EZZY CHEETAH 7.5 2020 TEST REVIEW
Delivering smooth constant dependable power over a staggering wind range, the new Cheetah has a newfound crispness to its delivery, with a quality in craftsmanship and detailing that makes it so distinctly Ezzy.
The Cheetah remains in the Ezzy lineup for 2020 as their “fast, easy, no-cam freeride sail”. It has had a little facelift, shedding around 230 grams, largely thanks to the introduction of a new wide-spaced x-ply scrim in the main window. Otherwise the design has evolved from its predecessor, holding onto many of David Ezzy’s signature features, whilst pushing ease of use and performance. Concepts such as the ‘endo-batten’ design (now commonplace and referred to by many as ‘integrated battens’) has been present in Ezzy’s sail for years, ensuring the sail’s profile symmetry between tacks. Material quality is scrutinised by Ezzy more than most, the quality and craftsmanship of the sail clear to see up close. Each sail is individually rigged, calibrated and signed-off before leaving the brand’s exclusive Sri Lankan factory, (adding a neat little colour-coordinated sail keyring around the tack strap with the QC label). Compatible with both SDM and RDM, the sail has markings in its upper panel for guidance when using alternative mast brands, or the calibrated markings provided in the tack work superbly with the Ezzy 460 cm RDM. With plenty of tuning range on both outhaul and downhaul, the Cheetah displays Ezzy’s signature panel pre-shaping, with incredible depth up most of its leading edge, the battens either side of the boom retaining the lightest contact with the mast.
“The Cheetah sets the standard for camless freeride sails. Shape is sewn into the panels to create the Cheetah’s deep, wing-like profile and stable, locked-in power.” David Ezzy.
On the water the Cheetah has the familiar Ezzy feel and range, save for one noticeable development – with the vinyl window replaced by x-ply, there’s less lag and more directness in the power delivery. Set for light winds, the pronounced profile of the Cheetah generates a massive amount of bottom end grunt, its moderate luff curve and tight leech giving the sense that the whole sail is helping to drive the board and rider forward. Pump enthusiastically and the long luff and high shaping along its length provides real drive, which coupled with the mast response makes the Ezzy a real tour de force in light winds. As power increases, the Cheetah benefits from extra downhaul tension, settling the draft and enabling the extent of the power to be fine-tuned through the outhaul. The constant shape means the sail doesn’t go neutral in the hands, yet there’s real balance and crispness to the drive, comfortably pulling through both hands. In powered to overpowered wind strengths the Cheetah can be adjusted further, and when partnered with a freerace or slalom board, delivers an impressive straight-line performance, the extra batten enhancing profile stability. It may not be as loose or slippery through the air as some, yet the dynamic feedback is always there, enabling the rider to feel their way through prolonged lulls or cover ground efficiently on all points of sail. In choppy seas, the softness of the RDM and movement bestowed by the play in the luff sleeve helps to cushion the ride and enable the rider to relax their stance unhindered. In transition the Cheetah’s forced profile is both a blessing and a noteworthy feature. It provides smooth dependable drive to enter a turn with and rotates seamlessly during the gybe. In the tack, it doesn’t go neutral, rewarding good technique and accuracy to maintain fluidity mid-transition, particularly in powered conditions.
Luff: 475-478 cm
Boom: 201-210 cm
Ideal Mast: Ezzy 460 cm RDM
Available Sizes: 5.5, 6.0, 6.5, 7.0, 7.5, 8.0, 8.5, 9.5.
OTHER SAILS IN THIS TEST