EZZY CHEETAH 7.0M 2015 TEST REVIEW
The Cheetah is Ezzy’s seven-battened no-cam freeride contender and can be rigged on an SDM or RDM mast. Tested here on an Ezzy 460cm RDM, it is easy to sheath and apply tension, thanks to the low to moderate luff curve in the leading edge of the sail. The sail sets with an extremely deep profile locked in the draft of the sail, which remains present from the foot (tensioned thanks to the tack-strap) right up to the head between battens number 2 and 3. As with all Ezzys, there are a wealth of rigging guides and visual aids both on the sail and supplied with it, as well as on the Ezzy website, to help ensure you rig the sail as David Ezzy had designed and wished for.
“The Cheetah is a ripping camless Freeride model that balances excellent performance and speed with the absolute best construction of any sail in its class. It’s a high performance freeride sail that sails like a cammed sail and gybes like a wave sail.”
The Cheetah is a real powerhouse of a sail, married with a useable tuning range that makes it both practical and dependable across a wide wind range. It sets with lots of built in shape, the depth of which can be altered easily on the outhaul. Irrespective of set though, the centre of effort is locked forward in the draft, providing constant useable feedback and drive that is easily channelled to the board. There is a real softness and ease to the power delivery coupled with a flexibility and flicky response in the mast that makes it very pumpable in light to marginal winds. Once on the plane, the Cheetah encourages the rider to settle into a comfortable locked in stance, accelerating smoothly and progressively in gusts and continuing to drive through lulls. One of the team’s favourites in marginal winds, as the power increases you relax, safe in the knowledge you can combat any movement in the draft with outhaul tuning. And irrespective of the tension applied, you will never pull the guts out of the sail, such is the locked in depth. Happy to be partnered with any freeride or freerace platform, we found the Cheetah excelled best in typical coastal conditions, even harsh seas states, where its balanced handling and control became a determining factor, making it easy to narrow any previous flat-water drag-racing gap. These qualities were also apparent in transitions, providing the impetus to enter manoeuvres with speed and the steadiness to be repositioned easily.
The Cheetah stands for supremely balanced and dependable handling over a simply massive wind range. Feeling lighter in the hands than we recall of its predecessors, what it may lose in out and out top end to its rivals, it makes up for by offering soft, easy power and years of service.
Other sails in this test: