GUNSAILS ZOOM 7.2 2021 TEST REVIEW
Super easy to rig, set, sail and enjoy, the Zoom embodies the essence of freeride. A plug and play engine with a wide natural wind range, it represents fantastic value for money.
The Zoom is new to the Gunsails ranks for 2021, taking over from the longstanding Stream. Spanning over nine sizes, from 4.7m to 8.2m, the sail’s batten count, x-ply content and layout evolves through the sizes, from a five-batten high-wind freeride contender, to a six-batten engine in the mid-sizes, before adopting a cross-batten configuration in the three largest sizes, intended to enhance stability. The goal of the Zoom is to provide “simple rigging and easy handling”, ideal for the intermediate, with enough speed and performance to satisfy the experienced rider too. Rigged here on a Select 100% SDM, the F.R.E.D. marker in the upper panel provides a good visual guide for downhaul tension, making the leech fall away progressively along its length. There’s a good degree of shape locked forward in the Zoom’s profile at rest, the three bottom battens remaining in touch with the mast, with rotation in the longest cross batten. Build quality is well thought out and functional, with x-ply used in the foot and inner luff panels, and square ply in the head and upper leech panel. The rest of the sail’s panels are monofilm, complimented with the usual attention to detail, such as full-length beading along the foot batten and abrasion pads in all vulnerable areas. The batten pockets alternate as they progress up the sail, to maintain symmetry between tacks, and the Zoom boasts a total of five tubed battens (the bottom rod-batten being the exception), in order to reduce weight and increase stability.
“Our brand-new cam-less freeride sail stands for pure planing thrill and gybing pleasure. With the Zoom you start planing early, accelerate effortlessly to breath-taking top speed and sail every manoeuvre with ease.”
On the water the Zoom had a very easy, sympathetic nature that was easy for all to get on with. The secret to its character is that its centre of effort is placed forward and relatively low in the draft, meaning the power comes on smoothly, without pulling too much from the backhand or raising the rider to their toes. Ideal for the novice or those with a passive sailing style, the Zoom accelerates progressively, transferring its energy efficiently to the board and requiring little input from the rider. Nevertheless, there is still some play and movement in the luff sleeve, providing some room for response to pumping if desired. Once planing the Zoom settles into a comfortable stance, feeling light through the hands and allowing the rider to adopt the sailing style of their choice – upright and cruising, or locked in and committed to exploring the sail’s true performance. It has an excellent natural range on one setting, coping admirably with gusts by actively pinning the board down, ironing out any trimming issues. The inclusion of tubed battens undoubtedly assists in this stability, as does the sail’s smooth twist pattern through its leech, without any audible hint of flutter, even in the stronger gusts. In transition, the Zoom retains its handling and manners, powering in fluidly and rotating easily, if not the most active or dynamic in the group. The Zoom is a great example of just how user-friendly a modern freeride sail can and should be, delivering the power when required, and asking for little in return, allowing the pilot to simply enjoy the ride.
GUNSAILS ZOOM 7.2 2021 TEST REVIEW
Luff: 469 cm
Boom: 199 cm
Ideal Mast: Gunsails 460 cm 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: