According to DUOTONE, the 2020 IDOL LTD is the most highly developed and extreme freestyle sail they have ever manufactured in series. It is a completely personalized pro model of freestyle world champion Gollito Estredo and to save weight DUOTONE use the most lightweight monofilm on the market, the 100-micron thick ULTRA FILM.
In June 2019 we had the chance to try the sail for a few runs.
Can the IDOL LTD kill two or even three birds with one stone?
Light Levante wind blew into the bay of Bolonia on a sunny afternoon in June. We already had good pressure with the 6.6m2 no-cam Freeride sail on the Gecko 110 LTD but were asking ourselves: Will the 5.2 2020 IDOL LTD bring us into planing, too?
Daniel Aeberli recommended to not give too much downhaul, otherwise the sail would not work well. „Don’t put too much downhaul,“ he told me. But why? The draft position is already so far forward that it would otherwise be in front of the sail? Also, the so popular two VTS 2.0 trim marks are missing in the sail top. For the IDOL LTD one mark is enough. We play a bit on the Power XT extension but realize quickly that the luff has enough tension.
Air Jibe with the 5.2m Duotone IDOL LTD 2020
Already on land the sail looks stylish and very progressive. The new design with the very visible Radial Load Stripe makes the 2020 model visually fresher and more playful compared to its predecessor.
Dani joins me, takes the rigged sail and pumps it in the light breeze. His spontaneous feedback: „The luff fits but at the clew we need more tension.“ He pulls the rope of the Silver Boom to almost 160 cm. 159 cm is written in the tech specs, which is a very short boom length for a 5.2m sail. Only a few other sail manufacturers follow the concept of such a short boom.
For 2020 Duotone added a second lower eyelet at the clew for wind foiling, to reduce the backhand pull and make it more stable. But Gollito Estredo told us in Pozo Izquierdo, the lower eylet could also be useful for smaller riders. There, the 9 times freestyle champion tested his new 2020 IDOL in real high wind conditions.
Duotone skipped the 5.6er IDOL for 2020. The R&D department was 100% sure that the 5.2m provides enough power, so that the 5.6m was taken out of the program for 2020. If you are looking for a bigger sail, which works for freestyle, too you can use the SuperSession 5.6m, 5.9m or even the 6.3m but keep in mind that the 5.6m will probably not plan earlier compared to the IDOL in 5.2.
Tight Leech Design
“Since a few years freestyle sails have been super tight in the leech, so there is hardly any loose leech anymore. The IDOL was our first sail where our sail designer Kai Hopf came up with the tight leech design. The second sail with the tight leech design was the Super Hero, which also has a pretty tight leech now. Now we are going one step further and integrate the tight leech into freeride sails.“ (Raoul Joa, Line- / Product Manager)
KEY FEATURES IDOL LTD
CONVEX DACRON LUFF-PANEL
Maximum elasticity without distortion of the battens enables maximum lift for all jumps from lee position.
HOLLOW LOWER LEECH
The additional mini batten stabilises the profile above the boom and prevents leech flutter.
RADIAL LOAD STRIPES
The additional radial load stripes in the clew improve profile stability and extend the wind range.
EXTRA HIGH CLEW AND SHORT BOOM
The extra-high clew and short boom makes ducking manoeuvres easy without loss of speed.
HD EPOXY BATTENS
Epoxy battens for maximum durability.
ODL LAMINATE, 100 MICRON ULTRA FILM
The use of the finest high-tech materials (ODL laminates, 100-micron ULTRA FILM) creates a very lightweight freestyle sail. Because the thickness of the ODL yacht laminate was kept to a minimum, the material’s UV stability is limited. As a result, this sail is not subject to the DUOTONE 2+3 YEAR WARRANTY.
DUOTONE is worldchampion in little features and pointing them out. Everywhere are little features, marks or indications, which should help the customer to rig and trim the sail.
On regular top caps and pin systems the webbing is connected in a “one-dimensional” way with the sail body (either side to side or front to back), which transfers the downhaul tension only in certain points. The 3D TOP CAP allows a “three-dimensional” and very widespread transition of the downhaul forces into the sail body. This eliminates top fluttering and ensures a progressive loose leech extending the wind range. The integrated abrasion ribs eliminate the need for heavy, bulky reinforcements at the end of the luff sleeve.
No more trial and error when trying to find the best vario top setting. Even when first rigging up, the correct length of the vario top is found straight away. Clear length indicators mark out the perfect setting with reference to the mast length used, eliminating any need for testing or re-adjustments.
Inspired by high-strength climbing harnesses and Formula 1 helmets. The exclusive, two-part metal double-D buckle on the vario top, which replaces traditional solutions. This design guarantees the best trimming characteristics and eliminates all webbing slippage.
Improved sail control at higher winds. Designer Kai Hopf originally designed the TT TOP for the WARP. The reduced, concave shape improves tension conditions for a more effective, three-dimensional top twist. This means the top twists not only horizontally, but also vertically under strong winds. By completely neutralising gusts of wind, the rig is kept steady in the rider’s hands, and thus works in a much larger range of winds.
The VTS Visual Trim System 2.0 is a visual mark in the sail top and at the mast protector, which help to find the perfect luff trim. Even beginners can trim the sail in a matter of seconds to 100% accuracy. All you need to do is pull the luff until the top of the loose leech reaches the “lower wind limit” or “upper wind limit” mark. In addition you can mark your ideal trim with a velcro patch at the mast protector (originally this idea came from Ezzy Sails.)
Short and highly effective mini-battens provide support for the areas between the battens and prevent undesirable flutter.
The most lightweight monofilm on the market. In order to save even more weight, DUOTONE use the 100-micron thick ULTRA FILM for the super-lightweight IDOL LTD and WARP. The ULTRA FILM is even more durable and long-lasting in practice than 20–30% thicker or heavier standard films. The secret to this is its special chemical composition, since carbon particles are only used in ULTRA FILM – an extreme monofilm which is used in the entire body panel and plays a significant part in reducing weight to a minimum owing to its low thickness.
Double the durability with half as much stretch. DUOTONE manufactures products of unmatched quality which gives our sails a significantly longer lifetime. A key feature which helps to achieve this is the triple-stitch zig-zag seams. Unlike other products with their single-seam design, these are double-seam. They cover all exposed crash areas, which increases tear resistance and reduces bending-elongation by up to 50%, boosting profile stability and performance.
Super-lightweight and aerodynamic. An inconspicuous detail with a massive impact. iROCKET 2.0 batten tensioners are super-lightweight, aerodynamic and highly stable, consisting of high-quality components such as a self-lubricating, salt-water-resistant brass nut with stainless-steel screw which can withstand all batten tensions. DUOTONE promises 100% correct batten tension, correctly adjusted when purchased and forever after. They calibrates each individual batten at the factory according to development specifications. All battens are adjusted to 100% accuracy using torque wrenches and they apply soluble screw adhesive to the locknuts so that the tension cannot be altered. This means that the batten tension remains absolutely correct and will never have to be adjusted again. The batten key included with the sail is therefore only needed for fine tuning or in the unlikely event of a batten breakage (should not happen anymore).
Extremely stable, extremely break-resistant with extremely durable epoxy laminates.
The DUOTONE logo above the boom cutout gently opens the sleeve so that the mast can be threaded into the luff easily.
The harness line trim system patented print on the sails helps to find the harness line position quicker. The final harness line position depends of course on personal preferences and style.
Because the factors of puncture resistance, durability and stretch evidently depend only on the thickness of the film used, Duotone use only 150 or 100 micron thick films for their exclusive XPLY PLUS. In an series of tests, they have developed the ideal combination of necessary film thickness and number of threads. The X.PLY PLUS in particular, at 150 microns in thickness, boasts durability characteristics far in excess of previous laminates at minimal weight.
When starting off on the water or catching up, the foot of the sail is constantly dragged over the nonslip coating, particularly for wide boards. With the exclusive DURATECH FOOT, the seams are completely protected within a large plastic channel so that the surface cannot chafe against seams and material.
If it’s good enough for safety harnesses, it’s good enough for windsurfers! DUOTONE says they are the only manufacturer to use only polyester webbing for the (vario) top and the tack roller. This advantage of this compared to conventional polypropylene is the negligible amount of stretch. As a result even brand new sails will retain full luff tension and will not need subsequent trimming.
The integrated, nickel-plated brass triple roller minimizes the downhaul forces tremendously.
We also had the chance to catch up with Italian freestyle pro Riccardo Marca and chief tester and Slalom pro Marco Lang for an introduction of the sail.
Riccardo Marca & Marco Lang introduce the IDOL LTD 2020
On the water
But let’s hit the water for the first time. We choose the Fanatic Skate 99 with a 20 cm fin. Gollito’s „miracle bag“ shines on the water with an incredible planing performance. The light wind wonder weapon of the World Champion planes and planes and planes. It doesn’t want to stop. You can tell that Kai Hopf and Marco Lang, two thoroughbred racers, are behind the development. Also the natural acceleration the moment you start planing impressed us. The 5.2m is definitely a light wind sail. The sail offers a balanced overall tension and feels tight – which is helpful to control in overpower, when ducking the sail or in clew first positions. Together with the very short boom length the rig is incredibly handy. The sail is very upright when going straight and it goes upwind easily. Despite a little sail area the IDOL delivers much performance. And the mast sleeve opening is big enough for tall and smaller sailors.
A real eye catcher is the Hollow Lower Leech, a stylish design element, with the integrated mini batten. This design feature makes it easier to keep the sail closed. The rig feels very stable and allows the rider to prepare 100% for the next move. Rotations are no longer impossible, no matter what direction horizontal or vertical.
The IDOL LTD is a special sail for individualists, who like to use a Freestyle board as their main board and like to practice freestyle moves. Loose planing with less sail size was the priority for the testers and sail designer Kai Hopf. Mission accomplished.
Wich mast did we use?
We had rigged the IDOL LTD 5.2m with the very light Platinum RDM 430 mast. The weight of the mast is between 1.5 and 1.6 kg. If you want to save another 200 grams you should invest in the Platinum Aero 3.0 430 mast. Of course the sail also works with a Gold.90 RDM or Silver.70 RDM mast. Anyone who wants to rig the 5.2 on a 400 – to reduce equipment – must get an extension from another manufacturer, as Duotone offers no RDM extension with 42 cm. There’s just a SDM version with 42 cm available. Last year the luff of the IDOL was 7 cm shorter by the way.
Freestyle & Foil
The IDOL LTD is a freestyle windsurfing sail and at the same time a foil sail. The far forward and a bit higher draft position helps to balance the foil and you never have to push the rig forward to stay in a neutral position.
This explains the subtitle of this article. Can the IDOL LTD kill two birds with one stone? The IDOL LTD is a freestyle windsurfing sail and at the same time a foil sail.
“The IDOL is a very good foil sail as the draft position is far forward, the lower eyelet reduces the backhand pull and guarantees a much better control,” Marco Lang told us.
We also gave the Idol and the Super Session model to freestyle beginners for a quick test. And the result was very clear. Windsurfers learning the Helicopter tack or other simple tricks on a 120-liter freerider preferred the IDOL LTD over the Super Session. Riding back to the sail, turning around the mast, riding clew first or fin first … It does not always have to be a Kono or a Culo. And due to the very short boom, the sail can be easily lifted out of the water by less experienced water starters or can be pulled out of the water easily even in light wind conditions. The IDOL LTD will definitely make freestyle beginners or intermediates happy, too.
And killing two birds with one stone is no longer true for the 2020 IDOL LTD. The 2 must be extended to a 3.
New battens for 2020
There was the strong desire from some team riders to replace the very light carbon battens with new unbreakable HD epoxy battens, which have added some more grams to the sail compared to the 2019 model. So being washed in the waves of Gran Canaria, Sylt or South Africa is no problem anymore. Adrien Bosson or Riccardo Marca now also ride waves with the IDOL LTD when they are on a travel trip. You save weight while traveling and have more fun landing freestyle moves in the waves. It’s about time to see more freestyle contests in big waves.
The sail feels a bit like a custom sail. Probably the high-tech laminate is one of the reasons for it. And the promised elasticity in the luff track really exists because of the Convex Dacron Luff Panel, which is responsible for this.
With the sizes 5.2m and 4.4m you can already cover many conditions. If you put the 5.2m on a wind foil you can start having fun in 8 knots and windsurfing starts at 12 knots. Gollito for example uses his 4.4m in 30 – 35 knots in Sotavento. Currently the favorite size of the World Champion is the 4.0m, which is probably because he has spent the whole summer on the windy Canary Islands, where he was on the smallest sail sizes most of the time. For lighter and smaller riders in really windy conditions, the NOW would be a good alternative.
For windsurfers, who are really fun boarders and like windfoiling or maybe will mount a foil under the freestyle board in the near future and mainly sail at flat water spots, the IDOL LTD 5.2m is a great choice. You definitely do not have to be a hardcore freestyle windsurfer to like this sail.
+ great planing performance & great handling
+ covers a wide wind range
+ light, 400g lighter than the Super Hero and 500g lighter than the Super Session
+ multi use: freestyle, foil and now in waves, too with the new unbreakable battens
+ short boom
~ very long luff, which needs a 430 mast. An alternative is to use a 42 cm long extension from another manufacturer with a 400 mast. We did not have the chance to test the sail with a 400 mast yet but we will.
Tech Specs IDOL LTD 2020
|Mast||RDM/Platinum/ Gold>Silver||RDM/Platinum/ Gold>Silver||RDM/Platinum/ Gold>Silver||RDM/Platinum/ Gold>Silver||RDM/Platinum/ Gold>Silver|
More info about the sail:
Watch also the official IDOL LTD 2020 advertising clip
We tested the IDOL LTD during the 2020 Duotone distributor meeting in Bolonia (Spain). The travel expenses were paid by Duotone.