in Belgium, married with Belgian :)

4th January 2011, 04:53 AM
Hi Windman,

Many thanks for your suggestion, easy uphaul looks interesting. I tried to invent something like this, but ended on problem how to accomplish it. I have no proper sewing machine etc. Of course everyone can tie rope with loop to uphaul ribbon. But maybe buy "easy uphaul" is a smarter solution.:)

5th January 2011, 01:31 AM

I see what you mean now.
You're doubting between 2 totally different boards.

IS144, width=85cm
JP X-C145m, width=76cm

The JP X-cite is more a bump & jump board. Out of my last summer's experience, it are very nice boards, very good all-rounders and very easy to ride on a choppy/wavy sea like in Rhodes or the Baltic sea. Actually it's something that SB does not really have in its range. I compare it more with a Kode, which SB does not have bigger than a K123.

I've never sailed an IS144, but I think it will be a much harder ride on chop.
On the other hand, when you're looking more for speed and sail most of the time on your lake, it can also be appealing :)

Tough decision.

Perhaps you should think Futura, it will be something in the middle.

As a SB fan, I would know what to choose though :)

6th January 2011, 12:29 AM

You note it, it is formally inconsistence in my considerations. It is because I can't decide what solution to choose. But now (thanks to your help to) I have a idea: I sell my formula board and buy iSonic 150. It is good lighwind board, will be enough exciting with 9.5 slalom sail on winds about 10k, in contrast to formula (not forgetting about my heavy weight!). For heavier winds I'll buy 8.5-8.0 m slalom sail. If my health problem will end in future, I'll buy 11 m sail, but not as extremely race as Stealth.

On the other hand is sailing on Baltic Sea. In first concept I considered before, JP X-Cite was solution both for bay and lake, for the latter temporarily, up to time I will ready for bigger rigs on formula. Now I consider JP as bump&jump with quiver 6.4, 8.0, 9.5 sails.

14th January 2011, 02:18 AM
Hi Bel, Marek, Windman,
Guys, I need your help. After almost 15 years break, decided to go back on the board! Previously I was riding only on slalom boards with RSS class sails and that was really great time. Now decide to buy Formula HWR (already in my place:) but I have absolutely no idea how it works and have a lot of questions about Formula sails, especially sizes. I can order Reflex II or OverDrive'11 from Severne (can't test it). Choice would be much easier when gear will cost like other windsurfing equipment, but all we know Formula prices…..
Bel, I see that you have some experience with FW and you really like it. Can you give me some advices? 12m or 11m? One or two sails? Where are the limits of boring sailing and fight without plesure?
I'm sure that your personal feelings can give me much more tips than reading catalogs and wind charts.
I'm 83 kg and a few words about my spot. Whole summer I spend in Costa Blanca, Alicante area, Spain. Winds are rather light but regular and predictable, avr. 7-10 less 10-14 knt. (+/-).
Best Regards,

Marek, wont to see you on Zegrze in springtime!

14th January 2011, 02:57 AM
Good morning, Santander,

Thank you for your kind words, but I do not sail formula gear. The largest sail I have is a V8, 9.8m being used on an 85cm-wide board. I can say that you will need at least one carbon boom and it will have to be equipped with an adjustable outhaul system to maximise the performance of a sail. Also, it takes some time to be able to use the AO system correctly (don't get discouraged).

You may care to "Google" for Formula sailing tips and Forums, particularly the use of long, adjustable harness lines.

Hope this helps.

14th January 2011, 11:29 PM
Hi Santander,

Like you, after a break of serveral years, I started seriously again with windsurfing in 2007.
My first new board that I've bought late 2007 was the F161.
I still remember that I saw these boards laying in large numbers on the beach of Leba/Poland when I was there in the summer of 2007 at the Allegro Formula Windsuring competition. After I had spoken with a lot of the Formula stars (Steve Allen, Wojtek Brzozowski, etc ..) I decided to buy also such a board. You have to understand that until then I had never seen such a wide and short board. I only knew about the classic narrow boards. So it was quite new for me.

When I started using the F161 in the summer of 2008, I immediately liked it. All the things that were promised, came true. Planing from +/- 8 knots and going upwind with unbelievable angles. Wow !

About the sails, I would advise you not to start bigger than a 9.5 m2 if you are new to Formula + big rigs. I've started off with a 9.5m2 freerace sail (3 cambers). It's a relatively light sail and allows you to comfortably get used to formula sailing, because there's a lot to learn.
Once you get along with it, go for a 11m2, BUT choose a full race / Formula sail !
You will find out that when the wind suddenly picks up, these sails are much easier and longer to control c/w the lighter freerace sails, even in the bigger sizes.

Recreational Formula windsurfing is great fun in low but steady winds, where else you would not be able to sail at all (I'm talking planing of course).


17th January 2011, 05:15 AM
Hi Santander,

I can't say more. BelSkorpio said almost everything about how to start windsurfing on Formula board. It is very easy board for riding (very stable because wide tail), but not so exciting for jibing. I very like Formula, I think so for wind 8-15 knots its the best.

P.S. Ok Luca, see you on spring time! Of course I'll be there!

18th January 2011, 06:14 PM
Thanks for reply,

Until now, I was sure that 12m will be perfect for poor wind conditions in my spot (according wind charts). But you're another person I talked to, who didn't even mention this size. There's something in it. That is why always worth to ask. You are right, I take rather smaler one (race of course).

Thanks once again,

19th January 2011, 05:19 AM
The helium does not have the power of a sail 2 metres bigger no way.

I have a helium 8.5 , and a maui sails 9.5 the maui sails has alot more power then the 8.5 especailly in lighter winds

Now the 8.5 is no slouch, and as the wind picks the difference becomes less and less.

BUT in light airs the 9.5 outpowers it .

I know as I raced longboards this summer, and I used my 8.5 till i broke a cam.

I then rigged the 9.5 and was passing people that were previously passing me when i had the 8.5 on.

simple as that.