GA SAILS HYBRID 7.2 2020 TEST REVIEW
A freeride engine with smooth gradual power levels and magnanimous manners, ideal for the rider looking for maximum comfort and reward in return for minimal input.
The Hybrid is GA Sails’ “ultimate all-rounder” with a large range encompassing eleven sizes from 3.7m to 8.2m. Having tested the HD version in the crossover category last month, it’s the turn of the third largest in the series this month, with its extra batten and more freeride-oriented focus. And as with its smaller sibling, it is said to benefit from an updated panel layout (for increased performance), along with a more distinct step in its lower leech, and extended Dacron content in the luff panel. Rigged on a 460 cm 90 SDM for this test, it is also said to be compatible with a 430 cm mast, for those that are looking to extend their quiver without the necessity of buying another mast. Build quality is up to GA Sails’ usual exacting standards, with 4mil x-ply used in the foot and clew panels and anti-fade ‘C-film’ monofilm throughout the rest. There are a wealth of abrasion pads in all vulnerable areas and beading on either side of batten five, where it crosses the boom. Straightforward to downhaul and set, there aren’t any visual guides for assistance, although it tunes in a conventional manner, the twist in the sail increasing progressively as more tension is applied. The boom’s length and angle can then be determined between the choice of eyelet, accounting for the conditions and rider preference. And even on maximum setting the bottom three battens retain good rotation around the SDM mast, pushing the depth of the sail’s draft forwards and relatively high in its profile.
“The name Hybrid stands for itself and represents three different sail lines in one collection. Whether it’s high wind and waves or light wind freeriding, the Hybrid guarantees great fun with a huge wind range and ease of use.”
Rigged for marginal conditions and using the upper clew eyelet, the Hybrid is light, easy and manageable in the hands at rest initially. As the wind increases and pressure builds, the Dacron luff sleeve allows the sail to easily breathe and draft to deepen, generating plenty of pull and feedback through the hands. The centre of effort is quite high and forward in the sail, pulling the rider over the board and encouraging a more upright stance. It’s a great position from which to deliver energy and unstick wide stubborn platforms, the delivery progressive enough so as to not pull the more nervous rider off balance. As the wind increases, the Hybrid can be recalibrated with more tension, the leech falling away significantly, whilst the depth of the draft reduces. The movement in the luff sleeves and panels provide the tempered softness and manners – a welcomed asset as the conditions turn on. And with the three largest battens being tubed, the stability of the Hybrid is assured. It isn’t super comfortable being locked down in a committed stance and didn’t possess the extra gear of the more freerace-focussed contenders in the group. Instead this Hybrid 7.2m provides smooth, accessible power for the passive rider that wants an easy life, and to cover distance in comfort. A plug-and-play freeride engine whose character makes getting out on the water as hassle free as possible. And this forgiving nature is also apparent in transition, the Hybrid’s draft returning to a relatively flat and neutral position at the critical moment, making the sail light to handle and easy to reposition.
Luff: 466 cm
Boom: 200 cm
Ideal Mast: Gaastra 460 (430) SDM
Available Sizes: 3.7, 4.2, 4.7, 5.2, 5.6, 6.0, 6.4, 6.7, 7.2, 7.7, 8.2.
OTHER SAILS IN TEST