SEVERNE GATOR 5.7 2022 TEST REVIEW
The Gator has evolved markedly over the years yet remains the epitome of the ‘freeride’ engine, delivering clean accessible power for long periods of blasting enjoyment.
The Gator is classed by Severne as their ‘Progressive Freeride’ offering, its range of 14 sizes remaining unchanged from last season. Tested in a red colourway, Severne tell us “For 2022, the Gator will also be available in an anthracite colour combo, similar to the wave/freestyle sails.” It uses x-ply throughout its panels, with the brand’s eM4 high load laminate in the foot panel and trusted eM3 scrim in the upper panels to reduce swing weight. There’s also a couple of Spiderfibre tendons that extend from the clew across the sail’s window panel, said to incorporate a “fibreglass filament that disburses loads across seams and throughout the body of the sail.” And as with Severne’s mantra to reduce weight and improve handling performance, every aspect of the sail has been scrutinised to maximise weight savings. Gone are standard features of the past, such as abrasion head caps or mast-sleeve opening patches; all surplus to requirement and ‘dead-weight’. In their place only functional features remain, such as a boom height reference gauge and an extensive use of double seams. The foot panel is seamless (mitigating any structural breakdown), and the sail is compatible with either RDM or SDM masts, being rigged for this test using an RDM Blue mast. Downhaul tension is easily applied using the oriented roller tack pulley, the Gator displaying a moderate to high amount of luff curve whilst the leech falls away progressively along its length. The most striking aspect of the Gator’s set, though, is the amount of shape forced forward in its draft, the battens sitting away from the mast, free from any rotation. Finally, Severne tell us that, “The Gator, being branded as ‘Progressive freeride’ also offers a progressive geometry – sizes 3.7-7.0 featuring a five batten, freemove oriented geometry and sizes 7.5-8.0 featuring a six batten, freeride oriented geometry with lighter battens.”
“The Gator is an all-round freeride / freewave / blasting sail. Gets you going fast, and maximizes stoke.”
Whilst the Gator sports some of the shortest luff and boom lengths in the group, it feels big and bold in the hands in marginal winds, the depth of its profile helping to generate constant forward drive. The pull comes from such a forward position, however, that it means it almost by-passes the rider and transfers smoothly into the board. It means that early planing release comes easily and naturally, requiring little input from the pilot, the Gator providing measured feedback through the back hand. The centre of effort sits around shoulder to head height and is locked in its forward position, thanks to the pre-shape and skin tension in the sail, meaning there’s little hint of structural decay or control issues, even in violent gusts. Instead, the Gator copes with variable conditions beautifully, gliding through prolonged lulls and accelerating efficiently in gusts. It certainly has a more freeride focussed bias in nature compared to some here and encourages the rider to hunt for the next gust, before locking in and pushing the board to greater speeds. It also has an excellent natural range on one setting, and whilst there are no tuning visual aids provided by Severne on the Gator, we found the increments stated on the sail to be accurate. Comfortable to use for long periods, its power delivery is balanced and forgiving, making it a great tutor for the novice sailor, advancing their planing expertise. The same can be said in the gybe, where the Gator’s forward focussed pull is a great asset through the arc of the turn, keeping the board moving and pinned to the water. It’s only during the tack when the Gator’s forced camber becomes more of a hindrance, as it never goes neutral, albeit this is countered to a degree by the Gator’s light physical weight.
SEVERNE GATOR 5.7 2022 TEST REVIEW
Luff: 435 cm
Boom: 174 cm
Ideal Mast: Severne 430 cm wave
Available Sizes: 3.7, 4.0, 4.2, 4.5, 4.7, 5.0, 5.3, 5.5, 5.7, 6.0, 6.5, 7.0, 7.5, 8.0.
OTHER SAILS IN THIS TEST