EZZY CHEETAH 7.0M 2017 TEST REVIEW
Classed as their camless freeride option, Ezzy updated the Cheetah in 2016 and remains current in the same form for the new season. Produced in a lighter scrim than its predecessor for more ease and softness, last year’s refinements also saw it benefit from a flatter profile above the boom for improved control, and a smoother twist pattern for extra speed. This 7.0m (along with all the smaller sizes in the range) also dropped a batten to improve weight and manoeuvre potential. Painless to rig correctly, thanks to the brand’s fool-proof and exhaustive rigging guides, the Cheetah was tested here on Ezzy’s Hookipa 460cm RDM and sets with the signature reduced luff curve and deep forward-facing profile. The battens sit clear from the mast, whilst there is plenty of play in the luff tube, and as with all its stable mates in the Ezzy line-up, tuning is done predominantly through the outhaul. Also consistent with every Ezzy out there is the Cheetah’s build quality – the materials used and features throughout, from head to foot – its craftsmanship is something to marvel at in its own right.
“Our go-to flat water sail, the Cheetah has a soft, locked-in race feel. Camless and easy to rig, the Cheetah’s deep foil provides power and speed. When we freeride, we want to go fast, nail 100% of our gybes, and rocket into the air if a ramp appears. This is the easy freedom that inspired the Cheetah, and what the Cheetah delivers. The Cheetah is pure freeride but can hold its own against any race sail.”
The real-world practicality of being able to adjust the power delivery of an Ezzy sail ‘on the fly’ through the outhaul cannot be underestimated, and in no sail is this more relevant than the freeride Cheetah. In this size, the Cheetah can be transformed from a light-wind low torque engine to a solid dependable blasting companion in a matter of seconds. Feeling relatively small in the hands at rest in marginal winds, the subtle scoop to the leech outline and forward position of the draft in the deep profile give the sail a tall appearance on the water. As the wind fills and pressure builds in the hands, the Cheetah’s breathable nature and reduced luff curve make it a dream to pump a board onto the plane, making the most of the spring and response from the mast. Accelerating smoothly, it plants the board effortlessly, allowing for easy cruising and demanding little input from the rider. Gliding through lulls as if exempt from any loss in power, the Cheetah can be used to cover great distances, providing constant useful feedback through the backhand on any point of sail. An increase in wind strength can be countered with a refinement in the Cheetah’s settings, a subtle hike in downhaul tension improving twist, whilst the outhaul keeps the draft locked forward and driving. Perhaps not as slippery in sensation through the air as a few in the group, the Cheetah, nonetheless, provides the lift to get a freerace or slalom board flying on its fin, combined with steadfast dependability to maintain control.
The Cheetah is the epitome of easy freeride range, capable of being tuned to provide everything from soft pumpable bottom-end response, to resolute top end stability, keeping the board perfectly planted and under control.
Other sails in this test: