FANATIC GECKO LTD 105L 2017 TEST REVIEW
The Gecko remains in the Fanatic line-up for 2017 as their “most user-friendly and fun Freeride board … ever”, this 105’s shape unaltered since 2013. It sits alongside the new Blast in Fanatic’s range, the 130 due to be reviewed in next month’s issue. Tested here in its lighter LTD construction, the 105 is the second smallest of a six-board Gecko range and comes supplied with the brand’s Premium Velcro straps, excellent traction deck pads with raised heel cushions, and a quality Choco fin. The design has a clean, conventional appearance, with a wide, smoothly curved outline ending in a rounded pintail and a subtle dome to the deck throughout. The deck is marginally flatter along the centre-line of the tail, providing an edge on the rail against which the rider can wrap their foot and push. There is also a wealth of strap positions from which to choose. The question is whether this five year-old design can still compete against the latest contenders without feeling long in the tooth?
“The general concept behind the Gecko is wider, thinner and with less volume. These attributes offer a great deal of balance and stability for easy gybing, and a fun responsive feeling beneath your feet.”
The simple answer to the question posed above is … yes – the Gecko 105 is every bit as relevant in this freeride category as it has been for the last five seasons. It may not win many out-and-out drag races against some others in the group … and it may not be as loose or instantaneous to carve through the corners, but as an easy, practical tutor for the advancing sailor, the Gecko remains right up there. Releasing onto the plane smoothly and progressively as power is applied, it can be set up to match the capabilities of the pilot thanks to the strap options available, which combined with the flat deck in the tail, makes the board stable and straps easy to locate. It requires very little input from the rider, happily cruising at half speed with an upright stance and comfortable for use over great distances. Push more power into it and it will respond with more speed and life, without ever losing its manners or flying uncontrollably on its fin. The Choco fin supplied compliments the board beautifully, never stepping out, whilst providing plenty of traction with which to point impressively high upwind. In the gybe the 105 responds predictably to commands, gripping to the inside of the turn and retaining its speed effortlessly. It tends to prefer a more relaxed, passive riding style rather than forcing it in aggressively, happy to maintain its speed and momentum through a wider more drawn out arc. But as emphasised back in 2015 when we first tested the 105, its true strength is its ease and dependency as the conditions become more challenging. With the pronounced vee throughout much of its length, it parts the water almost biblically, feeling reassuringly predictable underfoot and much more compact than its 69cm of width would have you believe. A safe and assured companion for tackling any eventuality and sea state, the Gecko spirit lives on in this shape, showing all the hallmarks of a ‘classic’.
The Gecko 105 may be the older ‘statesman’ design of this test, yet in this ‘Limited’ construction it exudes the ease, practicality and fun factor, to make it a stunning tutor for the progressing rider, or ideal partner for the weekend warrior looking for easy, accessible performance whatever the conditions.
Other sails in this test: