GUNSAILS ZOOM 5.6 2022 TEST REVIEW
With impeccable manners and the easiest temperament, the Zoom is a pleasure to use, giving it real practicality for the progressing rider, taking their first foray into the high wind arena.
The Zoom entered Gunsails’ fold last year, replacing the Stream as their no-cam freeride sails series. The Torro is Gunsails’ designated crossover sail, but was unavailable at the time of testing, so it was a good opportunity to check out a smaller size of the Zoom – a sail much liked by us in the no-cam 7.0m test last season. Comprising of nine sizes, from 4.7m to 8.2m, the focus of the Zoom changes through its sizes, from more x-ply, fewer tubed-battens and less battens overall in the smaller sizes, to a cross batten concept introduced in sizes 7.2m and up, to improve structural stability. This 5.6m is the third smallest in the range, boasting five battens (of which one is tubed), and plenty of square-ply in its panels. Advances for 2022 are noted by Gunsails as an increase in luff tube size, said to “improve the rigging and the rotation and thus significantly increase the overall comfort.” It is certainly a wide sleeve and whilst stated as compatible with SDM or RDM, was tested here on one of the brand’s Select 100% RDMs. Straightforward to rig and set thanks to the roller in the tack and the F.R.E.D. (Fast Rigging, Easy Doing) visual guide in the upper panel, the Zoom displays a small amount of shape low down at rest, but is flat above the boom, the two lower battens retaining some rotation around the mast, whilst the leech falls away progressively along its length. There’s just one clew eyelet provided to keep rigging simple, and the overall finish of the Zoom is very well pointed and functional, giving a real sense of value for its price-tag.
“Easy handling, amazing performance and super planing power. The Zoom is the best choice for your freeride session in any wind range. Thanks to the perfectly balanced sail profile and the absolutely stable draft point, it provides a smooth drive, easy handling and great control.”
Balanced and easy in the hands at rest, as a gust hits, the movement in the luff sleeve and lower Dacron luff panel really help the Zoom’s draft to breathe into a much deeper profile. The power delivery as a result is very smooth and forgiving, progressively building and taking the sharpness out of any gust. And unlike the Zoom 7.2m we tested last year (whose centre of effort was low and forward), this 5.6m’s power is focussed forward, but higher in the draft, making it more useful and honest in marginal conditions. Pump the Zoom energetically, and the leverage afforded by the higher focal point means that there certainly wasn’t any embarrassment, helping to squeeze the board forward. Conversely, the passive rider is equally well catered for, holding the sail upright and simply letting it drive the board onto the plane. Once going it’s a pleasure to use – smooth and forgiving (particularly noticeable in choppy coastal seas) and feeling compact in the hands. As the wind increases, the Zoom’s manners remain its centrepiece, never asking too much of the rider or misbehaving. It has an excellent natural range, the leech twisting off evenly, helping to keep the power focussed forward and the pressure away from the rider’s back hand. In prolonged lulls, all this movement in the leading edge does result in a noticeable reduction in drive to get through unscathed, and through carving transitions, the reduced pressure invariably results in less power for the active rider. The upside, however, is that the Zoom goes neutral and easy in the hands mid-transition, making it easy and forgiving to reposition on the new tack, before the power returns progressively.
GUNSAILS ZOOM 5.6 2022 TEST REVIEW
Luff: 443 cm
Boom: 176 cm
Ideal Mast: Gunsails 430 cm RDM/SDM
Available Sizes: 4.7, 5.2, 5.6, 6.0, 6.4, 6.9, 7.2, 7.7, 8.2.
OTHER SAILS IN THIS TEST