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marekk 3rd January 2011 12:59 AM

Neilpryde Helium 8.5
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?

BelSkorpio 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.

MOP 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.

marekk 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 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.

marekk 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. :)

BelSkorpio 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 ?

marekk 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?

BelSkorpio 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.


Windman 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: 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.

marekk 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 :)

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